How to Work in Japan as an OFW

Beautiful landscapes, delectable cuisine, modern technology — these are just some of the reasons why many people aspire to visit Japan. Popular among tourists and job seekers alike, this country should definitely be in your travel bucket list!

For several decades now, many overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) have been living and working in Japan. In fact, Filipinos comprise the fourth biggest foreign population group there! If you are interested in exploring career opportunities in this country… keep on reading because we will tell you how!

How to Work in Japan as an OFW

Types of Japan Work Visas

To be eligible for work in Japan, you’ll need a working visa. There are two main types of Japan work visas available to Filipinos: the highly skilled professional visa, and the regular work visa.

1. Highly Skilled Professional Visa

As the name says, this visa is issued to highly skilled professionals, such as those who specialize in advanced academic research as well as technical management and business activities. It was introduced in 2012.

Typically, the Highly Skilled Professional Visa requires the support of a Japanese sponsoring organization. You can learn more about this type of visa through the official website of Japan’s Immigration Services Agency (ISA).

2. Regular Work Visa

This is the type of visa that most foreign workers apply for. Depending on your profession, this visa comes in different variations, including the following:

  • Artist Visa – for artists, composers, songwriters, photographers, sculptors, etc.;
  • Business Manager Visa – for company directors, company presidents, etc.;
  • Instructor Visa – for teachers in primary, intermediate, and secondary schools, etc.;
  • Engineer/Specialist in Humanities/International Services Visa – for IT engineers, scientific engineers, interpreters, copywriters, designers, foreign language teachers, etc.;
  • Journalist Visa – for news announcers, newspaper editors, journalists, news cameramen, etc.;
  • Legal/Accounting Services Visa – for attorneys, public accountants, tax accounts, etc.;
  • Medical Services Visa – for doctors, nurses, dentists, pharmacists, etc.;
  • Professor Visa – for university professors, assistant professors, etc.;
  • Religious Activities Visa – for religious people such as bishops, missionaries, monks, etc.;
  • Researcher Visa – for researchers, investigators, etc.;
  • Skilled Labor Visa – for pilots, sports trainers, sommeliers, animal trainers, and chefs who specialize in foreign cuisine, etc.;
  • Specified Skilled Worker Visa – for foreign nationals with skills and expertise in specific industries, etc.; and
  • Technical Intern Training Visa – for technical interns, etc.

NOTE: For more details about each type of visa, head to the official website of Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA).


The qualifications would depend on the specific type of job that you applied for, along with the kind of work visa that you’ll need.

For instance, if you are applying to work in the entertainment industry (e.g. as a singer or dancer), you must:

  • Have minimum 2 years of education OR 2 years of job experience in the type of performance being hired;
  • Be certified by the Philippine Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA); and
  • Have an Artist Record Book (ARB).

On the other hand, if you are applying to work as a caregiver in Japan, you must:

  • Be a Bachelor of Science in Nursing graduate;
  • Have a TESDA National Certificate II (NC II) in Caregiving.
  • Undergo at least 12 months of Japanese language training; and
  • Work and study to get a caregiving license or “Kaigofukushishi” while staying in Japan.

NOTE: Regardless of the type of job and work visa, you will need to coordinate with a manpower agency that’s accredited by the Philippine Department of Migrant Workers (DMW).


Likewise, the requirements you need to prepare would depend on the type of job and visa that you’re applying for. Nevertheless, here are some of the most common requirements:

  • Filled up visa application form;
  • Valid passport (original and photocopy);
  • Two (2) passport-sized pictures;
  • Confirmation of flight reservation;
  • Job offer documents (stating your position and salary); and
  • Certificate of Eligibility (original and photocopy).

NOTE: Your employer is the one responsible for getting your Certificate of Eligibility from Japan’s Immigration Services Agency (ISA).

Most Popular Jobs in Japan for Overseas Filipino Workers

These days, the most popular industries in Japan for foreign workers are: entertainment, engineering, manufacturing, skilled trades, construction, agriculture, healthcare. Below is a list of the most in-demand jobs in the country, grouped according to industry:

  • Entertainment – singers, dancers, artists, etc.;
  • Engineering – civil engineers, IT engineers, mechanical engineers, etc.;
  • Manufacturing – factory workers, production workers, etc.
  • Skilled Trades – automobile technicians, machinists, machine operators, painters, welders, etc.;
  • Construction – carpenters, construction workers, scaffolders, etc.
  • Agriculture – agricultural workers, livestock workers, hog raisers, aquaculture workers, etc.; and
  • Healthcare – doctors, nurses, caregivers, etc.

