The Working Holiday Programmes in Japan
The working holiday programmes are, based on bilateral arrangements, intended to make it possible for the youth of Japan and its partner countries/regions to enter each country/region primarily for the purpose of spending holidays while allowing them to engage in employment as an incidental activity of their holidays for the purpose of supplementing their travel funds.
The programmes are designed to provide the youth with wider opportunities for them to appreciate the culture and general way of life in the partner countries/regions for the purpose of promoting mutual understanding between Japan and its partner countries/regions.
Japan started the working holiday programmes first with Australia in 1980. As of 1st April 2020, Japan has introduced the programmes with the following 26 countries/regions.
Of late, the annual number of the youth who obtain Japanese working holiday visas totals nearly 15,000.
|Countries/regions||Year of initiation||Maximum number that could be issued per year|
|2||New Zealand||1985||no limit|
|4||Republic of Korea||1999||10,000|
|7||The United Kingdom||2001||1,000|
|19||Argentina||2017||From Japan to Argentina: 200
From Argentina to Japan: 400
|25||Estonia||2020||From Japan to Estonia: no limit
From Estonia to Japan: 100
[Note] Provisionally initiated in December 1999.
2. Eligibility to participate in the working holiday programmes
To participate in the working holiday programmes, an applicant must satisfy the following requirements.[Note]
[Note]The requirements may differ depending on the nationality of the applicant. Further information on visa application procedures can be obtained from Embassies or Consulates-General of Japan in your country/region or Interchange Association (Taipei Office or Kaohsiung Office）.
- For a national of Australia, New Zealand, Canada, the Republic of Korea, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Denmark, Norway, Portugal, Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, Spain, Argentina, Chile, Iceland, Czech or Lithuania an applicant must be currently residing in his or her country of nationality; for a resident in Hong Kong, an applicant must possess a valid HKSAR or British National Overseas passport; for a resident in Taiwan, an applicant must possess a valid passport of Taiwan.
- Intending primarily to spend holiday in Japan for a specific length of time.
- Being between 18 and 30 years of age both inclusive at the time of application for the visa; As for Australia, Canada and Republic of Korea, an applicant should be between 18 and 25 years of age except in those cases where the competent authorities of Japan agree to extend the limitation of age to 30 years. In the case of Iceland, the applicant should be between 18 and 26 years of age.
- Not being accompanied by dependents or children.
- Possessing a valid passport of his or her country/region and a return travel ticket or sufficient funds with which to purchase such a ticket.
- Possessing reasonable funds for the maintenance of his/her stay during the initial period of stay in Japan.
- Being in good health.
- Never having been issued a Japanese working holiday visa in the past.
3. Procedure of the working holiday visa application
The application for the visa must be made to Embassies or Consulates-General of Japan in your country/region or Interchange Association (Taipei Office or Kaohsiung Office）.
4. Work Conditions
Participants in the working holiday programmes are allowed to engage in employment as an incidental activity of their holidays for the purpose of supplementing their travel funds.
The working holiday participants are strictly prohibited from working at bars, cabarets, nightclubs, gambling establishments and other premises affecting public morals in Japan. If a participant works at such a place, he or she is deemed to violate Immigration Control and Refugee Recognition Act and will face deportation except where he or she is deemed to be victims of human trafficking.
It is also to be noted that those who are engaged in having the working holiday participants work at these establishments could face criminal charges for promoting illegal work or the buying or selling of persons.
5. Procedure at a municipal office
The working holiday participants must visit the municipal office where they live and notify the Ministry of Justice where they live within 14 days of finding a place to settle down. Please see the Immigration Bureau of Japan's website about the detail. (http://www.immi-moj.go.jp/newimmiact_1/en/index.html)
6. Other information
Please beware of fraudulent entities that may offer help in obtaining working holiday visas as there is no organization, including incorporated associations, in Japan with which the Ministry of Foreign Affairs cooperates in operating the working holiday programmes.
Foreign job-seekers in Japan may seek assistance in English or other languages at the Employment Service Center for Foreigners (in Tokyo, Osaka and Nagoya) as well as at some of the regional national public employment security offices (‘Hello Work’). Please see the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare's website for the detail.(Information for foreigners who are seeking jobs in Japan).
Sometimes we request consenting working holiday participants to answer a questionnaire afterwards. We would appreciate it if you could kindly cooperate with us.