Recruitment in Japan

Recruitment in Japan: Frequently Asked Questions

What is the monthly cost of using an Umbrella Company in Japan? 

5% with a minimum of $500 USD per month.


What is the cost of a Work Permit in Japan?

250,00 JPY.

How long does it take to get a work permit in Japan?

6 to 8 weeks.

What is the estimated net retention in Japan for a contractor earning USD 500 per day?

*update pending

What is the estimated net retention in Japan for a contractor earning USD 1000 per day?

Depends on how it is structured. Should be 70-80%

Read more about the work permit process.

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Recruitment in Japan can be a challenge, but you don’t have to drown in time-consuming admin just to place a candidate. You can simplify complications by using an Umbrella Company (or “contractor management company”), as long as you pick the right one.

Skip ahead to find out how we can help you place candidates faster, or simply read on to find out more about the specific issues you’ll face.

Placing a new contractor in Japan: what are the challenges?


Recruiting in Japan generally requires a lot of complex admin duties, and contractors might end up paying too much in taxes or failing to comply with Japan tax law. It’s important to know what kind of concerns you’ll be facing.

  • Double taxation: Contractors can incur a tax liability in both their home country and in Japan. Many countries have agreements that mitigate this type of issue, but whether or not you can take advantage of them will depend on factors like the length of the contractor’s stay, or the laws of the contractor’s home country. You can learn more about double taxation here (note: this info was written with respect to the UK, but the general concepts will still apply).
  • Withholding tax: If a foreign company is used to provide services overseas, the payments made to that company by the Japan client could be liable for withholding tax under Japan tax law. Find out more about withholding tax.
  • Individual taxation and tax residency: A contractor’s tax liability will often be determined by his or her residency status in their home country and in Japan. Figuring out their tax residency can be difficult and is often tied to the length of their stay in Japan (or out of their home country). Read more about tax residency and individual tax liability here.
  • Permanent establishment: Most double taxation agreements limit the scope of taxation in the host country by providing that a business is only taxable in another state if it has a permanent establishment in that state. A permanent establishment is a fixed base such as a branch, office, factory, workshop, mine or oil well. To find out how to avoid permanent establishment and unnecessary tax liability, read more about the issue.

Work permits

Contractors will need to find a sponsored work permit, which can be difficult and may seriously slow the placement process. Additionally, they’ll need a new permit for each new contract, spawning even more paperwork.

See our FAQ to find out more about the cost and processing time of Japan work permits.

Why use a contractor management company?

An efficient way to manage these problems is to outsource them to a contractor management company. They’ll act as the contractor’s “employer,” handling all of their invoicing, fees, and social security. As Japan tax experts, they also help contractors comply with local tax law while maximising the amount they get to keep.

A quicker, better recruitment process: Working with an Umbrella Company means saving time, effort, and resources. Higher earnings and a smoother transition also make contracting a more attractive opportunity, helping you place candidates more quickly and successfully.

Still, you’ll need to find the right company for you and your candidate.

How to find the right Umbrella Company?

Making sense of the optionsFor free, we match contractors with Umbrella Companies and can help dramatically reduce waiting times. There are numerous Umbrella Companies in Japan and each has its own specialties, services, and payment structures. Choosing the right one is crucial, but it can be difficult when you’re facing a bunch of unfamiliar options.

We’ve developed an extensive database of these companies. We can guide you through your options and help connect you with the best company for you and the contractor.

Get in touch: If you want straightforward, honest advice on recruitment in Japan, we’re easy to contact. Call, e-mail, or chat with us online - for free.

Send your details for more information

Work Permits & Payroll - Frequently Asked Questions


What documentation is required for a Japan work permit?

Passport, employment contract, 2 passport photos, degree/diploma certificates. Depending on nationality you could require vaccination certificates.

What is the work permit process in Japan?

To work in Japan, consultants must obtain a certificate of eligibility (COE) and a work visa. They may enter Japan on a short term visa and begin the COE and work visa application in Japan. A COE for a work visa is issued by a regional immigration authority as evidence that the activities of the applicant are valid and come under the status of residence; all applications will be sponsored by our local partner in Japan. Once approved, consultants outside Japan must take the COE to the Japanese Consulate in their home country to obtain the work visa. Consultants in Japan at the time of the COE approval will be required to change the status of their current visa from residence to a work visa at the regional immigration office in Japan. This is done on a case by case basis and is at the discretion of the immigration authorities. Our partners local representative will assist with this process.The work visa can also be obtained without the assistance of our local representative at a Japanese consulate overseas. As a general rule the applicant can take the COE to apply for a visa at any Japanese embassy or consulate in any country. However, we advise contacting the consulate concerned to confirm they do not restrict visa issuances to residents only. The change of status must be completed within three months of the date of issue of the COE and consultants must also enter/return to Japan within that period.The work visa is no longer stamped in the consultant’s passport. A residence card will now be issued containingall relevant information. There is also no requirement to apply for a re-entry permit as consultants are able toexit and re-enter freely during their period of stay using the residence card.

Can you transfer from a Business Visa to a Work Permit in Japan?


Can we organise Business Visas in Japan?


How long does it take to process a Business Visa in Japan?

5 to10 days nationality dependent. Some nationalities do not require visas for short stays.

How much does a Work Permit cost in Japan?

$300 USD.


Can nationals of certain countries enter Japan without a Business Visa (ex. on an entry visa or visa waiver)?


Yes as above.



$3000 USD per month.


What is the monthly cost to run a local payroll in Japan?


 5% with a minimum of $500 USD per month.


How does payroll work in Japan?


Your employer (the company sponsoring your visa) pays the candidate on a monthly basis. They deduct social security  - which is 14.471% for employers and 13.691% for employees. They also deduct income tax - which is progressive and varies from 5-50% pendant on salary level. These deductions are made at source and paid to the Japan tax authorities. Candidates are able to offset their taxable income with relevant business expenses. The World Bank estimates it takes employers in Japan 140 man days to ensure compliance with payroll and labour taxes each year.



Client comment

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Shell International Trading & Shipping