Students coming to GenkiJACS from Ireland are now eligible to apply for a Working Holiday visa, as of January 2007! Previously, the Working Holiday visa was only available for people from Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Korea, France, Germany, and the United Kingdom. Ireland is the first new country to be added to the list since the UK joined in 2001.
For those of you who don’t know, the Working Holiday visa is a one-year visa designed to give young people the chance to experience life in Japan. It gives them the right to work almost any job, as long as the job itself is not seen as the main purpose of their stay. So, for people from these countries, a Working Holiday visa would allow you to work while studying at GenkiJACS, which certainly helps to reduce the burden of fees somewhat.
The visa is only open to people up to 30 years old, and you have to be able to show proof of minimum funds – usually about $2000 USD – as well as the money to buy a plane ticket back to your home country.
There’s a good summary of the visa program on the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs website. While it’s definitely more work than receiving an automatic 3-month visa waiver, the Working Holiday visa has the advantage of giving you more economic freedom during your stay in Japan, so we would definitely recommend it for students from eligible countries. If you need more information, ask the Japanese Embassy in your country!