Grandfather posing with grandchildren

In many countries it is quite common for a family to have, for example, a nanny, or a housekeeper, or a driver, etc. Whether a family is used to such household organization or a need for assistance arises unexpectedly, it is possible to bring a personal helper with you to Japan, instead of hiring someone from a local company to do house chores or look after the family members.

A non-Japanese maid, nanny, housekeeper or another foreigner who wished to work in this area needs to obtain a designated activities visa. While a designated activities visa covers a wide variety of activities (for example, working holidays), the possibility of acquiring this type of visa to perform the abovementioned duties depends solely on an employer, not an applicant. An individual must be first employed and sponsored by a foreigner who already has the right type of visa and meets a number of other requirements. Only then a maid, nanny or another personal helper can enter Japan to assist in household chores. Thus, most of the information below will be about and for a potential employer.

Eligibility

An employer, who wishes to bring a personal helper to Japan, needs to fulfill the following requirements.

Visa type

A person with a Japanese citizenship cannot bring a personal helper from abroad. It is also impossible for companies or legal entities to sponsor such an assistant. An employer who wants to sponsor a personal helper must be a foreign national (a person, not a company) with one of the following residential statuses:

* Holders of the first three visa types are usually high ranking managers, directors, and CEOs while other groups with an asterisk are more of an exception. There are different financial requirements for them, and their cases will be considered individually. See more information below.

Family situation

Beside the visa type, one of the following conditions must be true in order to invite a personal helper.

  • There is at least one child under 13 years old in the sponsor’s family at the moment of application.
  • A spouse of a sponsor is unable to assist in running the household due to illness or incapacity.

Financial situation

A sponsor who wishes to bring a personal helper should also consider the following financial demands for employers.

  • The minimum compensation to a personal helper is 200 000 yen/month as set by the law.
  • Sponsor covers transportation to and from work for their personal helper if they live separately.
  • National holidays are considered to be a vocation.
  • It is quite common to pay a personal helper 2-4 weeks of a holiday bonus.
  • A highly skilled foreign professional who wishes to sponsor a personal helper should have an annual household income of 10 mln yen minimum in addition to having a child under 13 years old or a spouse who cannot help running the household due to illness or incapacity.

Need more information ?

For more information fill in the form or call us and we connect you to our client servicing team directly.

What documents do I need?

There are two possibilities to hire a personal helper. An employer may bring their helper from abroad or re-hire one from another family if the suitable foreign helper already resides in Japan. Thus, below you will find two lists of the necessary documents. All the documents should be translated into Japanese.

When bringing a personal helper from outside Japan:

  • An application form for the Certificate of Eligibility for a personal helper that is new to Japan.
  • A later that explains the necessity of bringing a foreign helper with you. For example, there are children in a family but both parents are working, or there is a family member with severe health conditions that require assistance, etc.
  • Copy of the employment contract explaining duties of the personal helper, duration of the contract, and a yearly salary.
  • Helper’s certificate of graduation to prove their education and ability to speaks the same language as the employer.
  • Employer’s passport copy, including pages with visa stamps of an appropriate type.
  • Employment certificate that ensures that employer is responsible for one’s employee in case something happened to a personal helper.
  • Company’s organization chart which proves that employer is a high-ranking manager or a person with the highest position in that company.
  • An envelope with the return address.

 

When rehiring a personal helper that is already residing in Japan from another family:

  • An application for extension of the period of stay.
  • A latter of release from a previous family.
  • Copy of the employment contract explaining duties of the personal helper, duration of the contract, and a yearly salary.
  • Helper’s certificate of graduation to prove their education and ability to speaks the same language as the employer.
  • Employer’s passport copy, including pages with visa stamps of an appropriate type.
  • Employment certificate that ensures that employer is responsible for one’s employee in case something happened to a personal helper.
  • Company’s organization chart which proves that employer is a high-ranking manager or a person with the highest position in that company.
  • An envelope with the return address.

Summary

Personal helper visa allows you to bring, for example, a maid or a nanny from your home country with you to Japan. This option is reserved for certain types of visas and usually presumes a high level of income of the host in order to be able to pay the required salaries to the invited helper.

Also, the immigration service will take into consideration the need for a personal assistant. Nannies, maids, etc. are allowed for families with small children or for families where the adult member(s) need constant help due to severe health conditions or other similar reasons.

Japan's Personal Helper Visa FAQ

Should I hire or re-hire?

Each strategy has its own benefits. Time- and money-wise it is easier to re-hire a person that is already in Japan. However, you will have to search for such person on your own as well as make sure that they fit your requirements and the family. On the other hand, if you have a trusted person from your own country and you would not like to change the familiar routines and surrounding, bringing that trusted person might be psychologically easier for all the family.

I want to hire a personal helper, but my visa type does not qualify for that. What should I do?

Consider acquiring one of the visa types that allow to hire a personal helper or using local Japanese agencies that provide housekeeping and childcare services.

How long does it take to get a visa?

Getting a Certificate of eligibility for your personal helper may take two or three months. Start planning and collecting documents in advance. When the certificate will be ready, your personal helper will be notified to come and pick it up from the immigration service.

Duration of visa

The duration of visa depends on the contract duration. Usually, agreements are made for one year, but each case is individual.

Application process seems to be difficult. Can someone help me with the application?

It is highly recommended to seek assistance from a certified immigration professional, embassy or consulate for a couple of reasons. First of all, visa for a maid, nanny, housekeeper, etc., falls under a broad definition of “designated activities”, and bringing one with you will also affect the taxation procedures both for you and your assistant. Secondly, a sponsor bears responsibility for their personal helper, which is also vaguely defined by the law, and many aspects of these responsibilities should be clarified beforehand by the professional. A certified assistant may also be able to help you with the papers and translations.

Does a personal helper need to have Japanese language skills?

There are no regulations regarding this matter. The main consideration is that the maid or nanny can communicate with the family members freely and clearly. However, being able to communicate in Japanese at least at the basic level will make it easier for your assistant to live in Japan: to communicate with locals and feel more comfortable in a new place. Even though the English language is taught in Japanese schools and universities, in general, English language skills are not so widespread in Japan. If your personal helper speaks neither Japanese nor English, finding one’s way in Japan may be extremely hard.