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Q. What should foreigners do when they start a side business? Feb 02, 2021

Q. What should foreigners do when they start a side business?

A. Please note that there are various problems regarding resident status (visa).

Hello, I am Daisuke Tsuji as a specialist of immigration applications at Takadanobaba ,Shinjyuku.

Recently, due to the influence of work style reform, the keyword "side business" has become more prominent.
Furthermore, this Covid-19 situation seems to be spurring it.

There are many things to check when Japanese people do side jobs, but foreigners are even more so.
Here, I will write points to pay attention.

1、 First, the company must allow your side business.

In the first place, the company of main business may prohibit your side businesses.

According to an article in 2019, only 25% of companies allow side jobs.
Even in 2021, the number of companies that allow side businesses is not expected to increase that much.

If the company has employment regulations, check if there are provisions for side businesses, and if there are no rules, you cannot do side businesses.
The model employment regulations made by the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare state that "do not engage in the work of other companies without permission", so company permission is needed normally.

If your main business is not based on an employment contract but a business consignment contract, there is no such thing as employment regulations and you can freely do side business.
Of course, in this case, by definition, it should be called "double work" rather than a side  businesses.

It cannot be determined by the name of the contract whether it is employment contract or a business consignment one.
In fact, although it is written as an employment contract, there are many cases where it is actually a business consignment contract.
If you do not press a time card, do not have a company pension, do not have paid leave, or file a tax return every year by yourself, it is highly likely that you have a business consignment contract.

2、Is the side business in the same resident status as you currently have?

The next thing to consider is "whether the work you are trying to do as a side business is in the resident status you currently have."
If they are the same, there is no problem if you start a side  businesses without thinking about anything.

If not, you cannot start a side  businesses as it is.
At this time, you should obtain an individual permit for activities outside the status of qualification.

The resident status is basically determined by "what kind of business you do".

For example, SE or programmers fall under the category of "Engineer/Specialist in Humanities/International Services", there is no problem wherever they do their job.
Therefore, if one does a job in company-A as a programmer, there is no problem even if one does a job in company-B for a system maintenance.

However, the resident status may change depending on the location even for the same job.

A typical example is a teacher.
Teacher is in "Engineer/Specialist in Humanities/International Services" when teaching at a private company, "Education" when teaching at a school, and "Professor" when teaching at an university.
For example, if you have a resident status of "Engineer/Specialist in Humanities/International Services" and you want to be a part-time lecturer at an university, the job is the "Professor", so you need a permit for activities outside the status.

The classification of resident status is very complicated and difficult to understand, so it is better to ask an expert who is familiar with immigration law whether or not the side business is in your resident status.

By the way, the four resident statuses (permanent resident, spouse of Japanese, spouse of permanent resident, long term),  have no activity restrictions, so you can do any side business.

3、What is an individual permission for activities outside the status of qualification?


Next, if your resident status does not include a side  businesses, you will need to obtain an individual permit for activities outside your status.

When you think of this permission, you might think of an international student working part-time for 28 hours a week, but that is called a comprehensive permit, which is completely different from an individual one.
I explained it once on our homepage.
( https://visa4you.tokyo/ENG/index.php/faq/item/61-uber-1 )

At the time of individual permission, it is necessary to meet all the general principles of permit for activities outside the status of qualification.

In this, as the 3rd item of the general principles,

"The activity related to the application corresponds to the activity listed in the column below the status of residence in Appendix Table 1 (1) or (2) of the Immigration Law."

Simply saying, you can't get a permission for non-qualified activities outside of professional jobs.
So, so-called blue-collar, non-professional (simple work) jobs are not possible.

Therefore, for example, even if the company allows a side businesses, foreigners cannot be a deliveryman of Uber Eats, whose job is only delivery.
You can't do the job of "anyone can do it" as seen normally in a part-time job magazine.

4、Volunteers have no problem.

Volunteer activities that do not receive any remuneration are not regulated by permission for activities outside the status of qualification.

However, even in this case, if you are doing almost volunteer activities without main business, it may affect the extension application of the resident status of your main business.

5、Temporary remuneration is okay.

Even if you receive a remuneration, if it is "a remuneration for a lecture that is not done as a business, an extraordinary remuneration for daily life, or anything specified by the Ordinance of the Ministry of Justice", you will not be subject to restrictions on permission for activities outside the status of qualification.

This is described in detail in Article 19-3 of the Immigration Control Act Enforcement Regulations.

Article 19-3 Remuneration for lectures, extraordinary remuneration for daily life, and other remuneration that are not performed as a business prescribed in Article 19, Paragraph 1, Item 1 of the Act shall be as set forth in the following items. To do.

1 Rewards, prizes and other rewards for the following activities that are not performed as a business
   A. Lectures, discussions and other similar activities
   B. Advice, appraisal and other similar activities
   C. Production of novels, treatises, paintings, photographs, programs and other works
   D. Participation in events, appearances in movies or broadcast programs, and other similar activities
2 Rewards and other remuneration for engaging in daily household chores (excluding those engaged in business) at the request of relatives, friends or acquaintances
3 Those who are resident with a status of residence of study abroad and who are educated at a university or college of technology (limited to the 4th, 5th, and advanced courses) are based on the contract with the university or college of technology. Rewards for activities that support education or research

For example, it's okay to be invited to a lecture hosted by a friend only once and receive a reward of 30,000 yen.

Of course, even in this case, if you do it over and over again, it will be included in the "business", so it must be a temporary remuneration that you do not repeat.


a)Check with the company

In the first place, let's check with the company whether you can do a side businesse or not.

b)Check whether you need permission for activities outside the status of qualification or not

Make sure that the resident status you currently have is the same as one of your side business.

c)Be careful not to overwork

In particular, if you have a side business with permission for activities outside your qualifications, it is not good if you spend more time on the side business than on your main job.

Since you can only carry out activities outside your resident status to the extent as long as you do not interfere with the activities of main job, you will be penalized if you do too much side business, and in the worst case you will be deported from Japan.

d)Let's file a tax return

If you are required to file a tax return, you must do it.
Check the tax office homepage.

https://www.nta.go.jp/taxes/shiraberu/shinkoku/tebiki2017/a/01/1_06.htm(Japanese only)

Basically, if the income of the side business exceeds 200,000 yen, you will be obliged to file a tax return.

Even if a Japanese person works as a side business, there are many things to check, but if you are a foreigner, you must understand there is the more complicated system of resident status.

If you are thinking of doing a side business, please feel free to contact us. Click here for inquiries .

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