My contract with the university I was working at wasn’t extended last month, but there’s no chance in hell I’m going home. I’m getting married next month, and my future wife is a student here until March so that’s just not an option. My Visa problems aside, I planning on using this and the next few months to perform a major career change operation, so I need to receive unemployment benefits in the meantime.
If you find yourself in a similar situation and you’re not planning on going home (because if you were, you’d be able to claim a lump sum refund of your unemployment insurance premiums), then I suggest you head straight down to your local branch of “Hello Work” and let them know your situation.
1. Be unemployed. If they find you working a part time job on the side, you’ll be made to pay back 3 times what you claimed.
2. Make sure you get a little slip of paper from your employer, as well as an official notice of severance. Mine was mailed to me a few days after I finished. Sorry I don’t have an example to show you now, but it’s an official document that states the reason you have lost your job and just confirms you’ve been paying your unemployment insurance. If you don’t receive yours after a week or so, the staff at Hello Work will be happy to hassle your employer as it’s their legal duty to produce one.
3. Don’t quit. If you quit your job of your own free will, you cannot claim benefits until 3 months after.
4. You must have been working and paying unemployment insurance for at least a year. If you’re employed unofficially and paid in cash, as I have been before, chances are your employer is avoiding the legal requirement to pay your insurance.
5. Make sure you understand Japanese. There are English speaking staff available in major cities, but everything else is in Japanese.
“Going on the dole”:
You need to go to the local hello work (ハローワーク) and tell them you’ve been made unemployed, as soon as possible. You’ll have a short interview when they’ll explain what unemployment insurance is, and you’ll need to fill out a form with some basic details about skills and previous employment. This is not a full resume, that comes later.
If you’re quick enough and you didn’t quit your last job, you will be able to receive your allowance by the end of the month. For my situation, I will be receiving about 180,000. It’s nowhere near what I was earning, but it is certainly enough to live off.
They will also tell you the next date to come to an explanation meeting. It’s quite a boring affair and all in Japanese, and it really doesn’t explain anything too important but you have to go. They will give you another form and the date of your next interview. On the form, you will write at least 2 things that you did to help your search for work before the next meeting. Today’s meeting, by the way, counts as one, so make sure you write it down. Another example might be signing up with an outsourcing company, or simply coming to “hello work” again to look for work and write your Japanese resume.
My next meeting is scheduled for October 1st, during which I present the paper which says I’ve done at least 2 things to look for work, and they will approve my next allowance and set another meeting.
I’ll keep you updated, and please feel free to ask questions if you’re unsure if you are able to claim benefits, as I’ve been researching this quite a bit now.