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How to Hire a Helper in Japan

How to Hire a Helper www.bestlivingjapan.comOne of the most common conversations amongst busy moms and working parents is how to hire a helper. There is a lot to consider but here some info to help you out. The three most common options are; 1. hire a local service company to provide help, 2. sponsor a foreign helper, or 3. use somebody’s sponsored nanny on the side (although this is not legal).  There are obvious pros and cons to both. Which you decide is your decision and responsibility. However, to begin you should ask yourself the following.

Questions you need to ask yourself before hiring a helper.

1. What is your budget?
2. Do you need full-time?
3. Do you need just childcare or cleaning, or do you want a helper who can do it all?
4.  Do you or your spouse have the Visa status to sponsor a foreign helper?

1. Hiring a Japanese service company to provide a babysitter or house cleaner will cost between 1,800-4,000 yen an hour. Very few companies offer helpers who can clean, cook and provide childcare, typically you chose one service. The price will go up if you have more than two children, and if deep spot cleaning is necessary.

2. Sponsoring a helper who lives outside your home will cost 200,000 yen per month minimum (this is now the law; assuming 25 working days per month at 9 hours a day this is a little less than 1,000 yen per hour), plus transportation to and from work, one flight home a year and 2-4 weeks paid vacation time. Many families also pay 2-4 weeks holiday bonus. Live in helpers can run 170,000-200,000 yen, and also get round trip flight and vacation time. Legal you are also responsible for giving national holidays as vacation.

3. Using someone else’s helper typically costs 1,500 yen per hour. However, as stated above this is illegal.

How to hire a helper in Japan

Details on all three of these options on how to hire a great helper are below.

How to Hire a Helper www.bestlivingjapan.comI. Hiring a Japanese Service Companies – All of the companies below provide childcare services, and many provide cleaning and handyman services. I have not used, but my friends and colleagues have used and recommend.

1. Alpha Corporation is a nationwide company that provides child-care centers and home babysitting services.  http://www.alpha-co.com/index_en.html

2. BabySitters offers multi-lingual international sitters full-time and part-time. Also available to babysit at hotels and work at birthday parities.   http://babysitters.jp/

3. Chez Vous provides cleaning, childcare and handyman services http://www.chezvous.co.jp/english/

4. Honey Clover dispatches Japanese and international sitters to your home for regular sitting of kids 1-12 years, or in case or sickness or emergency. Service is available across Tokyo, Saitama, Kanagawa, and Chiba. http://www.honeyclover.co.jp/

5. Poppins’ BabySitter Nanny Service offers in home Japanese and English speaking nanny services and daycare on sites across Tokyo. http://www.poppins.co.jp/english/index.html

How to Hire a Helper www.bestlivingjapan.comII. Sponsoring a helper  – Do you have a helper you want to bring to Japan or do you want to employee your departing friends helper? Unfortunately sponsoring a helper in Japan is not based on need and ability to afford it, but rather on the status. This may change in the future as more woman will need to work but for now if you want to sponsor a full-time domestic helper you typically have to meet the following criteria. Note: it is easier and faster to sponsor a helper who is already in Japan legally and is only changing sponsors. It takes more time and more paperwork to bring a new helper into the country.

Criteria for Sponsorship and How to Hire a Helper

1) Be a foreign national. Japanese are unable to sponsor foreign domestic workers.

2) Be an individual, not a company.

3) Have the correct visa type: official (diplomat), business manager/investor or legal/accounting services.  When you apply for your helpers sponsorship at immigration, you will need to show that your position is very important CEO or Director level or above.

4) Have children less than 13 years of age.

If you have, determine you meet all the criteria above you will need to complete the materials and steps below to get your helper sponsored.  Approval process can take a few months so make sure your helper’s visa is in good standing. If approved your helper will receive a notice at  her address to come to immigration to get the visa. 

