16/11/2020

How to Qualify for an Automotive Mechanic Job in Japan

Japan is brimming with wide ranging job opportunities especially to skilled workers such as automotive mechanics. For foreigners who want to pursue an automotive mechanic job career in the country, learn the basics of how to successfully qualify for a competitive automotive mechanic job in Japan. 


Table of Contents

  1. Automotive History in Japan
  2. The Automotive Mechanic  in Japan
  3. Visa Requirements
  4. Summary

Automotive History in Japan

For many years, Japan has been one of the leading countries pioneered in the development of the automotive industry.  Starting back in the late 1910s until now, Japan made a lot of major breakthroughs and influenced the automobile industry worldwide. Honda, Toyota, and Isuzu are Japanese automotive manufacturers that might sound rather familiar to you. 

As a matter of fact, Japan stood against top-tiered countries such as China and Germany in producing large quantities of durable cars and commercial vehicles. There is no doubt that the automotive industry in Japan is one of the economy’s core industrial sectors. However, currently, the labor shortage of the country has been a serious emerging problem. To cater to the needs of each and every industry, such as automotive, skilled foreign workers, specifically automotive mechanics, are highly in demand in the country.

The Automotive Mechanic in Japan

Job Description

As a skilled worker pursuing an automotive career, you might already know you are primarily to diagnose and inspect cars' condition and problems. Considered a vocational occupation, you will be providing routine maintenance and repair of vehicles. However, due to technological advancement, being an automotive mechanic in Japan may not necessarily be limited to manual replacement and assemblies. It is also important to note that you might need the skills to run electronic technology, computerized tests, and electronic troubleshooting for disassembly and maintenance as well as take classes related to the field such as auto mechanic courses or short-term programs depending on the employer or company. Of course, these are all set upon agreement between you and the company; thus you must pay attention to every detail in the contract you are signing.

Job Requirements

Take note that you must be at least over 18 years old to work as a Specified Skilled Worker (more on this visa status below) in Japan. While work experience related to auto-mechanics and vocational training are typically looked for by employers, the amount looked for varies and depends on the employer and/or company you are applying for. 

Meanwhile, although there is no specific educational background required for employment under normal conditions, some employers/companies expect you to hold a diploma and/or a short course certificate to prove your proficiency in the career. Conversing in Japanese is also highly a must! You must pass the required minimum Japanese Proficiency Test (N4 for Specified Skiller Workers).

※ Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan, "Specified Skilled Worker"

Expected Salary Range 

Salary might vary depending on the terms and conditions you have had with your chosen company. Compensation can be affected by various factors such as working hours, working location, work skills, and experience upon entry. The exact value will more likely be discussed between you and your employer. Specific incentives and bonuses might also be included upon discussion. 

According to the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare's Basic Survey on Wage Structure, typically, an automotive mechanic that works in Japan earns an annual salary of approximately 4.2 million yen. An auto mechanic who works in a manufacturing company makes an average of 4.5 million yen per year. Small and medium companies offer around 4 million yen annually, while a famous car manufacturer like Toyota, the estimated annual salary is approximately 79.70 million yen. The average yearly income of a Nissan auto mechanic is around 7.57 million yen, while Suzuki recorded an estimate of 5.9 million yen salary per year. Again, this depends on the years of experience and work in the company.

※ Heikinnenshu, "Detailed explanation of the annual income of a car mechanic"

Visa Requirements 

If you are a foreigner with no prior experience of working in Japan with an intent to apply for a visa, the very first thing you need to do to get the Specified Skilled Worker visa is to pass the Skill Standards and Japanese language test before proceeding to sign in an employment contract with an accepting organization. On the other hand, if you have already undergone and completed the Technical Intern Training (ii), you are to personally sign the contract with a company and proceed on to applying for a certificate of eligibility with the cooperation of said company in the Regional Immigration Bureau. After that, you can apply for a visa and wait until it is issued and approved by the Japanese Embassy. 

※ Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan, "Points to Note and Application Procedures"
※ Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan, "A New Status of Residence has been created “Specified Skilled Worker”"

The Specified Skills Visa 1 - or SSV1 - allows you for a short stay in Japan (1 year, 6 months or 4 months) that can be renewed up to 5 years. For the most part, you must also remember that accompaniment of family members is basically not permitted.

※ Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan, "Working Visa: Specified skilled worker (i) / (ii)"

Requirements and Documentations Needed

Primarily, a passport, visa application form, 2x2 pictures, and a certificate of eligibility are the things you must have during your VISA application process. The latter is the most important as it certifies that you are conforming to the conditions upon entry in Japan. However, depending on your nationality, additional requirements might be compulsory. For example, if you are a Chinese national, you might be asked to bring a copy of your family registrar as well as a Residence Certificate. Some employers/companies might also ask you to obtain a Valid Driver’s License. Don’t be anxious, though! Someone will naturally guide you with these things; but one piece of advice, if you are confused with the process, do not be afraid to ask. 

※ Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan, "Working Visa: Specified skilled worker (i) / (ii)"
​​​​​​​※ Japan External Trade Organization,"Section 2. Visas and Status of Residence 2.4 Types of working statuses"

Summary

Japan’s desire to combat the problem regarding the shortage of manpower pushes them to invite foreign human resources to work for them. To address their industry's needs, workers skilled in specific fields such as  automotive mechanics are very much welcome in the country. If you are an automotive mechanic who aspires to take a competitive auto-mechanic career further, there is no time to delay! Choose Japan, grab this chance, and go for it!

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