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Working in Chile

Have you ever wondered what it’s like to be working in Chile? Indeed, Chile offers lots of opportunities for foreign investors and expats keen on doing business in Chile. Read our guide to find out all about working in Chile, including the economy, the job search, business etiquette, and taxation.
Expats working in Chile benefit from the country's strong economy.

Chile: Eager to Trade

Chile’s economy is largely dominated by foreign trade and has a reputation for strong financial institutions. Moreover, expats working in Chile may benefit from the fact that Chile received the strongest sovereign bond rating in South America. Reforms undertaken in the early 1990s strengthened the country’s economic position on the continent. Since the end of the 1990s, the economy has grown at a rate of about 5% per year.

Chile prides itself on being the country with the most bilateral or regional trade agreements in the entire world. Currently, there are 22 such agreements between Chile and 60 different countries, including China, India, South Korea, Mexico, the US, and the EU. In 2010, Chile became the first South American country to join the OECD. Chile’s economic resilience is clear considering that despite the major earthquake in 2010 and economic downturn in 2009, Chile managed an economic growth of about 5% in 2012.

Looking for a Job? Call a Friend

One of the best ways of finding a job is through pitutosPitutos are your connections to Chile’s business world, people who will get a foot in the door for expats curious about working in Chile. This is a common concept in a country where personal relationships are incredibly important. However, even if you don’t know anybody yet, finding work in Chile is not impossible. Take a look at the job section of the Sunday edition of El Mercurio to get started.

However, even if you find a few job ads which sound exciting, you shouldn’t underestimate the persistence it takes to work in Chile. Many companies are hesitant to hire anybody who doesn’t have a valid work visa. At the same time, you need a work contract to apply for said work visa in the first place. Large, international companies may be your best bet as they have their own lawyers and are familiar with the process of applying for a work permit for their prospective employees.

At the Office: Slow and Steady Wins the Race

Expats who dream of working in Chile should know that the country’s labor force works the fourth highest number of average annual hours of all OECD countries. In recent years, the number of working hours was reduced from 45 to an average of 40.6 hours per week, but there is still 16% of the labor market that works more than 50 hours a week. However, as long work days do not necessarily make for higher productivity many Chileans need those extra hours to meet the deadline.

People working in Chile are not necessarily the quickest when it comes to answering emails or returning phone calls. Messages are often not acknowledged and your business partners may not get back to you unless there is a definitive reason to do so. Indeed, things move a little slower in Chile and you should make sure to check with your business partners every now and then, to make sure everything is getting done on time.


We do our best to keep this article up to date. However, we cannot guarantee that the information provided is always current or complete. 

Mathias Döringer

"Before moving to Santiago de Chile I joined the InterNations community and got useful hints regarding housing and business."

Emma Willems

"When I first came to Santiago de Chile I didn´t know one anyone. On InterNations I found many expat friends in the same situation."

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