Porto Alegre has one of the fastest growing local economies in Brazil, and one of the lowest unemployment rates in the country. Its annual GDP of 30 billion BRL, or 20,900 BRL per capita, is more than that of Paraguay and Uruguay combined, and is divided into three main sectors; services (64%), industry (29%), and agriculture (7%).
The services sector consists of health, tourism, education and technology, and in recent years has seen significant investment by the Brazilian government, including a 210 million USD Electronics Technology Center (CEITEC) that focuses on the development and production of application specific integrated circuits (ASICs).
The city's main industries are shoe making, food processing, and petrochemicals, which are exported all around the world. General Motors and the Royal Bank of Scotland both have offices in Porto Alegre.
Due to its many green pastures, many people working in Porto Alegre are employed in the agricultural sector, growing rice, beans, cashews, avocados, and wheat. Typical jobs for expatriates working in Porto Alegre are in technology, industry and agriculture, usually in senior management or technical positions.
Expatriates working in Porto Alegre need a work permit to do so. In order to apply for a permit to work in Porto Alegre you need to have already secured employment in the city, as your prospective employer will need to apply initially on your behalf to the Immigration Department at the Brazilian Ministry of Labor.
Once this stage of the application has been approved by the department, you then need to submit an application directly to your local consulate or embassy. You are required to provide a number of official documents, some of which may need to be translated into Portuguese and certified before they are accepted.
Expatriates wanting to work in Porto Alegre also need to undergo a medical examination as part of the application process. Once your work permit application has been approved, you are issued with a Work Card by the Brazilian Ministry of Labor and can legally start work in Porto Alegre. This process usually takes two to three months to complete.
Expatriates working in Porto Alegre will be required to pay income tax on their earnings. Brazil has a progressive income tax scheme, which means that the amount of income tax you pay depends on how much you earn during the fiscal year, which runs from 1 January to 31 December. There are four different tax brackets, based on one’s monthly income, with income tax capped at a maximum of 27.5%:
People working in Porto Alegre earning under 1,787.78 BRL are not required to pay income tax on their earnings.