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Work in Brazil as an Expat

Brazil is a popular destination among expats, thanks to all it has to offer. Large, modern cities such as Sao Paulo offer a fun, fast-paced lifestyle, while the beaches offer the slower, more relaxed lifestyle. In fact, Brazil is famous for its beautiful beaches and its access to the Amazon Jungle. You can also visit caves, waterfalls, the Basilica of the National Shrine of our Lady of Aparecida – the second largest Catholic church in the world, and of course the Christ the Redeemer statue. With all there is to see and do in this country, it’s no wonder so many expats choose to settle here. It is important, however, to be aware of the different ways in which you can earn a living when beginning a new life in this country.

Work Visa

In order to work any type of job in Brazil for which you’ll be earning a paycheck, you’ll need to acquire a work visa. There are several different types, depending on the nature of the work you’ll be doing. For example, there is one for journalists, for athletes and performers, and even one for those working in religious or charitable organizations. The stipulations are pretty much the same for each of these, with small differences in the amounts of time for which they are valid. All of the work visas can be categorized into temporary or permanent residency visa types.

Temporary Work Visa

The temporary work visa is first issued for two years, and then can be extended for an additional two years, but that renewal must be requested at least 30 days before the original has expired. Once these four years are up, your company can help you apply for a permanent residency visa. This is a good option for those who wish to work in Brazil but aren’t sure whether they’d like to settle in Brazil yet – allowing them to get a feel for what this new life would be like. Those who choose to go this route cannot change employers while under the temporary visa without permission.

Permanent Work Visa

The permanent work visa is granted to those who meet the qualifications for permanent residency status. This can be anyone who qualifies for the investment visa or who is working a highly skilled or specialized job that will last for more than two years. To apply for this type of work visa, check with your local Brazilian embassy or consulate to learn the specific qualifications based on your individual case. Brazil’s requirements in these matters are notoriously difficult to navigate, so it’s best to check based on your personal situation.

Starting a Business in Brazil

If you’re seeking to start a business in Brazil, you can do so under the investment visa with a lowered investment amount by employing 10 Brazilians. If you wish to open a company with a different type of visa – not the investment visa – there is no minimum investment required.

Foreigners can open a new company in Brazil by meeting the country’s requirements for having a registered physical address in Brazil. They should also have a local Company Administrator who should be either a Brazilian citizen or at least have a permanent residency visa.

Your Company Administrator will be in charge of legally answering for all actions that the company performs in Brazil. It is also advised to have an attorney on staff to work with the Company Administrator. The next step will be to register the company name, which must abide by a specific set of rules. This can be checked online via the Board of Trade.


To start the application process for your work visa, you’ll first need your employer in Brazil to apply for a work permit to have you there. This will be done at the Brazilian Ministry of Labour and Employment. Your employer will also need to submit a work contract stating the nature and dates of the position/employment agreement. Your employer will also be expected to submit your resume, any certificates necessary for the job, including the degree from your college/university (when applicable), any documents stating your relevant work experience and education and a certified copy of your passport. Everything being submitted must be certified and translated to Portuguese.

Job Landscape

With unemployment rates in Brazil being as high as they are, expats can mostly find jobs in highly skilled sectors such as the IT, engineering, construction, and oil and gas fields.

  • Unemployment Rate: 12%
  • Minimum Wage: R$937 per month (U.S. $287)
  • Major Industries:
    Textiles, shoes, chemicals, cement, lumber, iron ore, tin, steel, aircraft, motor vehicles and parts, other machinery and equipment
  • Labor Force:
    • Agriculture 10%
    • Industry 39.8%
    • Services 50.2%

I hope you enjoyed reading: Work in Brazil as an Expat. If you would like more information, please contact our office HERE. 

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