Employment Qualification Certificate

“Is it considered illegal work if we do not obtain a employment qualification certificate(就労資格証明書(shuroushikakushoumeisho))?”

I often receive such a question from employers. In this post, I would like to explain the meaning of application for a employment qualification certificate.

What is a employment qualification certificate?

It is a document in which the Minister of Justice certifies the activities of operating a business that generates income or receives remuneration that a foreign national can carry out under his/her status of residence. (For details, please see the Immigration Bureau website)

  • Status of residence to be stated on the application form
  • Contents of activities that can be carried out under the status of residence
  • The “content of the activity for which you wish to certify” stated in the application form corresponds to the content of the activity listed above.

The document certifies the above information from the Director-General of the Immigration Bureau. Please note that this certificate does not prove that the foreign national holds a residence status. He/she needs to present his/her residence card to prove that he/she is not illegally overstaying or working illegally.

Significance of employment qualification certificate

Benefits for foreigners themselves

For foreign nationals themselves, when looking for a job, they can demonstrate to their new job that they are able to work at the new job and that they can carry out activities in accordance with the job content at the new job. Then can prove that they have a status of residence that allows themselves to work by showing their residence card, but the residence card does not list the specific activities that they can engage in.

Benefits as an employer

If an employee receives compensation for doing work that cannot be done under his/her status of residence, the employer is suspected of promoting illegal employment.

Even if he/she did not intervene, he/she may be charged with a crime if he/she knew about it. Proving that he/she doesn’t know something is also a hassle.

In this regard, it is recommended that the employer requests employee to present or apply for a employment qualification certificate (when changing jobs, it takes time from application to issuance. (1 to 3 months if there is a change in workplace), when hiring. This will give the employer the peace of mind that he/she will be able to demonstrate to the immigration authorities that he/she is always trying to employ foreigners in an appropriate manner. (Please note that the Immigration Control Act prohibits a disadvantageous decision on whether or not to be hired due to failure to present a employment qualification certificate.)

The next period of stay may be renewed quickly.

For example, if you have a status of residence such as “Engineer/Specialist in Humanities/International Services,” you don’t need to apply for permission to change your status of residence as long as the content of your work remains the same (as long as the status of residence remains applicable and the criteria for landing permission are still met).

However, in the procedure for applying for permission to extend the period of stay for the first time after changing jobs, the new job, company, job content, etc. will be rigorously examined at the same level as a regular residence status change permission.

Even if you think you can do it on your own, there is always the risk that your period of stay will not be extended and you will not be able to continue working.

Prior to renewing your period of stay, you can have a employment qualification certificate issued to you, and by attaching this certificate when applying for a renewal permit, you can expect the examination to be carried out quickly. (This is because the actual examination would have already been completed.)

Also, in the unlikely event that the certificate of employment eligibility is not issued, the reason will be written in the notification letter, and measures to be taken in preparation for renewing the period of stay will be provided. (If the reason is not clear based on the brief explanation provided in the notification, you can directly ask the Immigration Bureau, but only at one time.)

This is the biggest advantage of this procedure.

(However, this is only true if there is plenty of time left until the expiration date.)

Points in our practice

When the applicant changed his/her job, “documents showing details of your new workplace and activities” need to be added as an attachment to the application form. In practice, while hoping that the next period of stay extension procedure described above will be carried out quickly, the applicant should pay close attention to the same level as when applying for permission to change the status of residence, adding a statement of reasons for employment, etc.

Japan Immigration News