For several decades, Asunción did not develop as rapidly as some other South American cities, but the city is now experiencing growth, and opportunities for expatriates to work in Asunción are on the increase.
The economy in Asunción has been experiencing something of a boom over the last few years, making it one of the fastest growing economies in South America. However, the new wealth being created is by no means evenly distributed. Many people in Asunción continue to live in poverty, with recent estimates indicating that up to one-third of the city’s population is deprived.
The economy in Paraguay is primarily based around agriculture, with two of the most important crops being soybeans and corn. Other key export crops and products include sugar, wheat, cooking oils, meat, timber and leather. The majority of goods are exported to other countries in South America, largely to Brazil, Uruguay and Argentina. In the Asunción area agriculture is generally industrialized, with new technologies enhancing productivity, although not necessarily increasing employment.
The manufacturing and service sectors are important to the economy in Asunción. One of the key growth areas in manufacturing is pharmaceuticals, with companies such as Johnson and Johnson having sites in Asunción. Travel and tourism contribute a relatively small amount to the economy, and business travel revenue makes up a large part of this, but there is potential for strong growth in the tourism sector, with the ideal climate and a wealth of history to appeal to holidaymakers.
There are plenty of opportunities for English teachers in Asunción, both in the private and public sector. Pay and conditions are of course better in the private sector, but the roles in public schools can be interesting and rewarding, with some roles in teacher training available. Some expats working in Asunción are employed in translation and interpreting services.
Increasing numbers of international corporations are establishing a presence in Paraguay, enabling some employees to move to Asunción by means of an internal transfer. Other foreign nationals move to Asunción to work for NGOs, or to work in foreign embassies. Salaries may be lower for some jobs than in many other countries, but the cost of living in Asunción is very low. Companies recruiting in Asunción advertise on the internet as well as in local newspapers.
The majority of foreign nationals who wish to work in Paraguay will need a work permit. There are some exceptions, for example in some cases a person whose spouse has a work permit is not required to have their own work permit. When you apply for a work permit you are usually required to have a formal job offer in Paraguay. You may be fortunate enough to have your employer sponsor you for your work permit, in which case you will simply need to provide the relevant documentation for processing. As part of the application process you may need to provide a police record from your home country. If you want to stay in Paraguay for the long term you can apply for residency.