How to Become an OFW in Japan

At this point, we will focus on how Pinoy job seekers can become an OFW in Japan. Here is a step-by-step guide.

1. Consider Japan’s Specified Skilled Worker (SSW) Program

Before anything else, you might want to consider applying through Japan’s Specified Skilled Worker (SSW) Program. In 2019, this program was introduced to encourage foreign workers to work in specific industrial fields, as follows:

  • Accommodation Industry;
  • Agriculture;
  • Automobile Repair and Maintenance;
  • Aviation Industry;
  • Building Cleaning Management;
  • Construction Industry;
  • Fishery and Aquaculture Industries;
  • Food Service Industry;
  • Industrial Machinery Industry;
  • Electric, Electronics, and Information Industries;
  • Machine Parts and Tooling Industries;
  • Manufacture of Food and Beverages;
  • Nursing Care; and
  • Shipbuilding and Ship Machinery Industry.

NOTE: Applying through the SSW Program may boost your chances of becoming an OFW in Japan, since it focuses on the industries that have a labor shortage — and are therefore in-demand — in the country. Please see the official website of Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) to learn more about this program.

2. Apply Through a DMW-Licensed Agency

Aside from the SSW Program, you could also apply for a job in Japan through a manpower agency that is licensed by the Philippine Department of Migrant Workers (DMW). Just visit the DMW official website and look for the “Approved Job Orders” web page. Enter “Japan” in the search box to see the list of available job orders there.

When you find a job that you like, contact the manpower agency for more information about how you can apply. Be sure to ask for the necessary documents, training, and tests needed for the position. If you qualify, you will received a job offer. Don’t forget to read and check all documents before signing anything! Do not hesitate to ask about the job description, salary, benefits, and other matters.

Once you agree to the job offer, you and your employer will proceed to apply for a Japanese work visa. This could be a highly skilled professional visa or a regular work visa, depending on your particular job position.

As soon as you receive your visa, congratulations! You can start preparing for your move to Japan.

Licensed Recruitment Agencies to Japan

As cited previously, the Philippine Department of Migrant Workers (DMW) is the government body that accredits and oversees manpower agencies. Below is a list of manpower agencies that are licensed to facilitate the hiring of OFWs for Japan:

  • 101 Mojo International Corporation;
  • 10th Story Placement Agency Inc.;
  • 1st Dynamic Personnel Resrouces Inc.;
  • 2000 Miles Placement Agency Inc.;
  • 7107 Islands Placement and Promotions Inc.;
  • ABBA Personnel Services Inc.;
  • ABD Overseas Manpower Corp.;
  • Achieve Universal International Recruitment Services Inc.;
  • Advance Ability Assistance Human Resources Inc.;
  • Agility International Manpower Solution (AIMS) Inc.;
  • Al-Kingsmen International Manpower Services Co.;
  • Alizabeth Recruitment Incorporated;
  • ALO International Manpower Services Inc.;
  • Alpha Manpowerlink Agency Co.;
  • Alpha Tomo (P) International Manpower Services Inc.;
  • AML and GS Placement Enterpises Company Inc.;
  • Andrews Manpower Consulting Inc.;
  • Androme Recruitment and Management Services Inc.;
  • Aqium International Inc.;
  • Aquavir International Inc.;
  • Arix World Manpower Corporation;
  • ARK Overseas Human Resource Corp.;
  • Asia Reach International Management and Contractor Services Inc.;
  • Asian Dream Manpower Services Inc.
  • Awri-All-World Recruitment Inc.;
  • Benchstone Enterprises Inc.;
  • Bison Management Corporation;
  • Blazing Star International Manpower Services;
  • BMS Group International Manpower Recruitment Services Corp.;
  • Cebu New Wave Recruitment Inc.;
  • Chariot Labor Asia Manpower Services;
  • Connectional Overseas Employment Agency;
  • Coreteam Manpower Services Inc.;
  • CPM Manpower Services Inc.;
  • Desertwealth International Services Corp.;
  • Diamond Overseas Manpower Enterprises;
  • EDI Staffbuilders International Inc.;
  • Eligardi Enterprises Inc.;
  • EMCJ Manpower International Inc.;
  • Expedite Movers Manpower Services;
  • Faasi International Corporation;
  • First Champion and International Entertainment Inc.;
  • Fluor Manpower Agency Inc.;
  • Gatchalian Promotion Talents Pool Inc.;
  • Giant International Employment Agency Inc.;
  • Global Manpower Services Inc.; and
  • Golden Gateway International Manpower Services Inc.

