There are registered support organizations. Individuals or organizations are commissioned by host institutions to support foreign nationals who are Specified Skilled Workers with tasks like securing residency and assisting with contracts that are necessary for everyday life.
It varies depending on the rules for each country.
In the Specified Skilled Worker System, you are not able to bring your family. However, those certified care workers who have acquired “national certification” can work and live permanently, and are able to bring their families.
Level N4 of the Japanese Language Proficiency Test (understanding of basic Japanese) is required.
In addition to nursing care for physical needs (such as assistance related to bathing, mealtimes, toilet needs, etc. depending on the physical and mental condition of users), the work also entails other support services (such as implementation of recreational activities and assistance with functional training).
*Home visitation services are not included here.
It is possible to change jobs within the same industry or between companies when the commonality of the skill level has been evaluated through testing. In the case of nursing care, it is possible to move to another facility that accepts nursing care workers.
You do not need a nursing certification. To work under the Specified Skilled Worker System, you must pass the Specified Skilled Worker Tests.
After going back to their home countries, some put the skills they acquired in Japan to use by pursuing nursing care careers and some become nursing care instructors.
After studying and working as a care worker in Japan for 3 years, you will be able to take an exam for the national certification to be what is called a “certified care worker”.
Some individuals working as Specified Skilled Care Workers work towards receiving the national certification.
We encourage you to do your best in studying for the national certification after you start working.
The Specified Skills Evaluation Test consists of three tests: the Nursing Care Skills Evaluation Test, the Nursing Care Japanese Language Evaluation Test, and a test to measure the Japanese language proficiency level.
The Nursing Care Skills Evaluation Test and the Nursing Care Japanese Language Evaluation Test measure specialized skills and Japanese language skills that are used in the field of nursing care, with the standard being the level that someone is considered to be work ready.
The Japanese language proficiency level is measured by the Japan Foundation’s Test for Basic Japanese or the Japanese Language Proficiency Test (N4 or better is required).
You can sign up through the website for Prometric Japan Co, Ltd., the testing organization. The Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare homepage also shares information on the application process for the tests (external link to the website for Prometric Japan Co., Ltd., who conducts the tests).
Even those who have never resided in Japan before can enter the country to take the tests under the residence status of “Temporary Visitor”. It is also possible to take the tests outside of Japan. As of March 2021, tests are being held in Cambodia, Indonesia, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nepal, the Philippines, and Thailand.
Foreign nationals who came to Japan as an EPA Candidate for “Kaigofukushishi” (certified care worker) and who have been appropriately engaged in work/training at a nursing care facility for four years or who have completed “Technical Intern Training (ii)” in nursing care are determined to satisfy the necessary skill level and Japanese proficiency level to be exempt from the 3 tests and can move on to “Specified Skilled Worker (i)”. Foreigners who have completed “Technical Intern Training (ii)” in a field other than nursing care are exempt from a portion of the test to measure their Japanese proficiency level. (The Nursing Care Skills Evaluation Test and the Nursing Care Japanese Language Evaluation Test are still required.)
There is no scholarship system provided by the Japanese government for the cost of education after starting work under the Specified Skilled Worker System, but support for training is offered. In addition, some regions and care facilities provide their own education and support.
Studying in Japan
It would be a good idea to prepare for the Specified Skilled Worker tests and to study Japanese.
Anything you don’t know about Japanese nursing care methods or techniques can be learned through working.
Even those who have obtained nursing certifications in other countries are not allowed to perform nursing duties in Japan, but their knowledge of nursing, such as understanding diseases and how the body works, can be useful in nursing care.
Working under the Specified Skilled Worker System, it is a good idea to study using materials like textbooks.
Life in Japan
You can work with peace of mind at your nursing care workplace because the laws to protect the safety and rights of workers apply to you, a foreigner working in Japan, as well.
The way you work will be based on your contract with the facility or company where you work.
As a guide, you should work 40 hours per week or less, about 8 hours a day, and have around 2 days a week off. In addition, depending on the facility or company where you work, you may work night shifts or work overtime. Please be sure to check your work contract.
It is possible to go back to your home country for a visit, but please also discuss this in advance with the facility or company you will be working with.
Where you live will depend on the location of the facility or company where you work, but you will probably live near that facility or company.
You will need to pay for meals and housing yourself out of your salary, but depending on the facility or company where you work, a dorm may be provided or your rent may be subsidized. Please confirm when deciding on a place to work.
You will need to have a health insurance plan in Japan. Even if you get sick and incur medical expenses, health insurance will cover it so you will only be responsible for paying a portion of the cost. When you start working, it’s a good idea to confirm any necessary procedures with the facility or company you are going to work for.
Since there are some elderly people and others in nursing care settings who are at high risk of developing serious symptoms, we are taking firm measures to prevent infection from COVID-19. For this reason, we believe that once the Covid-19 situation is under control, you can work in Japan with peace of mind.