What’s a “Certificate of Qualification for Employment,” and How Can It Help With Your Next Job-Change?

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Every foreigner working in Japan needs the right kind of status of residence, but if you also happen to have a certificate of qualification for employment, it will make job-hopping that much easier for you. In this article, we’ll discuss the merits of obtaining that document, as well as how to apply for one. If you’re thinking about changing jobs, definitely keep on reading.

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What is a Certificate of Qualification for Employment?

A certificate of qualification for employment (就労資格証明書) is a document certifying that a foreigner who wants to work in Japan has the right residence or legal status to do so. It also verifies that they are allowed to work in specific industries. Incidentally, the certificate is issued by the Minister of Justice based on a status of residence that a foreign worker already has. In other words, you first have to obtain a status of residence before you can be issued a certificate of qualification for employment.

When Will You Need This Certificate?

You may think that you don’t need this certificate to change jobs if you have a status of residence (work visa). Indeed, when you come to Japan and apply for a status of residence, you need to submit a signed contract with your new employer, so the status should be proof enough that you can work in Japan.

However, every working status of residence is issued in regard to the company mentioned on the application form. If you change jobs, your new potential employer may decide that your current status is insufficient to work there, and then what will you do? That’s why, if you’re leaving a company that you used in your residence status application, you will need a certificate of qualification for employment in order to change jobs.

The Benefits of Getting This Certificate

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If you have a certificate of qualification for employment, then a potential employer can use it to determine if your current status of residence is right for the position you’re applying to. This is important, because if you work a job with the wrong residence status and this is discovered when you go to renew it, you may get deported. To make sure you complete your job-change before your status of residence is up, make sure to also submit a certificate of qualification for employment to help things go over smoothly.

A certificate of qualification for employment is especially helpful when you change companies but continue doing the exact same kind of job as before. However, if your duties also change—for example, if you’re working a job with an Engineer/Specialist in Humanities/International Services visa and want to change to a position requiring an Instructor visa—then you’ll first have to apply to change your status of residence.

With your period of stay, you can apply to change your status of residence anytime you want, but if you change jobs without first obtaining the appropriate new status, then your application will be rejected and you may even lose your original residence status, so please be careful.

The Benefits of Getting This Certificate For Your New Company

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The Immigration Control and Refugee Recognition Act forbids the mistreatment of foreign workers who fail to submit a certificate of qualification for employment to their new company. However, if it turns out later that the new employee’s status of residence (work visa) is incompatible with their new duties, then the company may be questioned for the promotion of illegal employment under Article 73, sections 2 and 1 of the Immigration Control and Refugee Recognition Act. The punishment for this is up to 3 years in prison or a fine of up to 3 million yen or both. A certificate of qualification for employment helps prevent problems like that.

My Period of Stay is Almost Up But I Want to Change Jobs! What Should I Do?

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Processing a certificate of qualification for employment during a job change can take 1-3 months, so if your status of residence is set to end in less than 6 months, you may not be able to receive your certificate before you have to renew your period of stay. In which case, note that you are in the middle of changing jobs on your period of stay renewal application.

What You’ll Need to Apply

The Applicant (can be any of the following)

  1. The original applicant.
  2. People legally allowed to apply on the original applicant’s behalf, including:
    • An employee at the institution that the applicant manages or is employed at.
    • An employee at the institution where the applicant trains or studies.
    • An employee of an organization that oversees foreign workers acquiring technical and specialized skills and knowledge.
    • An employee of a public service company that helps foreign workers acclimate to life in Japan.
  3. A lawyer or scrivener who has notified the director of the regional Immigration Bureau that they’ve been tasked by the original applicant to apply on their behalf.
  4. A legal representative of the original applicant.

Necessary Documents

  • Application for a certificate of qualification for employment (就労資格証明書交付申請書).
  • Permit to engage in activity other than that permitted under the status of residence previously granted (資格外活動許可書; only applies to those who’ve previously been granted such a document).
  • Residence card or special permanent resident certificate.
  • Passport or certificate of status of residence.
  • If you cannot produce your passport or certificate of status of residence, please write a statement explaining why that is.
  • Statement explaining your relationship to the original applicant (when submitting the application on someone else’s behalf).
  • Withholding tax statement (源泉徴収票; obtained from previous employer).
  • Certificate of quitting (退職証明書).
  • Documents summarizing the company the applicant wants to work for.
    • The company’s commercial registration certificate (商業・法人登記簿謄本; issued within the last three months).
    • A copy of the company’s most recent financial statement (in case of a new company, submit a business plan for the next year).
    • Company guide.
  • Documents detailing the applicant’s new duties, period of employment, placement, and salary.
    • A copy of the employment contract (雇用契約書).
    • A copy of the notice of personnel change (辞令).
    • A copy of the appointment letter (採用通知書).
  • You may also be asked to submit a statement detailing your reasons for changing jobs (本人の転職理由書) or to obtain a statement from your new employer detailing the reasons for your employment (雇用理由書).

Where to Apply

Please submit your application to your regional Immigration Bureau.

Summary

If you’re planning to change jobs, please consider getting a certificate of qualification for employment. Not only will it help your chances of getting the job you want, it will also make the entire process go much more smoothly!

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By the way, if you're looking for a job or career change and you're already in Japan, we now have a jobs site called tsunagu Local Jobs! On top of having exclusive job listings that you won't find anywhere else, we've vetted all the listings to ensure that they're foreigner-friendly and high quality. If you register for an account on the site, you can even make use of our agent service where our international staff will help you find the perfect job in Japan, so check it out today!

The information in this article is accurate at the time of publication.

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