Work in Mexico as a Foreigner

Many people go on vacation to Mexico, fall in love with the country to the extent they want to go and live there before they reach the age for Mexico retirement. There are options and opportunities for foreigners to work in Mexico and which one is right for you will depend on your circumstances and skill set.

So, here are a few considerations on how to work in Mexico…

Start Up Your Own Business in Mexico, or Buy an Existing Business

Because Mexico is a tourist and expat destination, the most obvious and common businesses favored by foreigners are bars, restaurants, hotels, real estate and relocation services. Providing enough capital is available to get started and then sustain the time it takes to become established these choices can work out quite successfully.

Doing business in Mexico is easier since the process of incorporation in Mexico has been simplified in recent years and one of the most beneficial changes for foreigners is that they can now hold majority shares in a company. Complexities still exist though if you want to employ people and adhere to Mexico’s labor rules and regulations.

Foreigners living in Mexico will also find the work ethic very different to those back home.  Employees turning up late or not at all, or not fulfilling promises to do something are commonplace and part of the cultural make up.  Foreign employers often believe they can change this and experience failure as the inevitable consequence.

The biggest likelihood to successfully work in Mexico as a foreigner is to be self-employed. If you have extensive knowledge of a particular topic, there are plenty of opportunities to work remotely as a consultant in your particular area of expertise.  One of the biggest advantages of this working arrangement is that you will work in Mexico at  lower cost base – while earning in harder currencies.

Teaching English as a Foreign Language

The eternally popular way of making a living by teaching English is just as prevalent today as it always has been.

English is essential for Mexicans who want to study for a professional qualification and the demand to learn from native speakers is high.

To stand a chance of being employed as an English teacher in a reputable school or language center you will need to hold the TEFL certificate as a minimum requirement. The more prestigious schools will be looking for experience too.

Work in Mexico on a Casual Basis

Casual work is of course a euphemism for working in Mexico without proper permission, or illegally. While some foreigners can and do work on a casual basis the immigration service is not turning so much of a blind eye to this activity like they used to.  Spot checks are being carried out on foreign owned and operated companies and places where foreigners are employed on a cash-in-hand basis.  Expect to be deported if you are caught.

The Legal Way to Work in Mexico

In brief, get a work permit by applying to the Mexican government.  Work permits are granted to people who are sponsored by companies in Mexico, or by foreign companies with operations established there.  People with specific skills that are in short supply in the country will find it relatively easy to get a permit to work in Mexico.

If you are planning to invest in setting up your own business in Mexico you should also qualify for a permit if you are able to meet the minimum investment amount.

Workin Mexico in Social or Religious Communities

This type of work in Mexico is generally done on a voluntary, unpaid basis. However for anyone wishing to experience life in Mexico and help local communities, this might be worthy of consideration. Under these circumstances, foreigners can remain in Mexico for a maximum of six months without having to apply for a work permit.

One other circumstance where you would not have to apply for permission to work in Mexico is if the task in hand will only take a few days to a few weeks. For this purpose, complete the business section on the tourist card when entering the country and this will suffice.

In Conclusion

Relocating to work in Mexico can be challenging but certainly not impossible as many foreigners are already doing so quite successfully.  With some forward planning and patience with the bureaucratic process you could find suitable work to sustain a good standard of life in Mexico.