Brazil’s economic success and relatively steady growth make working in Brazil an attractive option for expats from all over the globe. For instance, the oil and gas industry as well as the booming financial sector in cities such as São Paulo hold interesting opportunities for expats.
Nevertheless, those who consider working in Brazil should have a thorough plan before leaving their home country. The market is highly competitive for self-made expats, and every year a number of expats return home early because their employment in Brazil did not turn out to be what they expected. You should be especially aware of the fact that working in Brazil is usually possible only with sufficient knowledge of Portuguese.
Expats in Brazil are typically transferees from foreign and multinational companies which operate local branches in the country. Finding a job without the backing of an HR department can prove very difficult, and self-made expats are rather rare. Most of the foreign expatriates working in Brazil are employed in areas such as engineering or the high-tech sector. The petrochemical industry, based mainly in Rio de Janeiro and the Cidade do Petróleo (city of petroleum) Macaé, is also a popular employer for foreign nationals.
There are two types of visa which enable foreign nationals to start working in Brazil. The first is a category V visa, which is valid for working in a specific position for a limited period of time. With a category V visa, expats are not permitted to change jobs throughout their stay in Brazil. Dependent family members may accompany the visa holder, although they are not automatically allowed to start a job in Brazil themselves.
Even though these temporary visas are readily issued for intra-company transfers, they are significantly harder to come by for expats seeking job opportunities independently. In order to be considered for such a visa, the applicant needs to have a signed contract with a Brazilian employer. Only after this contract has been examined and approved by the Brazilian Ministry of Labor will the visa application be further processed by the immigration authorities.
Self-made expats planning to take up employment in Brazil often try to apply for a permanent visa instead of the temporary one described above. This has the definite advantage that it does not only allow the holder to stay in Brazil indefinitely, but also to change jobs without running the risk of losing their work permit.
On the other hand, acquiring a permanent visa is even more difficult than receiving a temporary permit for working in Brazil. Most importantly, applicants need to convince the Brazilian authorities that they possess highly specialized skills which would benefit the Brazilian economy.
We do our best to keep this article up to date. However, we cannot guarantee that the information provided is always current or complete.