With the largest economy in Latin America and second largest in the Americas, Brazil has more than just graduate opportunities to offer. Working in the country, you'll pick up a new language and immerse yourself in one of the world's most colourful communities
Known for its dazzling carnival culture and FIFA World Cup winning football teams, many are heading to Brazil to soak up the sun while furthering their careers.
It's a tough market to crack into, with lengthy visa applications and a national preference for hiring home-grown talent, but the metropolitan areas of Sao Paolo, Rio de Janeiro and the capital Brasilia have plenty to offer to the right candidate.
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 thrives in other areas:
- the industrial sector, which produces automobiles, aircrafts, computers and more
- it has a financially powerful banking industry with a strong national currency
- it 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 2/3 of all jobs must be granted to Brazilian citizens). There are jobs in these sectors available to foreign candidates who can demonstrate a proficiency in Portuguese and a finely-tuned skill set.
How to get a job in Brazil
Due to the legal complexities of hiring foreign workers, temporary or part-time positions available in Brazil are scarce.
You can apply for jobs in Brazil from home via:
- Catho: for management and other higher-end positions
- Vagas: for lower-end roles in customer service, catering and so on.
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 working with children, you might consider a summer working as an au pair for a Brazilian family.
Due to the competitive job market, the easiest way 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 Sao Paulo.
Teaching contracts have a typical lifespan of 6 to 12 months. Because of this, you'll need a tourist visa to teach in Brazil. English teachers in Brazil earn on average the equivalent of £1,000 per month.
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
- private schools require Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL)-certified candidates.
Search for teaching opportunities in Brazil via:
- ESL Employment is a vast database of teaching opportunities in Brazil.
- Britannia Schools, Central Development employs native speakers with TEFL qualifications in Rio de Janeiro and Porto Alegre.
- Go Overseas teaching opportunities for English teaching jobs in Sao Paolo.
There are plenty of internship opportunities in Brazil's thriving cities - Sao 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.
- Glassdoor lists a wide range of positions across all areas of Brazil.
- AIESEC Intern Abroad specialises in leadership-based roles.
- GoOverseas offers internships in a number of disciplines.
Applying for a visa to work in Brazil is a lengthy process, as there are many different types of visas each pertaining to specific working conditions. You'll need a work permit and works visa for any paid work you take on in Brazil.
Your future employer will apply for a work permit 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 must apply for a work visa in your home country. For this reason it is crucial that you secure employment before you make the move to Brazil.
Work permits expire after two years, at which point they can be renewed. You are eligible to apply for permanent residence following the end of the initial two years.
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 there 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.
You do not need certification from an official language course to work in Brazil. However, you may consider completing an online course before you move, such as IH London’s Beginner's Brazilian Portuguese.
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 we use in the UK.
There is no formal connection between the two systems, so it is best to clarify the nature of your qualifications to your chosen employer when applying.
Working life in Brazil
The working day in Brazil runs typically 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 per year, either taken all at once or split into two parts. There are eight national holidays - including Christmas and New Year's Day - which employees are forbidden to work through providing their leave does not jeopardise their workload, as is the case in hospitals.
Find out more
- Discover what it's like to study in Brazil.
- For a full list of Brazilian embassies and consulates around the world, visit GoAbroad.