1. VISA INFORMATION
- How do I know if I am eligible to work in Japan?
Eligibility requirements vary by country of origin and visa type. Please follow the link to Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs official website for more information.
- Does Gaba sponsor visas?
Yes, visa sponsorship is available for qualified applicants. Gaba can offer the Engineer/Specialist in Humanities/International Services Visa. Do be aware, however, that the visa sponsorship process can take as long as three months, during which time the applicant is ineligible to teach. See “What is an Engineer/ Specialist in Humanities / International Services Visa?” below for more details.
- What is an Engineer/ Specialist in Humanities / International Services Visa?
The Specialist in Humanities visa is commonly held by language teachers working with private enterprises. It is different from the Instructor visa which is issued to teachers working at public institutions such as junior and senior high schools. Applicants need a Bachelor’s degree or higher from an accredited university where instruction was in English (the degree can be in any discipline). Alternatively, three years of full-time, verifiable English as a Second Language teaching experience is acceptable. This visa is valid for 1 to 3 years initially, and is renewable. Applicants outside Japan should apply to Gaba 3 to 5 months before their intended arrival date.
- I have an Instructor visa. Am I eligible to teach with Gaba?
Both the Instructor and Professor visas require a Gaba sponsored work permit if the holder is to teach with Gaba. The limit imposed is 28 hours of teaching per week. Furthermore, both visa and work permit are only valid if the holder is actively teaching with the original sponsor of the visa. Gaba requires proof of a valid contract with the visa sponsor as well as a letter of permission stating the sponsor’s consent to teach with Gaba. The work permit application process usually takes 2 to 6 weeks. Successful applicants can only begin teaching upon obtaining the work permit. If the applicant no longer works for their visa sponsor, they are ineligible to teach with Gaba. Such applicants would need to request visa sponsorship.
- What is a work permit? Isn’t that the same as my visa?
Certain visas require a second, associated document before the holder can legally be allowed to teach at Gaba. This work permit is issued separately from the visa and may require Gaba’s endorsement when applying to the Immigration Bureau. Work permits often have set restrictions on the number of hours per week that the holder can work. For example, holders of Dependent visas require a work permit which allows a maximum of 28 hours of work a week. Please see visit the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for more information on work permits.
- I have an Working Holiday Visa. Am I eligible to teach with Gaba?
Gaba does not accept applications from those wishing to teach under a Working Holiday Visa. Applicants who possess this kind of visa would need to request visa sponsorship from Gaba.
2. APPLYING TO GABA
- I am in my final year of university and would like to experience life in Japan after graduation. When is the best time to apply?
If you require visa sponsorship, we ask that you apply in the month of graduation. While you may be eager to apply further in advance in hopes getting to Japan sooner, you must be able to produce your actual degree as part of the visa application process. Japan’s Immigration Bureau requires physical proof in the form of the degree itself. In our experience, applying any earlier than your month of graduation would not expedite your arrival because you would not yet have possession of your degree when needed.
- I am in Japan on vacation but will be leaving soon. I am not seeking work immediately but would like to apply for the future. What should I do?
If you will be visiting Japan or are already here on vacation and are planning to return home while your visa is being processed, please feel free to apply. If you meet the criteria we may invite you to an interview.
- What are the requirements to become a Gaba Instructor?
You must speak, read and write English fluently. While you do not need to be a native speaker, a confident command of the language is essential as lessons are taught entirely in English. Furthermore, you must be eligible to work in Japan (see third question below) and be proficient with a computer. Parts of every lesson involve using computers which run Gaba’s proprietary lesson management systems.
- Do I need a university degree to teach at Gaba?
You do not need a degree to teach at Gaba if you possess a valid working visa. If you do not have a valid working visa, be aware that some visa types (including that which Gaba can offer) require a completed Bachelor’s degree as one of the eligibility requirements. In general, due to the competitive nature of the application process, university graduates have an advantage.
- I don’t have any teaching experience. Am I eligible to work at Gaba?
Prior teaching experience is not a requirement to apply. Naturally, those with relevant experience will have a competitive advantage.
- How long is a Gaba contract?
We offer a 6 month extendable contract. Please note that in actual fact for new Instructors our contract length is six full calendar months plus the number of days remaining in the month in which it was signed.
- Can I just come to Gaba and work for a month?
We only offer contracts to teach with Gaba to those applicants who are able to teach with us for the full 6 month duration of a contract.
- What should I do to prepare for an interview with Gaba?
You should follow the standard protocol you would when going for any other type of interview. Dress and act professionally and be prepared to answer questions about your education, experience, and motivation.
- I applied recently but I have not been contacted yet. Why?
After you have completed the application process as outlined on the website, you will receive some form of confirmation. Generally, applicants are notified by email, but we often contact qualified applicants directly by telephone. If you have been without a response for over 10 business days, please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.
3. LIVING IN JAPAN
- Does Gaba provide housing?
We do not provide housing but we can provide information to help you find a suitable place to live. For more details, look to the Accommodations page of this website. Many of the accommodation providers listed there can offer a discount of some kind for Gaba Instructors.
- How do I get my Residence Card?
For those coming to Japan with a visa sponsored by Gaba, you will be issued your Residence Card at the airport upon arrival. If you apply for your visa or change your status from within Japan, you will need to visit your local Immigration Bureau office for issuance of your Residence Card.
