I am writing this question for a friend of mine.

He had sent a job application to a Japanese company. They were in contactfor several months, asking for tests, Skype interviews and written assignments. At some point, three to four months later they even asked him to take the N4 Japanese language exam (they created a customized test and my friend passed it).

Finally about a month ago, they extended what they said was "an unofficial job offer", claiming that they would begin preparations with the Visa process and give him the official start date when the Visa is approved.

They subsequently asked him if he was available to do some tasks for them while the Visa process continued. They then asked him to do tasks not quite related to his job field (my friend is a game developer, they asked him to do some art models or something).

I am afraid they might be pushing him to quit, or decline the offer. My friend has already started selling his stuff to gather money for his trip and immigration to Japan. If they do not actually hire him, it would be destructive for him.

How could he defend against something like that happening. I am worried because of the wording they used for the job offer. Could it not have been an official job offer, with an open starting date?


  • As for documents, he has a pdf stating the position and salary signed by the company (not sure if the "unofficial" part is stated in the pdf or just the email).
  • He filled in the visa application himself, and both emailed it and mailed it to the company. The next steps, according to Japan's immigration office, need to be taken by the company itself. The whole process takes from 1 to 3 months.
  • closed as unclear what you're asking by Vietnhi Phuvan, Ed Heal, gnat, David K, Chris E Dec 2 '16 at 14:57

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    • 2
      Has your friend asked for your opinion? If not I'd be tempted to keep my doubts to myself - If you say something and then the company goes back on their job offer your friend might decide to shoot the messenger – Trebor Dec 2 '16 at 11:11
    • No, and I do not intend to give him my opinion. He was very excited to get this job offer, and rejected other job offers in the process. I would not like to crash his hopes, but one should prepare for the worst case. – parakmiakos Dec 2 '16 at 11:15
    • 3
      Voting to close because the only thing that's clear about your question is that your question is unclear. You are speculating on the basis of vague knowledge and inviting us to participate in your speculation by asking us a speculative question. Forget it. – Vietnhi Phuvan Dec 2 '16 at 11:15
    • @VietnhiPhuvan I agree that the question is speculative, but the situation is real. What would you like me to add to the question to make it more concrete. – parakmiakos Dec 2 '16 at 11:20
    • 3
      Your post is problematic on number of levels: 1. "I am afraid they might be pushing him to quit, or decline the offer." That's speculation without evidence. Can't prove or disprove. 2. "I am worried because of the wording they used for the job offer." What do you mean by "wording"? You say you are worried about the "wording" and we have no idea what is it about the "wording" that you are concerned about. Are we supposed to read your mind and know? 3. "Could it not have been an official job offer, with an open starting date?" You are openly calling for speculation here. That's unacceptable. – Vietnhi Phuvan Dec 2 '16 at 12:03

    Right now, he does not have any defense. He has not signed anything, and the company explicitly said the job offer is unofficial.

    Here are some things he can do :

    • Ask for a clear statement from the company, or a tentaive contract. Basically, this would be a normal contract, including a clause about the VISA issues, which would state he is employed under the condition of getting the VISA, and will start [X days] after the VISA is issued. In the specific case where the VISA cannot be delivered, the contract will be canceled.

    • Ask where the VISA process is standing, in order to know how long the company will have him waiting. Cross this information with publicly-available information on VISA timings to know whether the company's answer is legit.

    • If he has been producing stuff for them for some time, he might want to ask for a compensation, as he already started working for them. This would be an official recognition of his role.

    • For the money part, he also should investigate whether the company can expense some of his costs, travel for instance.

    • If the Visa application is denied, the company cannot possibly hire your friend because it would be outright illegal. Foreign hiring is always 100% dependent on the Visa, so there is no way the company is even capable of committing to anything, even if they want to. If the company wants work done, they should be able to negotiate short-term temporary contracts for the work they need. There is no reason to tie the two together. – Nelson Dec 5 '16 at 8:06
    • Do NOT take on all the relocation expenses yourself. This can end very bad for your friend. A properly functioning company is suppose to be able to offset all or almost all the relocation expenses. A company that cannot do this cannot keep you employed. Do not work for them. – Nelson Dec 5 '16 at 8:08

    There's no defense, in a practical sense. There's been no written offer; and if there was one and the company reneged, your friend would have to go to Japan or hire an attorney there for any legal recourse - which is out of reach for most people.

    At this point if he's doing work for them, and there's no employer-employee relationship, then he needs to invoice for any further work and get paid as a contractor until the visa situation works out. Otherwise, he's letting them know he'll do work for nothing in return, and will probably never see a cent while they string him along until he tires of it. In short, there's some likelihood that he's being scammed.

    • It may not be possible or practical to invoice the company as the candidate is not in Japan. The company's practices are questionable for sure, but it's a bit far to go to extract free work from someone. It could be that they are just not familiar with hiring someone from outside the country. Not everything needs to be interpreted as evil corporations attempting to screw everyone over. – Eric Dec 3 '16 at 1:50
    • @Eric whaaaaaaaaat? It's almost 2017. Invoicing can be done thru Paypal or other electronic means. – Xavier J Dec 3 '16 at 1:52
    • And if you don't think people will go far, ask any East Indian person (living there) who's ever done work on freelancer.com or upwork.com. They get burned regularly. – Xavier J Dec 3 '16 at 1:52
    • This person is not trying to be a freelancer through avenues where they can easily be taken advantage of. And there may be tax implications or other complications in international b2b invoicing. Just because a payment service exists does not mean both parties are in legal or corporate compliance if they use it. – Eric Dec 3 '16 at 2:28

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