Working in Mexico
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Find out how to get a job and work in Mexico
Your bags are packed, and you may already be dreaming of mixing cocktails in Cancún or setting up your own office in Mexico City. However, before you start working in Mexico as an expat, you need to do your homework: Learn more about local labor laws, self-employment, and job-hunting in our Relocation Guide!
Employment in Mexico
- The leading economic sectors offer work opportunities, but teaching a language could also present a good job opportunity.
- There are different places where you can start the job search, such as recruitment agencies or online job portals. Networking is also always a good option.
- If you want to start your own business, it is important to pay attention to all the regulations by taking legal advice.
- The taxation system is rather complicated, including both businesses and individuals. When it comes to wages and the amount of annual leave, they both tend to be quite low.
Working in Mexico brings with it many challenges, first among them the actual job search. In the last quarter of 2015, Mexico had an unemployment rate of 4.2%, and unskilled workers in particular have a hard time finding jobs. However, there is no reason for you to give up on your dream. Certain professions are on the rise, and skilled expat professionals are always welcome.
While your dream of working in Mexico may include making a living near white beaches, palm trees, and colorful cocktails, you should carefully consider your options before deciding to open a business in an already saturated market. It may be tempting for self-made expats to open a beach bar, a restaurant, or a B&B in Mexico, but keeping up with the competition can be quite a challenge.
The Leading Sectors
People interested in investing or working in Mexico might find what they are looking for in the major industries, such as tobacco, chemicals, food and beverages, iron and steel, mining, textiles, and tourism.
The logistics and transportation sectors as well as infrastructure and the service industry are going through major growth periods at the moment. So, if Mexico’s major industries are of no interest to you, looking into these might be a good idea.
A Good Option: Teaching Language in Mexico
Teaching makes a lot of sense if you are not yet fluent in Spanish. You can find such positions at preparatorias (high schools), universities, and language schools. Alternatively, you can even do some private tutoring. Job listings can easily be found online, for example on Teachers Latin America.
Especially Mexico City and Guadalajara are the places to go for prospective language teachers planning on working in Mexico. Positions at universities and high schools usually open up some time in advance of a new term. Ask for an interview appointment with the director of the school or the language department. Keep in mind, however, that academic teaching jobs require qualifications beyond being a native speaker.
The Right Places for the Job Search
While working as a teacher can be a good springboard for working in Mexico, your ideal professional experience may, however, involve more than teaching English at a local language school. If this is the case for you, be prepared to put a lot of effort into your job search. Begin by registering with your chamber of commerce, your embassy, or even different social clubs to learn more about Mexico’s business world
Many Mexican businesses prefer using recruitment agencies and contractors to find new employees intent on working in Mexico. If you bring lots of professional experience to the table and are looking for a high-salary position, utilizing an agency or a headhunter could be a wise decision.
There are many global recruitment agencies to help you find a job at the higher end of the job market. Most, if not all, will ask for considerable fees, but if you have high expectations, the price is most likely worth paying to be able to start working in Mexico.
Global recruitment agencies in Mexico include:
Online-based recruitment agencies operating in Mexico:
Networking, Newspapers, and Online Job Portals
Alternatively, other InterNations members and expats working in Mexico may be able to help you get in touch with companies offering open positions. Don’t hesitate to use your network. You can also look through online job boards and employment homepages. Jobsin Mexico, for example, advertises jobs in English. Your home country’s chamber of commerce may even have its own employment agency, giving you the option to search for vacancies and post notices online.
Another option that could work is the classic approach to the job search. Local newspapers usually have classified sections with job ads, and you should look at their respective websites, too, as you may be able to find more job ads online. El Economista, El Universal, and El Gazette are among the most well-known. Scouring internet classifieds such as Craigslist may also yield a few job ads, especially for local part-time positions, which could be a way to start working in Mexico.
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Mexico’s Business World
If You Decide to Be Your Own Boss
In knowledge-based industries above all, special skills are in demand. If you prefer self-employment to an office job within a large corporation, be sure to market your skills and experience carefully. For most Mexicans, self-employment — especially at a young age — is not an option since getting the prerequisite funding is often too difficult.
Once incorporated in Mexico, you need to pay attention to the various rules and regulations. A local accountant can help you with the red tape. This will ensure that you’re in compliance with all regulations without taking too much off your budget. Accountant fees are usually very reasonable and a good investment when starting your own business.
Deciding on Your Business Entity
When doing business in Mexico, keep in mind that most Mexican businesses are not too enthused about dealing with sole traders. In some cases, you may not be able to do business at all without a company to back you up. As mentioned, it is always best to seek legal advice to find the right business entity for you.
The main types of firms used by foreigners are as follows:
- Sociedad de Responsabilidad Limitada (S.R.L. Limited Liability Company)
- Sociedades cooperativas (cooperative associations)
- joint ventures
You need to meet with a Notary Public, who will help you set up your business. Notary Publics are appointed by the Governor of State and hold different legal powers and responsibilities. You are required to submit the necessary paperwork as well as identification and your visa. After you have paid your fees, and the paperwork is in order, you will receive your tax ID number (Registro Federal de Contribuyentes or RCF).
Don’t Forget Registering for Taxation in Mexico
Both businesses and individuals working in Mexico need to register with the Ministry of Finance and Public Credit. The amount of tax you will pay while living and working in Mexico depends largely on your residency status. Taxes you may have to pay include:
- income tax
- value added tax (on income derived from lease of property, for example)
- tax on corporate assets
For more information on taxes in Mexico, please contact the Servicio de Administración Tributaria.
Understanding Income Taxes
As a non-resident alien, your salary at a Mexican corporation will only be subject to a withholding tax, which can be as low as 10%, but frequently is around 25%.
Resident aliens are taxed on their income from outside Mexico in the same manner as Mexican citizens. You can avoid paying double taxes, however, if Mexico has signed a treaty to that effect with the country where you normally pay taxes, thus allowing for double taxation relief on a foreign tax credit system. You must file your tax return in Mexico after the close of the tax year (31 December).
The Not Always Favorable Working Conditions
In Mexico, unions negotiate contracts, wages, and benefits directly with large companies and institutions to agree on a collective minimum wage. As the Mexican labor market is extremely competitive, hourly pay and benefits of Mexican employees are much lower than in, for instance, the US.
Working overtime warrants double pay; as does working on Sundays. However, Mexican employees do not enjoy the same amount of annual vacation as employees in many other countries. After working for one year, you are granted six days of paid vacation. The longer you stay with the company, the more vacation days you will be able to earn.