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Work in Portugal

Country flag: Portugal

The Portuguese government actively encourages entrepreneurship. Find out everything you need to know about working in this friendly and inviting country

Job market in Portugal

Portugal has suffered as a result of the recent global economic downturn, as well as the Eurozone debt crisis with the European Union (EU). Unemployment currently stands at 15%, which is an all-time high, but skilled or qualified individuals can still find openings in the job market.

The country has a high demand for workers in telecommunication, administrative and commercial areas. There is also a need for doctors and nurses, as the government is working to improve the healthcare structure.

In addition, Portugal has a large tourism industry like its Iberian neighbour Spain. A summer of temporary work in the tourism industry may provide a launch pad into an entry-level graduate job and will certainly help improve your grasp of the language.

Job vacancies

Search for jobs in Portugal at:

Work experience and internships in Portugal

As Portugal is a tourist hotspot, proficiency in English is a highly sought-after skill.

As an English speaker, you may want to teach the language. You don't need to be fluent in Portuguese as soon as you arrive, as it's important to create an English-speaking atmosphere in the classroom. To find out more about teaching English in the country, see i-to-i - Teach in Portugal .

Internships and summer work placements for students can also be arranged by:

  • AIESEC UK  - students and recent graduates;
  • IAESTE UK  - for science, engineering and applied arts students.

Volunteering in Portugal

Voluntary work is a useful option for many people heading abroad. Not only will it put your language skills to the test and help you to understand more about Portuguese culture, it could help you create lasting contacts and enhance your CV.

The European Voluntary Service (EVS) , funded by the European Commission (EC), is a programme aimed at people aged 18 to 30 who want to volunteer abroad. It offers young people the chance to volunteer for up to 12 months in a number of European and non-European countries.

Opportunities can be anything from placements concerned with sport and culture to those focused on social care and the environment. For successful applicants, accommodation, travel, food and insurance are all covered by a European grant and you even receive a small allowance each month.

Language requirements

It is important to have a strong grasp of Portuguese before you consider working in the country.

There are over 230 million Portuguese speakers in the world and there are many websites around to help you learn the language. To test your skills and learn the basics, head to BBC Languages - Portuguese .

Portuguese visas and immigration

According to the EC, EU citizens have the right to:

  • move to another EU country to work without a work permit;
  • enjoy equal treatment with nationals in access to employment, working conditions and all other social and tax advantages;
  • stay in the country even after employment has finished.

For more information and to check what conditions and restrictions apply, see:

EU nationals may also be entitled to have various types of health and social security coverage transferred to the country in which they go to find work. For country-specific information on social security entitlements, see European Commission - Your Rights Country by Country .

Depending on your profession, your qualifications may be recognised in some countries. To find out more, visit Europa - Qualifications for Employment .

Written by Editor, Graduate Prospects
August 2012

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