- How much money should I bring to Japan?
The Japanese Government recommends that people arriving in Japan bring a minimum of 350,000 yen. This amount should be in addition to any moving costs (fees associated with rental agreements, etc.) and airfare. Please also keep in mind that if you arrive in the middle of the month, you will not receive a full paycheck on the 25th of the following month, and in that case, you should bring enough to cover 3 months (i.e. If you arrive mid-January, you would be paid for the lessons that you taught in January on February 25th, and you would receive your first full month’s paycheck on March 25th).
- Do I have to enroll in Japanese government health insurance?
Residents of Japan are required by law to enroll in government-sponsored health insurance. The only exceptions are foreign residents with SOFA* status. Although not a strict requirement to apply as an instructor, all instructors are encouraged to enroll. As a proactive measure, proof of enrollment in government-sponsored health insurance is requested from all instructors seeking Gaba as their visa sponsor. NOTE: for those enrolled through a spouse or partner, it is important to be aware of possible income limits. Exceeding the limit may result in increased premiums.
*”Status of Forces Agreement” rules covering persons affiliated with the US Military
- Is it necessary to have a Japanese bank account?
Yes, it is necessary to have a Japanese bank account in your name. Japan Post accounts are acceptable if configured to accept electronic transfers from other banks.
- How do I open a Japanese bank account?
You will need to have your Japanese Residence Card (在留カード) updated with your Japanese address in order to open a bank account. This will usually be issued at the port of entry by Immigration Staff for those entering Japan on a non-tourist visa.
- Does Gaba do my taxes?
We do not do your taxes but we do provide the tax statement document needed to complete them yourself. If you are a former instructor and need your tax statement, please contact Gaba Instructor Administration at email@example.com.
4. TEACHING AT GABA
- Who will I be teaching?
Instructors must be prepared to teach any of Gaba’s clients. Purpose of study varies greatly among them, but can be summarized into three categories: study for business purposes, for preparatory purposes (in advance of English certification or university entrance examinations), or for hobby / travel purposes. The proportion of each category of clients at any given Learning Studio depends primarily on the studio’s location. For example, the Tokyo and Shinagawa studios primarily have business clients whereas studios in more residential areas are likely to have more diverse clientele, including hobbyists, homemakers, and students.
- Do I have to teach children?
No. At present, children represent a small proportion of all clients and the Gaba Kids program is only offered at select Learning Studios. While willingness to teach children will be considered favorably and prior experience is advantageous, it is not a strict requirement. All Instructors however should be ready to teach clients of Junior High School age or above (12+), as these clients can take regular lessons at Gaba (special curriculum is available for young learners in this age group).
- What sort of training is available?
Gaba offers a comprehensive certification program for all instructors. It begins with three-day Initial Certification and is reinforced over the first contract period with Follow-up Certification. Additionally, optional Developmental Certification is available to all at any time. Further Specialized Certification is also available for more experienced Instructors.
- Will I be able to fill up the majority of my schedule as a new instructor?
New instructors can expect to teach around 60% of the lessons they make available in their first full month with Gaba. Clients choose their instructor, so new instructors must allow time to build up a set of regulars. Statistics also suggest that it takes about four months to fully settle in as a Gaba instructor. Come month five, new instructors are often indistinguishable from veterans in terms of key performance indicators. Once you have settled in, you can expect around 80% of your available lessons to be booked by our clients. It is advisable to have a pattern to your availability as teaching at the same times regularly allows clients who have enjoyed your lessons previously to book you again. Also, teaching peak times (evenings and weekends) helps you to keep your schedule full.
- How and when do I get paid?
Payment is made for all services rendered in a given month on the 25th of the following month. For example, all lessons taught in the month of May are paid for on June 25th. The method is direct bank transfer to the instructor’s preferred Japanese account (Note: Gaba cannot remit payment to foreign accounts). Should the 25th fall on a bank holiday, payment is made the previous business day.
- When is the best time to teach lessons at Gaba?
Most clients work during the day. Therefore, they tend to take weekday lessons early in the morning or after 5pm in the evening. Weekends are always busy. Holidays, too, are a popular time.
- I want to work from 9am to 5pm Monday through Friday. Is this possible?
While it is not impossible, it would be extremely difficult to teach a consistent schedule at these times, particularly for a new instructor. The vast majority of our clients are working professionals who are simply unavailable to take lessons during the typical work hours of 9am to 5pm.
- Can I choose which Learning Studio I teach from?
Yes, provided you state your preference clearly at the time of application. Instructors are placed as needed with careful consideration to lesson supply and demand. Therefore, if there is only one location where you would like to teach, then it may be necessary to wait until a position comes available. Furthermore, the application process would be all the more competitive.
- If I move to another area, can I teach at a studio that is closer to me?
Yes, this is possible. You should speak to the Instructor Support Leader of your current studio to make arrangements. Changes to your “home LS” are considered based on lesson availability at the requested studio and any other pending requests. The earlier you give notice, the more quickly your request can be accommodated.
- Does Gaba pay for transportation?
We do not pay for transportation. In consideration for this expense, an instructor’s “home LS” is always within reasonable commuting distance of his / her home station.
- Does Gaba have a dress code for its instructors?
Yes, all instructors are required to wear a dark business suit whenever on Gaba premises.