RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – It is all about the skills, and those familiar with the 2004 cult classic film Napoleon Dynamite know how important it is to have sweet skill. Now, if Brazil follows through with its fast-track work visa process for highly-skilled foreign professionals, the talent show is going to be more crucial then ever for those looking to put their toes into Rio’s waters.
It makes sense of course, and in the global economy (before that sounded like a bad thing), the ability to work abroad and advance a professional career while learning and leveraging cultural relationships is an adventurer’s dream.
For developing economies though it requires some caution, as they need to protect their assets. However when the developing economy starts to limit itself, because the growth is so big and fast, then some selective concessions starts to happen.
My understanding is that Brazil made immigration relatively difficult in reciprocation to the restrictive U.S. and some European immigration policies. The Brazilian pride and strength of culture is one of the first things that attracted me here, who can blame them for that?
When it comes to issuing work visas, Brazil needed to save the jobs for Brazilians, in a struggling economy with high unemployment – you can’t give good jobs away to gringos when a Brazilian needs it. Of course now unemployment is at an all time low here, and Brazilians are being courted abroad to spend all thier new money.
It has also been talked about that the growth plans Brazil has, in the PAC and especially in the oil business (Petrobras), the most glaring challenge is the lack of skilled workers to deliver. In the oil industry it is not possible to spend R$224.7 billion in five years (apparently) – because there is not enough people to do the work.
This challenge of eduction in Brazil is something I’ve heard on a micro level as well, when dealing with unskilled or mid-level skilled workers (the ones earning R$622 per month minimum salary in 2012), are apparently not ideal employees. This does not surprise me, and it is a cultural environment.
If you have been under-educated, under-paid, and have no opportunity for advancement to a better life, who is going to bust a sweat to do good work? Why would you? The only thing you can do is stick it to the man with ineptitude.
But that is the culture of the past, and Brazil will certainly continue making great strides to develop their middle class, to educate people out of poverty, and fine-tune their capitalism to reward hard work. But it takes time of course, there is a whole generation of exploiters and exploities that need to learn a new play-book.
In the meantime, if you want to be in Brazil, time to bust out some sweet skills… and learn Portuguese.