Employment in Brazil: how to find a job as an expat, the labor market and a work visa



Employment in Brazil: how to find a job as an expat, the labor market and a work visa

In recent years, Brazil has become a popular destination for foreign residents, attracted by the country's vibrant culture, natural beauty, and work-life opportunities. Find out more about visas and residence permits for work in Brazil, the list of documents, salary level in Brazil for an expatriate and other important details

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Brazil is a South American country that has demonstrated the maximum economic development in the region in recent years. That is why there is a rapid increase in employment opportunities, which makes Brazil an attractive place for career growth for expats.

How can a foreigner move to Brazil for work in 2024? A detailed guide is further in our material.

How many expats live in Brazil?

The total population of Brazil is estimated at slightly more than 212 million people. 1.3 million of them are immigrants. The main nationalities of expats in Brazil are Japanese (62,296), Bolivian (49,289), Italian (47,193) and Argentine (36,910).

Visa and residence permit to work in Brazil

In order to obtain the right to work legally in Brazil, a foreigner must have the appropriate permits: a work visa and a residence permit.

You can get a residence permit at the nearest Brazilian embassy. It is a mandatory document for obtaining a work visa. All work visas are usually only issued to registered Brazilian companies. Therefore, before preparing a package of documents for moving to Brazil, an expat needs to find a Brazilian employer who will hire him.


Types of work visas in Brazil

Currently, the following types of work visas are issued in the country:

1. Temporary work visa is the most common type of work permit in Brazil. It is usually opened for 2 years with the possibility of extension once. After 4 years, the expat will have the right to issue a permanent work visa.

2. Permanent work visa - expats who plan to work in Brazil as a researcher, scientist or highly qualified specialist (director, will create a business in the country or plan to invest in the country's economy) can immediately obtain this type of work permit.

3. Business visa – VITEM visa is usually issued by foreigners traveling to Brazil on business. It is valid for up to 10 years, and also allows you to stay in the country for a maximum of 90 days a year. Importantly! Holders of this type of permit are prohibited from receiving income from Brazilian companies.

List of documents for Brazilian visa

List of documents for obtaining the most common work visas in Brazil - VITEM and temporary visa:

- A resume showing a minimum of 2 years of relevant professional experience in your field of work.

- Certificates or documents confirming a 9-year education or a relevant degree plus 1 year of professional experience or a relevant post-graduate degree without professional experience.

- Employment contract.

- Certified copy of passport.

- Confirmation of residential address.

- Visa fee, which depends on the country you are from (for example, US - $290, UK - $225).

- A resident visa can be a temporary or permanent visa.

Before submitting the documents, be sure to translate them into Portuguese.

In order to obtain a work permit, the employer must also submit a certain package of documents:

- Work permit application form.

- Applicant and candidate form.

- Company charter or changes in the contract, registered in the Commercial Council or the state register of citizens.

- Information on the appointment of a local legal representative for the applicant.

Importantly! Note that every time you change jobs in Brazil, you will need to apply for a new work permit.

The labor market in Brazil

Most foreigners who find work in Brazil are highly qualified professionals. These include IT, engineering, pharmaceutical, automotive, construction, oil and gas specialists. Skilled expats working as software engineers, programmers and database managers are also very popular in Brazil. Jobs in finance and engineering are highly competitive.

Teaching English is also another employment option for expats moving to Brazil, especially those looking to gain initial work experience in the country. However, expats should be aware that teaching jobs are usually not very well paid.

Salary level in Brazil for an expat

A good monthly salary for an expat to live comfortably in Brazil is at least $700 (3,468.08 Brazilian Reals) if you don't stay in an expensive city like Rio or Sao Paulo. 

The average monthly cost of living in Brazil is $747. In Sao Paulo, this indicator will be $1,062, in Rio de Janeiro - $972, and in Florianopolis - $808.

Tax system in Brazil

Brazil's tax system is widely known for its complexity. Income tax rates are progressive and range from 7.5% to 27.5% (depending on income).

Foreign residents are taxed on income earned in Brazil, but be sure to check for any double taxation agreements between Brazil and your home country to understand your tax obligations.

Brazil also charges property owners IPTU (Urban Property Tax), which varies significantly depending on the location and value of the property.

Work culture in Brazil

At first glance, the Brazilian work environment appears very formal, but when it comes to personal communication, there is a much more relaxed atmosphere. Relationships are very important to Brazilians when doing business. Expats will have to put a lot of effort into networking if they want to succeed.

There are no set working hours in Brazil, although most businesses are open from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., while managers often start and finish work later. Lunch is usually between 12:30 and 14:30.

Brazilian law provides for 44 working hours per week, eight hours each weekday, Monday through Friday. On weekends, workers must only work 4 hours, but for some professions, such as administrators and telephone operators, this figure increases to 6 hours.

The law requires every employer to pay their employees 13 wages as a Christmas bonus. Also, every employee has the right to an annual vacation of 30 days.

Where can an expat find a job in Brazil?

As in most other countries of the world, it is better to look for a job in Brazil on special sites: VAGAS, Catho, indeed.com (supports English search), Feufo. In addition to job search sites, expats can also use platforms such as LinkedIn and Snaphunt.

Tips for finding a job in Brazil for expats

To improve your chances of finding a job in Brazil, you must first improve your Portuguese. Also, additionally follow the following tips:

1. Regularly update your profile on the job search portal - this will help create a positive first impression on your potential employers, since during an online interview you may not immediately tell everything about your personality.

2. Consider other cities in Brazil (besides Rio and Sao Paulo) – When looking for a job in Brazil, don't limit your search to just these two cities, expand your search filters to include other cities such as Florianopolis.

3. Prepare well for the interview – research your employer and the job opening thoroughly to ensure you can fully explain why you are a good fit for the employer.

4. Highlight your experience in Brazil or South America (if available) – If you have previous experience working with a Brazilian company or experience living in Latin America, this is something you should highlight to a potential employer as it can make you stand out among other expats competing for jobs.

Health insurance for expats in Brazil

When you start working in Brazil, it is important that you have a health insurance policy in order to have access to quality medical services in the country. Healthcare in Brazil is high in big cities like São Paulo, but services are also expensive. Thus, be sure to take care of your health insurance policy before moving to the country.

In recent years, Brazil has become an increasingly popular destination for expats and digital nomads, attracted by the country's vibrant culture, stunning natural beauty, gorgeous beaches and job prospects. Therefore, we advise you to pay attention to this country when planning to move abroad.

Igor Usyk - Head of Legal Department at Visit World

For safe relocation to Brasília, obtaining refugee status and employment, use the advice of an international lawyer. We help to solve complex and simple issues for your comfort and safety in Brasília.

Products from Visit World for a comfortable trip:

Checklist for obtaining a visa and necessary documents in Brazil;

Legal advice from a local specialist on visa and migration issues;

Travel insurance for foreigners in Brazil;

Medical insurance all over the world.

We monitor the accuracy and relevance of our information. Therefore, if you see any error or discrepancy, please write to our hotline.

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