Visa Sponsorship of Foreign Domestic Helpers - Part 1


By Lyndsey Hughes - HR Consultant - Full-time Placement Service at Chez Vous

Can I bring my Filipina helper from Hong Kong? I want my part-time housekeeper to stay in Japan, but her visa will be cut...can your company sponsor her visa? My friend introduced a great nanny - how do I sponsor her visa?

As a HR consultant in charge of our full-time placement service, I have often been asked these questions by families moving to Japan. Here, I will try to share those answers...

If you are are a foreigner in Tokyo, you may be able to sponsor the visa of a foreign (usually Filipina) domestic helper. Though it's not easy. Over the past few years, it appears the Japanese government has really been tightening its grip to reduce the number of foreign domestic helpers in Japan. This has been symbolised by stricter immigration rules, or rather interpretation of the rules, in terms of who is eligible to sponsor the visa of foreign domestic helpers.

As a guide, to be able to sponsor the visa of a foreign domestic helper, you should meet the following criteria:

1) Be a foreign national. Japanese are unable to sponsor foreign domestic workers (despite the short-fall in Japanese child-care solutions)

2) Be an individual, not a company. Since housekeepers/nannies are deemed to be "unskilled labour", a company is not entitled to sponsor the visa of a foreign helper. Unfortunately, Chez Vous will not be able to sponsor the visa of your beloved nanny.

3) Have the correct visa type: offical (diplomat), business manager/investor, legal/accounting services.

4) Have children less than 13 years of age.

5) Your position in your company is also very important and you should be the top one or two foreigner in your company - CEO or director level. When making your application, you will need to submit an organisational chart of your company to demonstrate your importance.

6) Submit the necessary paperwork to the immigration office (Tel.: 03-5796-7112) such as your passport, employment contract, letter stating your reasons for wishing to employ a foreign worker, organisational chart of your company. Then upon being given the go-ahead to sponsor there is more paperwork to get through for you and your employee. (Note: if you are employing a worker directly from their home country, it is likely they will have a lot of checks and paperwork to submit before being allowed to leave their country: e.g. health checks, criminal checks.)

These are the minimum requirements, though each case is studied on its individual merits, sometimes quite arbitrarily it appears. There are occasionally extenuating circumstances which may allow a family to sponsor even if they do not fulfill the above criteria e.g. a sick or absent parent, disability of the child.

It is fair to say that the eligibility to sponsor domestic helpers is judged more on a status, rather than a need or even financial basis. There are many foreigners (and Japanese) who really need child-care support, and who have the financial means to pay for it, but who are not able to meet the criteria laid out by the Ministry of Justice.

Help is at hand...

And for those families who are really in need of intensive domestic support, and who cannot sponsor, please do not despair. Chez Vous is able to introduce localized foreign domestic staff , who do not require visa sponsorship, and are legal to work. The quality of such workers is high, and will offer far more stability than borrowing a "sponsored" Filipina from a friend (which is also not permitted). There are other options out there!

For any questions or advice on hiring or sponsoring a full-time domestic worker...feel free to call me on 0120-699-100. I will be happy to help!


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