Voluntary work is offered in a wide variety of fields, from medical internships to direct assistance for building schools and houses. If you want to do voluntary work there are two main ways to find a position: through an aid-organisation or a specialised agency. Lists of aid-organisations and NGO’s (Non Governmental Agencies) can often be obtained from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of your home country. The specialised agencies often offer several services such as language courses, and frequently it is even the other way around, language school organisations offer voluntary work. However, finding voluntary work through agencies often means you will have to pay for it.
Depending on the language school or language teaching organisations, wages may be paid or you might get food and lodging in return for your work. The most common languages studied by Argentineans are English, French, German, Italian and Portuguese. Several language schools may interview you by telephone. Consider posting a message at the Language Forum to find out more about personal experiences in teaching languages in Argentina.
Increasing numbers of students decide to do internships in a different country from where they are studying. An internships can be a mandatory part of a course of study or a voluntary activity chosen by students who want international work experience. Argentina is still suffering the effects of the 2001 crisis, so jobs are not easy to find, but internships and low paid jobs can be found.
The only “but” however, is a big one: unregistered work is found more easily than registered work. Unregistered work means no paperwork is required, you will not have a contract and pay will be lower than average. This is illegal so keep in mind that both you and your employer are running a risk when engaging in unregistered employment. You could be fined and forced to leave the country if caught. Remember that if you want to do an internship and play according to the rules, you need to apply for a Temporarily Residence Visa.
Giving private language classes is another possibility to earn some extra income as a foreign student in Argentina. Contact the international office at the Argentinean university you are studying at and ask if there are Argentinean students going on exchange. These students might be interested in improving their language skills. For more information on how to look for a job, see our Finding a Job section.
Working illegally is widespread in Argentina. It is estimated that over 16% of Argentineans are working illegally. It is required by law that employers register their employees for taxation, insurance and retirement purposes. Obviously, not registering employees cuts down on costs and has become more widespread since the crisis. Often employees are aware that they are not registered, but some do not realise.
Not registered work takes mainly place in furniture and wood industry (estimated 46% of employees), Agriculture (44% of employees), Restaurants (39% of employees), Transport (30% of employees), Construction (28% of employees).
The Argentinean government has launched a plan to combat the high numbers of unregistered workers, the consequent violations of employee rights and security and the loss of taxation income needed to keep the social security system functioning. The plan is called the Plan Nacional de Regularizacion del Trabajo and has been run since January 2005. The plan mainly means that more inspectors will be employed to regularly check companies.
Companies, organisations and individuals violating regulations on registration laws will be fined. In 2005 fines to companies ranged from AR$ 80 to AR$ 287,750. Companies fined included well known companies such as Aerolineas Argentineas, Maersk, Southern Winds, Whirlpool and several mayor bus companies.