1) Application form –  If your helper is new to Japan you need to download and complete the Certificate of Eligibility Application Form, and if she/he is an existing helper she/he must complete the Application for Extension of Period of Stay

2) SUPPORTING DOCUMENTS must also be submitted with the application form.  These documents include the following:

– Cover letter from the employer explaining why they need the foreign domestic helper; ex: both parents work, many kids under 5, someone is very sick, etc.

– Copy of the Employment Contract which should state what the domestic helper will do, the length of the contract (typically one year) and the salary per year. If you are hiring the helper from another family in Japan, you must include a Letter of Release from the previous family and include the Tax Certificate the helper filed in the previous year.

Certificate of Graduation from a junior college or college to show that the employee speaks the employer’s language and is educated.

– Passport copy of the Employer  with pages showing visa stamps (manager/investor or a diplomat visa)

– Employment Certificate of the Employer which states the employer is responsible for the employee should anything happen to the employee

– An organization chart of the Employer’s company that shows the employer is number one or in the top tier of Japan management.

– Return addressed envelope

– Japanese translations of the above.

III. Using someone else’s helper – This is an easy and flexible solution for to hire a great helper for part-time work, but officially it is not legal.

Many bulletin boards at supermarkets such as National Azabu (Hiroo) and Nissin (Azabu) have helpers available for hire signs. Also if you leave a note on Facebook groups such as Tokyo Mothers Group, Tokyo International Parents & Pals or Tokyo Expat Network asking for introductions to candidates, you will get some good leads.  Some helpers need sponsorship and others are just looking for side jobs. Either way check references in detail and meet the person in a public place for your interview.

Hope you found this post helpful! How to hire a helper.


Criteria for Sponsorship and How to Hire a Helper in Japan


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  1. Do you have any idea how strict they are on the rule about having a child under the age of 13? Will they no longer renew a sponsorship that has been ongoing for several years once the youngest child reaches that age? Even if both parents work?

    • We had a helper from the time our children were 3, 5 and 8 until they were 20, 22 and 24. Never had any trouble renewing her visa and I was no longer working. The only reason we ended our relationship is because after all those years she started stealing from us and lying. We obviously chose to stop sponsoring her!

      • Very helpful to hear, thanks for your reply! Sorry to hear it ended badly!

        • Hi Laurie, If you are renewing an existing helper it should not be an issue, but if you are employing a new helper it might be a bit more difficult. Since both of you work they will give you more room to pass. It really is case by case.

      • Hello Ms Susan, I need some help on how to sponsor a helper which is already here in Japan with a temporary visa that will end on April 16. I’m here with a SOFA status . What documents do I need to submit to the immigration ? What form do I need fill out ? What are the chances of getting an approval for sponsoring a domestic helper?

        Thanks you so much


        • Hello Bebe, You or your spouse needs to have a diplomate visa or business investment manager visa to usually sponsor domestic helper. If you have that visa type the forms to sponsor can be downloaded from the links on this article and submit to immigration. Lauren

        • Hello ma’am good day I’m looking a sponsor here in Japan I’m Stella 31 years old if you need a helper I’m willing to work as a housekeeper please contact my email stellalapez&yahoo.com

  2. Thanks for finally talking about >How to hire a
    helper <Loved it!

  3. What happen to the existing helper if we leave Japan unexpectedly? Is her visa will be end automatically as soon as we leave Japan? Or do we have to report to the immigration that we are not going to be her sponsor anymore?

  4. Do you have any idea what happen to our existing helper if we leave Japan? Will he visa be end as soon as we leave or do we have to report that we are not going to be her sponsor anymore to Japanese immigration?

    • Hello Kris, You should consult with a immigration lawyer to be 100% sure but I have heard the helper may stay in Japan until just before their Visa date runs out. But please check with a lawyer. Lauren

  5. Can someone comment on the process of ending a sponsorship if the employee is not fulfilling duties or lying? Can you then sponsor someone else?

