February 11, 2020 at 4:28 pm #6287
I want to move to Japan in the future and like most people, disability or not, a large challenge I face is getting a Visa. I was originally going to come over on a working holiday visa but post injury I will be over the cut off age for this visa.
I was considering applying for JET in the future but wasn’t sure how they would react or perhaps they would unofficially discriminate. My field of expertise is in IT but I have yet to research employers that desire foreigners with IT backgrounds. I find it hard to understand why a Japanese company (traditional in nature) would sign off on Visa paperwork for a foreigner with a disability.
Can anyone shed some light on getting their first visa or doing the JET program with a disability.
February 12, 2020 at 4:45 am #6288
I’m similarly looking to move to Japan, and getting a visa hasn’t been easy. Just a little about me, I use a motorized wheelchair for mobility and can’t walk/transfer myself.
First, I have applied to JET on multiple occasions. They will never tell you the reason why they denied anyone, so I do not officially know why I haven’t been accepted. However, I’m certain it wasn’t my application paperwork because I did make it to the interview portion prior to being denied (I also felt the interview went very well). After the interview your paperwork is send to Tokyo for review and placement, where you can be denied if you simply can’t be placed somewhere. I also have a Bachelor degree in Education, so I don’t believe my education was a negative deciding factor. Before signing up the first time, I was able to get in contact with a JET coordinator and was informed that JET has hired people with disabilities (this person particularly knew of two who used wheelchairs), and they aren’t supposed to discriminate. During my research of JET and education facilities in Japan, I also discovered that many schools have multiple floors and no elevators, making it much more difficult to place someone like me in a school. For those who don’t know, unlike American schools where students change classes during different periods, teachers in Japan go to student classrooms (meaning a teacher must be able to access each classroom). I have been told by other employers this as well, in fact I was told I would of been a top pick for one position except that half the job is upstairs, so I they reluctantly denied me.
I’m not telling you this to discourage you from signing up with JET, I still think it’s a great program with many benefits, just to inform you that it’s an uphill battle and not to count on it as your sole means to work in Japan. This is also just my perspective from the attempts I’ve made, you may have many other factors that can work for you.
You being in the IT field could be advantageous in finding work in Japan, I’ve seen job postings looking for various IT jobs in Japan, but I do not know what factor your disability may play in such jobs.
Other than that, I can’t say much. I hope to be working and living in Japan soon, even looking into studying abroad in Japan as a sort of foot-in-the-door to employment, but that’s a work in progress. Hopefully some others in the forums can share their experiences.
Anyway, I hope this information helps,
February 12, 2020 at 12:58 pm #6289
On the contrary this is just the type of post I was looking for. Someone who has actual experience with the application process of JET and has some background/desire to join it. I use a manual propelled wheelchair but use a sideboard for transfers.
Prior to my disability I actually had the opportunity to attend a Japanese high school for two weeks so I know what you mean when you talk about the layout of the school and how teachers change class rooms and not the students.
I minored in Japanese at university (although my skill is now rather faded) and was considering even doing a Diploma of Education or a TESOL certification. While we will never know for sure it does sound like they just placed you in the “too hard” basket and opted for another applicant which would require less paperwork and individual attention.
Chris Broad which runs the ABroadinJapan Youtube channel and a popular Japan based podcast has talked about his JET application in a few podcast episodes before. Other than taking a short ESL course and minoring in linguistics he has talked how he didn’t really meet any of the criteria of the JET program. He discusses it a bit here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5VDnj8IEWNc
This is what leads me to think that other than your disability it sounds like you were a great candidate (from their perspective).
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