Start a new life in a different country is always a challenge and the first thing that immigrants use to worry about is if there are good job openings in the country that they’re intending to move to. That’s why a lot of expats ask the question: how can a foreigner get a job in Brazil?
Any foreigner can get a job in Brazil as long as they have a Residence Permit or at least a Temporary Visa. Knowing Portuguese is also very important to find jobs in Brazil, as most of the entry-level positions depend on speaking with people. Spanish is an option as well, as the languages are similar.
To Portuguese (or Spanish) speakers will always be easier to find jobs, as most of the openings in Brazil are related to simpler entry-level positions, such as cashier, market attendant, salesperson, etc. These positions depend on good communication skills. For mid to high-level professionals, is easier to find a job if your first language is English, even if your Portuguese skills are not so good yet.
Step 1: Get A Residence Permit and an “Immigrant ID”
The first step to finding a job in Brazil as a foreigner is becoming a legal immigrant. Migration Policies in Brazil are simple and there’s no point in staying in the country illegally. To do so, the best way is to request a Residence Permit. This is the document that is granted to immigrants who intend to work or reside and settle temporarily or permanently in Brazil.
To obtain a Residence Permit, the immigrant must request at the Brazilian consulate in his country of origin or the Brazilian Ministry of Labor or Federal Police if he’s already on Brazilian soil. In the second case, is important to know that if the foreigner does not request this document within 90 days of arriving in the country, he will be considered an illegal immigrant and may be deported.
With a Residence Permit in hand, any immigrant can request a National Migration Registration Card (CRNM). Popularly known as the “immigrant’s ID”, this is the most important document for foreigners who want to legalize in Brazil. With these two documents, the Residence Permit and the “Immigrants’ ID”, you can start looking for a legal job in Brazil.
Step 2: Find a Job Opening For You
The next obvious step after complying with the law is finding a good job opportunity that fits your profile. There are several ways to do this, but I’ll list the ones I consider as the easiest.
Visiting the Worker Agency of Your City
One of the greatest ways to start working in Brazil is visiting the Worker Agency (Agência do Trabalhador) of your city. These public agencies are well connected with local businesses and every week they receive a list of job openings in different areas. Any legal worker (immigrant or not) can register in a Worker Agency and apply to one of the openings listed or receive an SMS whenever a position that fits its profile becomes available.
Visiting Local Business and Asking For An Opportunity
Another simple yet very effective way to find a job in Brazil as a foreigner is by creating a resume and visiting local businesses asking for an opportunity. There are a lot of people that feel a little ashamed of going straight to the businesses and talking but this is one of the most effective ways to find work fast in Brazil as a foreigner. Of course, to do so you need at least some Portuguese knowledge, or Spanish, as the languages are similar.
Applying in Local Companies Websites with Open Positions
Did you saw a company that you feel might have a job opening that you would be a fit for? Check their website and send your resume. It’s very common to find a section called “Trabalhe Conosco” (Work With US) on company websites. I’ve found my first and second job just doing this simple process. Talk with some people that you know and ask them about the biggest companies that have an active site and send your resume. It works really well!
Using Job Boards on the Internet
Job boards are very popular in Brazil and another excellent form for foreigners to find work in the country. All the big sites are present here, such as Indeed and Glassdoor, and you should definitely look for the listed jobs in your city. A great alternative is also looking at Brazilian job boards, such as Trabalha Brasil, Vagas, and Empregos. My brother was hired 2 weeks ago after filling up his CV on Vagas. It’s a good motivation for you 🙂
The best way for a foreigner to find work in Brazil is through Linkedin. My last 2 jobs (including my current position for a US-based company) were found using Linkedin, and I receive good job offers in my profile almost every week. A “secret” tip for you is to do a search for the name of your city, filter to “People” and start connecting with people from your city. Present yourself and say that you’re up to any offer. I guarantee that if you do so you’ll find work fast!
Step 3: Authorization Request
If you’re living legally in Brazil and were selected for a job, the third step to work in Brazil will be the easiest, because it does not depend on you directly. To work legally in Brazil you need one more document. A license provided by the government, a Work Permit, but is not you that will request an authorization.
This process is made by the company that has an interest in the professional, filling up the authorization request in the Ministry of Justice and Public Security. It’s important to notice that for a company start this process the worker needs to be living legally in Brazil. In this case, with a Residence Permit or at least with a Temporary Visa, that allows staying in the country for a period of 90 days (up to 2 years).
Notice that some companies will not do this for you for a simple reason: hiring an immigrant following all the steps necessary involves some costs. That being said, don’t be surprised if you start work in a company without all of these requirements being filled. It’s not completely legal, but hey, it’s a way to start paying the bills.
Step 4: Work Hard
Finally, if you have succeeded in all the previous steps, you have found an awesome opportunity to start your career in Brazil. Don’t feel bad if your first job does not pay much or if it’s not in the area that you’re specialized in. It happens with Brazilians as well. You need to know that if you’re not moving to a different country already hired or transferred to a company, you’ll be starting your career all over again.
New beginnings can be very challenging, but the rewards are great as well. So work hard, be proactive and make your best to improve your Portuguese skills. Finding the first opportunity is always the hardest part, after that, you’ll see how new job offers will start to appear for you.
A final piece of advice for you: If you’re not from Brazil and are struggling with the language or some other reason to find a job in Brazil, please, leave a comment here on the blog and I’ll do whatever I can to help you. Even writing or translating your resume, sending you more links, and finding good openings in the city that you’re living in. But to help you, you need to let me know, so don’t forget to comment.
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