    • Hello Heather, I think you should consult with an immigration lawyer before you fire her/him. If you have a very clear contract and can prove the helper is not fulfilling duties or lying you probably have a good case for termination. You can only sponsor one person at a time, so you will need to tell immigration you want to revoke the person’s sponsorship. Sounds messy but doable. Start with a lawyer.

  6. My husband is japanese, we have 2 kids w/c is 8 and 6.. As of now, my sister is from Philippines is living with us for 6mos, her visa will end by february. By next year my daughter will be in grade 1 so it’s not that hard for me to do chores.

    I just want to ask if there’s any interested on looking for a helper? My sister has a 2 years experienced as helper in Singapore, she did’nt renew her contract because i want her to be with us.

    For interested please do reply and message me.
    Here’s my email address: kaye_gene1011@i.softbank.jp

    Thank you

  7. You can read this article and review the links to determine what paper work is needed. I think it is clearly stated in this article. thanks Lauren

  8. Hi, just curious if sponsoring is possible if both parents are non-Japanese but both have permanent residence.

    • Hi Adam, I am not a legal expert in this area. I am sure there are some special case needs which would be approved. However, the norm is one of the parents has to have a Business Investment Visa or Diplomatic Visa.

    • Hi Adam and lauren,
      My husband and me are non-japanese. He has a permanent residence visa and me, a spouse visa.
      My husband is owner of his restaurant and I work with me.
      Adam, in your situation, did you get it ? Did they approved with permanent residence visa for you?
      thank you in advance

  9. Hi, We just hired in a helper who lives separately from us. She has been told that the address that she needs to have on her residence card is our address, does anyone know if that is correct? If anyone knows the answer here it would be much appreciated as that would mean even her bills would be sent to me which seems a little unusual…

    • That is not correct. Your domestic helper can live separately and deal with all her own living expenses directly.

      • Thank you Lauren. So just to confirm your helper does not have your address on their residence card?Again thank you for your help here.

        • William, If your helper (who you sponsor) does not live with you, she should have her actual address on here alien registration. Domestic Helper visa holders can live in their own apartment and should register with the kuyakusho. Lauren

        • William, If your helper (who you sponsor) does not live with you, she should have her actual address on here alien registration. Domestic Helper visa holders can live in their own apartment and should register with the kuyakusho (townhall). Lauren

  10. Can active duty Military (SOFA status) sponsor a nanny/helper? japanvisa.com indicated certain military members can sponsor, but I have not found any other information on how to go about this process. Any advice is much appreciated. Thank you..

    • Hello Lex, I have not been to find any information on an Active SOFa member sponsoring. Please let us know if you do. Lauren

  11. Hello, my husband is a Japanese and I am currently holding a spouse visa. I work for a foreign asset management company as in-house lawyer, wonder if I qualify to sponsor a domestic helper? Do I need to change my visa type first? Thanks!

    • Hi Emi, You can not sponsor with a spouse visa. If you can change your visa to a Business Investor/Manager you can sponsor. You will need to have your new visa (usually a few weeks if you have the paperwork) to sponsor. Lauren

  12. Hello good pm, I just want to ask what if the both parents are working and they have a child which is 4years old. The father is Japanese while the mother is foreigner. They want that the sister of the mother will be the one who will be the nanny of their child. They will be allowed to sponsor a helper visa? Thank you and God Bless!

    • If the foreign mother is working full time and also holds a diplomatic or business inventor visa she may sponsor any domestic helper. I think the best way to have your sister help is to get a three month visitors visa and try to extend.

      • But her sister is here already in Japan with student visa status. And their class end already this week but her visa will expire on June 30, 2018.

        • I don’t think it matters what her present visa is. Anyone who want to sponsor has to have a specific visa today.

  13. Hello, just wondering on the Total expenses for hiring a helper…. like health insurance and all other things which a employers need to pay to helpers.

    • Japanese rule is a monthly salary of 200,000 JPY. Travel pay, transport cost, health insurance etc is worked out in the 1:1 contract. However, most people assume 200,000 – 250,000 per month.

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