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  • Working on a tourist visa

    I have been recommended by my employer to enter Japan on a tourist visa and then change it to a work visa after entering the country if my work visa is not ready by the time my flight leaves. Is this crazy? Wouldn't this jeopardize my future visa? I would be entering with my family, 4 dependents, 10 suitcases, shipping boxes in transit. I don't plan to lie. How moronic would immigration have to be to think I am a tourist?

    Any official website outlining the procedure and policy from Japanese immigration would be appreciated.

  • #2
    The policy is that if you are caught working on a tourist visa, you will be expelled from the country at your own expense. If you are willing to risk this, listen to your (very wrong) employer. If you aren't willing to risk this, then you need to get your employer to get your COE before you come to Japan, or find another employer.

    I wouldn't risk it - look at the position you'd be in if busted. All it takes is for someone to get annoyed, maybe not even at you, but at the employer, and call immigration, and you are screwed. And immigration in this country don't have a sympathetic ear, they will toss you out regardless of your reasoning behind working on a tourist visa.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Gordon View Post
      I have been recommended by my employer to enter Japan on a tourist visa and then change it to a work visa after entering the country if my work visa is not ready by the time my flight leaves. Is this crazy? Wouldn't this jeopardize my future visa? I would be entering with my family, 4 dependents, 10 suitcases, shipping boxes in transit. I don't plan to lie. How moronic would immigration have to be to think I am a tourist?

      Any official website outlining the procedure and policy from Japanese immigration would be appreciated.
      Don't even think of it. For starters, you won't be allowed to declare unaccompanied articles (I assume your boxes are coming separately) if you enter as a temporary visitor.

      If you were coming by yourself, maybe it's worth trying. But not with a whole family.

      What kind of company is this?

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Gordon View Post
        Any official website outlining the procedure and policy from Japanese immigration would be appreciated.
        Tell me, why would some one be entering a country for 90 days with everything but the kitchen sink unless they were planning to live there?

        They are quite within their rights to refuse you entry and put you back on the plane if you can not show you have some where to stay and some means of supporting yourself?

        What employer means is come in, say you are here to do sightseeing and then change visa once you enter the country/get a sponsor.

        Working on a tourist visa is ILLEGAL in any country, including yours.

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        • #5
          What sort of time frame are we talking here? That is, when did you apply for the visa, when are you expected to start work, and how soon does he want you here?

          Two suitcases per person is not unheard of for tourists, but if they are huge, it might raise suspicions at immigration or customs, yes. Be sure what is going on before you come.
          Last edited by Glenski; 2012-03-11, 09:00 AM.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Gordon View Post
            I have been recommended by my employer to enter Japan on a tourist visa and then change it to a work visa after entering the country if my work visa is not ready by the time my flight leaves. Is this crazy? Wouldn't this jeopardize my future visa? I would be entering with my family, 4 dependents, 10 suitcases, shipping boxes in transit. I don't plan to lie. How moronic would immigration have to be to think I am a tourist?

            Any official website outlining the procedure and policy from Japanese immigration would be appreciated.
            So it's only a 'fall-back' plan if the visa is not processed or is it likely to happen. What does your contract say ? In any case, it would be ok to be either not paid at all or into a foreign account. Even people on biz trips don't need a visa.
            How long have you been with the company so you expect to decide things in your favor if there is any problem ?

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Gordon View Post
              I have been recommended by my employer to enter Japan on a tourist visa and then change it to a work visa after entering the country if my work visa is not ready by the time my flight leaves. Is this crazy? Wouldn't this jeopardize my future visa? I would be entering with my family, 4 dependents, 10 suitcases, shipping boxes in transit. I don't plan to lie. How moronic would immigration have to be to think I am a tourist?

              Any official website outlining the procedure and policy from Japanese immigration would be appreciated.
              reality check, he's not your employer until you actually enter the country and your visa kicks in and you are eligible to work. Maybe you should say "future employer".

              Be a shame to come here and hes changed his mind or moved the goal posts on you and you have shipped your worldly possessions here on no more than a handshake. Even your contract is not valid until you actually start working.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by KansaiBen View Post
                Even your contract is not valid until you actually start working.
                Only if that is a condition of the contract. The details should include a clause that the employer is responsible for the visa and responsible for moving expenses. Start date could be dependent on various factors.

