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An Article by InterNations

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Doubtlessly Brazil is a very attractive country not only for countless visitors from all over the world, but also increasingly for foreign investment and skilled personnel interested in working overseas. The seventh largest economy in the world in 2012, Brazil has shown incredible economic growth rates in the past years. Although things have slowed down considerably, there is nowhere for Brazil to go on the list but up.

InterNations organize networking events and parties, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil News
InterNations help members meet other expats from around the world living in their city and connect with them, photo by Vera Sardinha.

If you are thinking of becoming an expatriate in Brazil, there are a number of main conurbations you are likely to settle in. Apart from São Paulo, the economic heart of the country which generates almost a fifth of the national GDP, and Rio de Janeiro, undoubtedly Brazil’s most famous (or infamous) city, Macaé is another city with a strong expat community. This is mainly due to its status as the center of the Brazilian offshore petroleum industry.

As opposed to many other countries, the national capital Brasília is purely a political center, and thus is mainly of interest for expats working in journalism, as foreign correspondents, or diplomatic staff.

The expat crowd in Brazil tends to consist mostly of transferees from foreign companies and multinationals who were lucky enough to land a job in a Brazilian branch office. Expat jobs can predominantly be found in the engineering and high-tech sectors, with the energy and petrochemical sectors offering additional options.

Making it on one’s own can become tricky rather quickly – you will not be the only skilled person in Brazil going out and looking for employment. Competition is rather fierce in the Brazilian job market. Chances are that if you come unprepared, for example without prior working knowledge of Portuguese or a lack of intercultural communication skills, you might have to return home after a short while with not much to show for it.

visa, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil News
Brazilian work visa can be only obtained with a valid work contract, photo by The Rio Times.

While many expats can find employment teaching English as a foreign language, this option does not offer much in the way of a career. You might get by, however, depending on what your desired level of comfort or luxury is.

No matter whether you are transferred to Brazil by your company or try to make it on your own, you will need a visa that qualifies you for taking up employment. In the majority of cases, this is the category V temporary visa (VITERM). Transferees are in luck, though: usually, your employer will pretty much take care of everything, and you will only have to supply a number of documents.

If you are not in this privileged situation, things might get a bit more complicated: you need to have a valid, signed job offer from a company in Brazil to be able to apply for a category V visa. Only after the Ministry of Labor has approved your contract will your visa application be processed.

Going abroad and working in a completely different environment for a number of years is always a rewarding experience, and we are sure that you will enjoy your time in Brazil to the fullest. But remember: come prepared. Good luck!

Founded in 2007 and with over 900,000 members in more than 360 local communities around the world, InterNations is the largest expatriate network worldwide. It was created to help members meet other expats from around the world living in their city and connect with them in an online and offline environment through numerous events and activities.

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