Ecuador experienced a major financial crisis in 1999 which impacted the local economy and the housing market for seven years. The decision was made to withdraw the local currency and since the year 2000 the US dollar has been Ecuador’s official currency. Other legal coins are various denominations of cents coins minted in Ecuador. With the country now recovering from the economic crisis, the housing market is now in a period of growth, with prices increasing although still lower than in many comparable countries.
Quito’s new Mariscale Sucre International Airport has created the opportunity for a significant increase in cargo transported in and out of the city as well as enhancing flight safety. Major industries in Quito include textiles, metals and agriculture, with major crops for export being coffee, sugar, cacao, rice, bananas and palm oil. For Ecuador overall, the oil industry is a key contributor to the economy. However, there is a conflict between the desire to tap into more of Ecuador’s oil reserves, and the harmful impacts of further deforestation, both to the environment and to the local communities.
Many expats are able to secure a position working in Quito through their existing employer, particularly in the telecoms and engineering sectors. A growing number of global corporations such as HP have offices in Quito, where you may be able to find employment. Furthermore, many Ecuadorian companies are willing to recruit foreign nationals as they seek to expand into other markets.
Fluency in Spanish will give you a real boost in your search for jobs and in career progression in Quito. If you don’t already speak the language, it is well worth signing up for one of the inexpensive language courses in Quito.
Sites such as Jobs-Goabroad advertise vacancies in Quito. Local recruitment sites in Ecuador include Multitrabajos and Por fin Empleo. Social media sites are also becoming increasingly relevant in the recruitment sector in Ecuador.
There is a perpetual demand for English teachers in Quito, with positions at language schools readily available. There are also often vacancies for English speakers at universities in Ecuador.
In order for expats to work in Quito you will need to have a visa, which you can apply for from your local Ecuadorean embassy. If you first travel to Ecuador on a tourist visa (valid for 90 days only) you will not be able to apply within the country for a long-term visa. Instead you will be obliged to return to your country of origin to apply for a separate visa in order to live and work in Quito. There are separate categories of visa for contractors, permanent workers, and dependents so you need to make sure you apply for the appropriate visas for yourself and any accompanying family members.
If you drive into Ecuador from neighboring Colombia or Peru you must ensure that an entry stamp is recorded in your passport at the border or you may experience difficulties in Ecuador at a later stage. It is a legal requirement to carry ID with you at all times. Many people choose to take a color photocopy of their passport rather than the original when going out.