                Gordon: you need to read your contract carefully and tell your employer that he really doesn't want to suggest that you do anything illegal, making himself an accessory before the fact.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Gordon View Post
                  I have been recommended by my employer to enter Japan on a tourist visa and then change it to a work visa after entering the country if my work visa is not ready by the time my flight leaves. Is this crazy? Wouldn't this jeopardize my future visa? I would be entering with my family, 4 dependents, 10 suitcases, shipping boxes in transit. I don't plan to lie. How moronic would immigration have to be to think I am a tourist?

                  Any official website outlining the procedure and policy from Japanese immigration would be appreciated.
                  My advice would be to wait until you get your COE from the embassy and then enter Japan on that. You can be sure that your employer will not renege on you and you will have a visa even if something happens. Coming to Japan on a tourist visa doesn't leave much of a safety net because you can still be stopped by immigration at any point. Its not just your employer at this point.

                  If you are in Japan and your completed visa is at the embassy back home how do you hope to change it to a work visa in Japan? You cant work in Japan until you get your go-ahead from immigration anyway.
                  Last edited by KansaiBen; 2012-03-10, 10:22 PM.

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                  • #10
                    Thanks everyone.

                    What you have all said is what I expected. I think it happens to be one clueless person giving me extremely bad advice to tell me to come on a tourist visa and then get it changed to a working visa after I arrive here. I told them there is no chance I will come unless i have a work visa first. The problem is my COE may not be ready in time. That is their problem, but it makes it my problem.

                    I have been in Japan before, so none of this is new to me.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Gordon View Post
                      Thanks everyone.

                      What you have all said is what I expected. I think it happens to be one clueless person giving me extremely bad advice to tell me to come on a tourist visa and then get it changed to a working visa after I arrive here. I told them there is no chance I will come unless i have a work visa first. The problem is my COE may not be ready in time. That is their problem, but it makes it my problem.

                      I have been in Japan before, so none of this is new to me.
                      If they really want you they will move hell and high water to get your COE approved and to you on time!

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                      • #12
                        They can't move immigration, Backdoor Man. What do you expect the company to do, bribe someone? Best they can do is explain their own sad urgency.

                        They simply should have applied sooner, and it's their fault, yes, not the OP's.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by KansaiBen View Post
                          My advice would be to wait until you get your COE from the embassy and then enter Japan on that.
                          Bad idea. A COE does not guarantee a visa, and is not a visa. It's written right on there. He's better off entering on a tourist waiver to begin with than have immigration wonder why he didn't take the two extra days to get his visa processed. It makes him look like he has intent to start working right away and either way they can't let him in as a tourist when he has a piece of paper saying he intends to work.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Gordon View Post
                            Thanks everyone.

                            What you have all said is what I expected. I think it happens to be one clueless person giving me extremely bad advice to tell me to come on a tourist visa and then get it changed to a working visa after I arrive here. I told them there is no chance I will come unless i have a work visa first. The problem is my COE may not be ready in time. That is their problem, but it makes it my problem.

                            I have been in Japan before, so none of this is new to me.
                            Wait a second, your COE may not be ready in time for what? For the day they want you to start working? Because, it would be one thing if you had irresponsibly booked a non-changeable flight and you wanted to come early to not lose your tickets but were planning to wait in Japan WITHOUT working while the COE comes through. It's quite another to come to Japan on a tourist visa and start working because your employer wants you to start even though you have no legal permission to work. The former is something an employer COULD say, and that would be fine. The latter is illegal and usually the sign of a scam artist who gets people to work on tourist visas and then doesn't give them a visa or pay them, knowing there's nothing the worker can do since he was working illegally.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by xHime View Post
                              Wait a second, your COE may not be ready in time for what? For the day they want you to start working? Because, it would be one thing if you had irresponsibly booked a non-changeable flight and you wanted to come early to not lose your tickets but were planning to wait in Japan WITHOUT working while the COE comes through. It's quite another to come to Japan on a tourist visa and start working because your employer wants you to start even though you have no legal permission to work. The former is something an employer COULD say, and that would be fine. The latter is illegal and usually the sign of a scam artist who gets people to work on tourist visas and then doesn't give them a visa or pay them, knowing there's nothing the worker can do since he was working illegally.
                              The COE may not be ready in time to send to me so I can apply for my visa before my flight. The employer is not a scam, it is a university, it is just the person in charge is doing this for the first time and I fear has taken too long to process this in time.

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