May 11, 2016
Getting permanent residency as an English teacher?
I'd like to hear from people who have gained permanent residency in Japan after living/working here for ten years - NOT by getting married to a Japanese national. I'm planning to do this myself, but I'm worried that my job/career as an English teacher won't be enough to convince Immigration that I'm going to be "valuable" to Japan. Are there any English teachers here that did the ten years then applied for PR?
I have not done this, nor do I know anyone who has... From my perspective, working as an English teacher (Eikaiwa or ALT) here is a temporary thing for most people, as it is difficult to support a family on. (Not that everyone wants or will have a family to support.) On the other hand, if you evolve into teaching at a uni, owning an eikaiwa, or translating, for example, it's more common to stay long term. It might come down to your salary and if Immigration can feel secure that you won't become a burden to society, like you said. I have heard for work visas they expect a minimum salary of 250,000 monthly, which is more than a lot of English teachers earn (yet they are still granted the work visa). Hopefully someone here has had the experience & can explain the process for you.
The 250,000 yen a month thing is a strange one. I've heard that thrown around quite a bit too, but the visas are still given. An ex colleague of mine had been in Japan for over 10 years, was working in a English-teaching job (which they managed to get without having a university degree), and was not married. When it came to visa renewal time, immigration would always 'invite' him to apply for permanent residency. He'd been with the same company for the whole time, and was on quite a good salary. To my knowledge though, he never applied.
In response to the 250000 yen a month for a working visa rumor, I'm fairly certain that's just an arbitrary number that people have been throwing around for years. Entry level full time jobs barely break 200,000 yen, and the main factors is whether you make a living wage that is at the very least equivalent to what a Japanese individual with the same level of experience would make. For permanent residency, you would probably have to get a higher education-type English teaching job in a university, in a permanent position (seishain). This is also common sense, but it also would help to have at least near fluent Japanese, to show that you assimilated well. And be a good tax payer with no law infractions. I think there is also a rule that you should have had been working for at least 10 years. This is just my own conjecture, but I think that the formula is basically financial stability + well-adjustment + about 10 years = Permanent Resident