Put your Portuguese to the test and move your career to the nation known for its carnivals and Caipirinhas
It's the second-largest economy in the Americas, and has been identified as one of the world's largest emerging economies, known as the BRICS nations (along with Russia, India, China and South Africa). The BRICS nations are viewed as sites for foreign expansion - meaning future investments and a broader range of work opportunities are likely to appear in these countries in the future.
However, Brazil's job market is currently tough to crack into, with lengthy visa applications and a national preference for hiring home-grown talent rather than international workers. You'll also need a high level of proficiency in Portuguese - the country's official language - not only to be considered for a role, but to get by in your day-to-day life.
With the right skill set and the motivation to search for jobs, there's plenty on offer - particularly in the metropolitan areas of Sao Paolo, Rio de Janeiro and the capital city Brasilia.
Jobs in Brazil
Brazil is home to a thriving agriculture industry, being the world's largest producer of beef cattle, tropical fruits and sugar cane and world-leading coffee producers for more than a century.
As well as agriculture, Brazil's industrial sector - which produces aircrafts, cars, computers and more - is particularly thriving. The country also has a financially powerful banking industry with a strong national currency (Brazilian Real), and is one of the world's leading producers of hydroelectric power.
Finding a way into the job market will be difficult, as the majority of Brazilian companies follow the 'principle of proportionality' - where two thirds of all vacancies must be filled by Brazilian citizens.
Popular graduate jobs
- Oil and gas
In the ManPowerGroup Talent Shortage Survey 2018, 34% of employers in Brazil reported difficulties in hiring new staff. While this is the lowest the figure has been since the survey began in 2006, many industries are still suffering shortages - in roles including:
- sales representatives
- accountants, auditors and financial analysts
- healthcare professionals
- IT professionals
- engineers (chemical, civil, electronic and mechanical).
A lack of hard skills was the biggest obstacle for filling vacancies, although a lack of soft skills and a lack of experience were also both cited as reasons behind talent shortages.
How to get a job in Brazil
Temporary or part-time positions for graduates in Brazil are scarce due to the country's attitudes towards hiring international workers.
If you're hoping to secure a full-time role, you should start your search from home. Full-time jobs in Brazil are advertised via:
- Vagas: for non-specialist roles, such as sales representatives and customer service roles.
To tap into the hidden job market, where a number of roles aren't advertised, send out speculative applications to employers, including your CV and a cover letter.
Brazil's tourism industry is always in need of English speakers, so if working as a hotel employee, bartender or tour guide appeals to you, you're in luck. Similarly, teachers of English as a foreign language are in high demand among business professionals looking to improve their skills to take to the global market.
If you have experience of working with children, you might consider a summer working as an au pair for a Brazilian family.
Due to the competitive job market, one of the easiest ways for foreign applicants to find a job in Brazil is through teaching English. The majority of demand for teachers is found in Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo.
Your earnings will vary based on your location, and whether you're teaching at a school or university or offering private tuition at an hourly rate.
You'll be able to charge a higher rate if you teach a niche subject, such as medical or legal English.
To teach in Brazil, you must meet the following criteria:
- two years of teaching experience at the appropriate level
- a Bachelor degree in a relevant area of focus
- a Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) certificate, if you're teaching in a private school.
Search for teaching opportunities in Brazil via:
There are plenty of internships in Brazil's thriving cities - São Paolo is a popular destination as this is where many of the roles are based. These roles vary in type, from positions in marketing and business to web development.
Fortunately, many online resources for finding internships are written in English.
Search for opportunities at:
You'll need a residence permit and work visa for any paid work you take on in Brazil.
Your future employer will apply for a work visa on your behalf by submitting copies of the employment contract, your CV, required work documents and a certified copy of your passport to the Brazilian Ministry for Labour and Employment.
Once this is approved, you'll then apply for a temporary work visa in your home country, via your local embassy or consulate. For this reason, securing employment before you make the move to Brazil is crucial.
A temporary work visa expires after two years. At this point it can be renewed for an additional two years, after which your company will be able to apply for a permanent visa for you if you intend to stay in Brazil long-term. While you're holding a temporary work visa, you won't be able to change employers without permission.
You'll need to collect various documents from the federal police within 30 days of your arrival in Brazil – including a foreigner ID card and Brazilian taxpayer ID, which you'll use to open a bank account.
Apply for your visa as early as possible - your application may take two to three months to be processed.
For more information about Brazilian visas, see the Consulate of Brazil, London.
As Portuguese is the official language of Brazil, your chances of securing employment without proficiency in the language are slim.
You can enrol in Portuguese lessons once in Brazil to improve your skills, or find work via an international organisation as this set-up may offer help with Portuguese as part of an employee package.
Explaining your qualifications to Brazilian employers
There should be no confusion in taking your qualifications to Brazilian employers. The higher education system in Brazil, laid out by the Ministry of Education (MEC), loosely follows the Bologna system used in the UK.
However, there's no formal connection between the two systems. Therefore, it's best to clarify your qualifications when applying for jobs.
What it's like to work in Brazil
The working day in Brazil typically runs from 8am-6pm, Monday to Friday, with an hour's unpaid break. Employees average 40 hours per week; by law they must not exceed 44.
As for annual leave, workers are entitled to 30 days' annual leave after being in their job for a year, either taken all at once or split into parts. There are eight national holidays per year - including Christmas and New Year's Day - which employees all across the country take off work, on the condition that doing so won't jeopardise their job (such as those who work in the emergency services).
Healthcare is provided for free by the government, through the SUS (Unified Health System), and public health programmes are in place to make medication more affordable.
Find out more
- Discover what it's like to study in Brazil.
- For a list of embassies and consulates worldwide, visit GoAbroad.com - Embassies & Consulates in Brazil.