The Brazilian job market

Working in Brazil

The Brazilian job market

Expatriates wishing to work in Brazil should find a job prior to their departure as the job market and regulations for foreign employees offer only limited job opportunities for expatriates in Brazil.

Brazil has one of the largest labour forces in the world. In recent years, the number of well-trained and qualified native employees has constantly increased and the employment of foreigners has declined.

Job restrictions for foreigners in Brazil

One of the very basic conditions in order to find a job in Brazil is knowledge of the Portuguese language. English is not yet as common as in many other countries. This applies to the job market as well.

Most of the information you will need in order to make a living in Brazil is only available in Portuguese. Knowing other languages will not make you stick out in the job market as many of the well trained native employees, especially in the bigger cities, are multilingual.

A further limitation for foreign job seekers is that the Brazilian government seeks to protect its local labour force from foreign competition. Hence a foreigner wishing to work in Brazil has to demonstrate that his skills are unique and that the vacancy cannot be filled by a native worker. The Ministry of Labour will then analyze the applicants advantages very carefully before accepting the application.

All companies in Brazil have to follow “the principle of proportionality”. This means that at least 2/3 of all employees must be Brazilians and they have to gain at least 2/3 of all paid salaries. This further limits the job perspectives for foreigners. Exceptions to this rule are only made in the agricultural sector.

If you have lived in Brazil for ten years, are married to a Brazilian citizen and/or have a Brazilian born child, you are considered a Brazilian citizen and are exempt from these restrictions.

Foreign certificates and academic titles are not recognized in Brazil. The respective examinations have to be repeated in Brazil - which again requires good knowledge of the Portuguese language.

Working in Brazil

As it is extremely difficult for foreign nationals to find a job in Brazil one of the few possibilities is to be transferred there by a foreign company. Get information on job perspectives in companies with branches in Brazil or multinational corporations well before leaving your home country.

Also be aware that salaries can be quite low in Brazil, at least in the lower or middle level sectors. It can be very hard for expats to make a living there so the best option is to look for a job paid in a foreign currency.

Further reading

Does this article help?

Do you have any comments, updates or questions on this topic? Ask them here: