I currently have the status of residence of Engineer / Specialist in Humanities / International Services, and am working at company which operates pharmacies. I have been told that I am going to be working at a food logistics company soon. These are two very different kinds of companies, so I would like to know whether this will be a problem with my status of residence.
In Japan, the activities authorized for each status of residence (zairyū shikaku / 在留資格) are specified in the tables appended to the Immigration Control and Refugee Recognition Act. For holders of the status of residence of Engineer / Specialist in Humanities / International Services (gijutsu / jinbun chishiki / kokusai gyōmu / 技術・人文知識・国際業務), 'duties which require skills or knowledge in the... natural science fields, or... humanities fields, or duties which require the ways of thinking or sensitivity founded on foreign culture' are specified as appropriate activities.
The content of the activities authorized for the status of residence is not the content of the business activities in which the employing company is engaged, but rather the content of the work in which the individual will actually be engaged within the company. For example, if the work in which you are to engage at your new workplace is related to judicial affairs or accounting, marketing, interpreting or translation, etc., and is the same as that in which you were engaged at your previous workplace, there should not be an issue with your status of residence. The activities permitted under your status of residence are the actual duties in which the individual employee will be engaged.
To confirm whether or not the content of your new job will be a problem in terms of authorized activities for your status of residence, you can apply for a Certificate of Authorized Employment (shūrō shikaku shōmeisho / 就労資格証明書) to the Immigration Services Bureau with jurisdiction over the area in which you live. While this procedure is not compulsory, it can provide a sense of security when you start at your new workplace. In addition, when the time comes to extend your period of stay, the Immigration Services Bureau will already know about your new job, hopefully making the extension application procedure smoother.
Also note that if your employer also changes when changing jobs, you are required to submit a Notification of the affiliated (contracting) organization (shozoku [keiyaku] kikan ni kan suru todokede / 所属(契約)機関に関する届出) within 14 days.
For more information on what you need to do when changing jobs, please consult your nearest Immigration Services Bureau office or the Immigration Information Center (0570-013904), or a gyōsei shoshi (行政書士, certified administrative procedures legal specialist) familiar with immigration procedures.
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