NOTE: To view the full list of manpower agencies that are accredited to recruit land-based and sea-based OFWs worldwide, head to the DMW official website.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Meanwhile, here are some frequently asked questions — and answers — about becoming an OFW in Japan:

1. Who are qualified to work in Japan?

The criteria or qualifications to work in Japan depends on the specific type of job and visa that you’ll need. There are two main types of work visas available to Filipinos: the highly skilled professional visa, and the regular work visa.

2. What are the requirements?

The most common requirements include a valid passport, passport-sized pictures, confirmed flight bookings, job offer documents, Certificate of Eligibility, and of course, a filled up visa application form. Additional documents may be required, depending on the type of job and visa being applied for.

3. What are the most in-demand jobs for OFWs?

The most popular industries in Japan right now are: entertainment, engineering, manufacturing, skilled trades, construction, agriculture, and healthcare. Hence, the most in-demand jobs include singers, dancers, civil engineers, mechanical engineers, factory workers, production workers, automobile technicians, machine operators, construction workers, scaffolders, agricultural workers, aquaculture workers, nurses, and caregivers.

4. How can I become an OFW in Japan?

To become an OFW in Japan, you can start by looking into the country’s Specified Skilled Worker (SSW) Program. This program recruits foreign workers to address labor shortages in specific industries, namely: accommodation industry, agriculture, automobile repair and maintenance, aviation, building cleaning management, construction, fishery and aquaculture, food service, industrial machinery, machine parts and tooling, nursing care, ship building and machinery, and electric, electronics, and information.

Another option would be to get in touch with a manpower agency that’s accredited by the Philippine Department of Migrant Workers (DMW). Through this option, you will be coordinating with a manpower agency and your prospective employer in getting the necessary documents and visa to work in Japan.

5. How can I learn more about working in Japan?

For more details about working in Japan, you can visit the official websites of Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) as well as the Philippines’ Department of Migrant Workers (DMW). You can also visit the Japanese Embassy in Manila, whose contact information are given below.

Contact Information: Japanese Embassy in Manila

Here is the address and location map of the Japanese Embassy in the Philippines. The office is situated in Pasay, Metro Manila:

Address: 2627, 1300 Roxas Blvd, Pasay, Metro Manila, Philippines
Telephone: +63 2 8551 5710

Google Map:

Video: Getting Hired Through Japan’s Specified Skilled Worker (SSW) Program

If you happen to have job experience or educational background in agriculture, aquaculture, food services, industrial machinery, and certain other fields — you may qualify for Japan’s Specified Skilled Worker (SSW) Program. The following video features step-by-step procedures in acquiring this specific type of visa.

The above video is shared by “AnnlieJoy TV” YouTube channel. It is managed by Joy, a Filipina who is currently residing in Japan.

Additional Reminders

Once you have your work visa, you can start preparing for your move to Japan. Before you depart, though, here are some helpful tips and reminders:

  • Learn Japanese. Even before you leave the Philippines, it would be wise to start learning the Japanese language. This will not only help you in the workplace, but in communicating with the Japanese people in general.
  • Learn about Japanese work culture. Each country has a unique working culture, especially when it comes to working hours, workplace “hierarchy,” workplace etiquette, socialization, etc. By reading more about the work culture in Japan, you can be better prepared for your stay there.
  • Learn about Japan’s transport system. The country’s public transportation is widely used; there are bus routes and train routes that can take you to your office and other places. Do not hesitate to ask around as you become more familiar with Japan’s transport system.
  • Learn about Japan’s laws and systems. Take time to read about the country’s traffic rules, labor laws, healthcare, insurance systems, and other important matters. This can help you to better manage your time, money, and resources during your stay in Japan.
  • Connect with fellow Pinoys. Wherever you may be in Japan, you are likely to meet fellow kababayans. Take time to meet and connect with Filipinos, so that you can make new friends and have a strong social support system, even while staying in a foreign country.
  • Explore the country. Japan is a diverse, beautiful country! From historical landmarks, to cosmopolitan cities, to “nature” destinations, you are bound to discover and enjoy plenty of travel adventures!


If you are planning to work in Japan anytime soon, we hope that the above guide has been helpful! Regardless of the type of job that you apply for, we are certain that you will have a memorable experience in this country!

Japan’s neighboring country, South Korea, also happens to be a popular destination for Pinoys. Do read this article to learn more about how you can become an OFW in South Korea.