Part time work as a MEXT scholar


  • Work permit is needed for most part time jobs
  • However, if you are looking for a long part-time job you need a work permit.
  • You are limited to working up to 28 hours per week during term and up to 40 hours per week during holidays
  • Working in some entertainment service establishments (discos/clubs etc) is prohibited
  • For graduate students: Consultation with advisor before looking for part-time work is recommended
  • Some resources for finding part-time jobs are also stated at the bottom

Written by: Anastasia Bender

Is it possible for MEXT scholars to have a part time job?

Yes, it is possible! Just as any other international student in Japan, MEXT scholars are legally allowed to do part time work. Some pocket money as well as experience in working in a Japanese environment can never hurt! The only things you would need in order to do part time work are time, energy and a work permit (with a few exceptions including work at your university eg. being a TA.)!

Don’t forget to apply for your work permit!

However, the student visa you have as a MEXT scholar does not automatically come with a work permit (shikaku-gai katsudo kyokasho / 資格外活動許可書 / “Permission to Engage in Activity other than that Permitted under the Status of Residence Previously Granted”).  Therefore, if you do not already have one, you would need to apply for one at the local immigration bureau in the prefecture you live in.

In order to apply, you need to fill out a form, which you can either receive at any immigration bureau or at the international student center of your university. All you need to do is fill out the form, bring your passport and residence card and submit your application at the immigration bureau! At this point of time (late 2017), you do not need to pay a single yen for the permit. From application to actually receiving your working permit it takes two to eight weeks, so be patient!

Once you have received your work permit, you are allowed to work for up to 28 hours a week. This increases to up to 40 hours per week during holidays. With this working permit, you are free to do part time work at any convenience store, restaurant, café, supermarket, you name it! The only thing you have to be careful about is that as a student you are not allowed to work at some entertainment establishments such as nightclubs.

We recommend that you play on the safe side if in doubt. Working without a permit, going over the hour limits and working in prohibited areas may cause you may break the law without wanting to – which may get you a warning at best and endanger your scholarship as well as your stay in Japan at worst!

Part time work as a graduate student

As for graduate students, it may not be recommended to do part time work, since graduate school in itself is a full-time job and takes up a lot of your time and energy. Thus, before looking for part time work, consider consulting with your academic advisor and getting their permission. In case you are asked to do part time work at your lab or as a Teaching Assistant or Teaching Fellow for your advisor’s classes, you generally do not need a working permit, but since this might differ from case to case, you do not forget to reconfirm with your international student center!

As a last note we recommend that any scholar unsure about eligibility, conflicts with the scholarship or how to do the application procedures to approach their university student office. Part time work can be very rewarding but it is best to avoid possible problems when doing so.

Places that you may find part-time work:

  • Check the resources in the “How to find internships” article – some internships are paid and function as part-time work.
  • Consider signing up for mailing lists such as t-news global (only in Japanese) which often sends out part-time work information.
  • Our mailing list often has part-time information as well.
  • Some services such as Flamingo and Chezmo allow you to not just do part time work while also getting to know Japanese people at the same time.  


(Image taken from (2017/10/10))

These guide articles are meant to be advice based on the experience of current and previous scholars. Given how situations may change depending on the school, region or year etc., we urge any scholars to approach the relevant authorities in your school if you have any doubts or concerns.

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