Finding Work, Work Permits and Umbrella Companies in Nicaragua
If you think it will be easy to find work in Nicaragua, think again. People are paid very low wages for labor. Construction workers, gardeners, maids earn less in a whole day than is paid for the same labor in let’s say the USA or Europe in an hour. So unless you have a special skill that a Nica doesn’t have, you will probably not be able to make a living in Nicaragua.
Being fluent in Spanish is essential to get a job in Nicaragua. Also be aware that working conditions, interaction with the local system (government, business partners, colleagues) might be quite different of what you know from your home country.
Most jobs for foreigners can be found either in the capital Managua or in Granada, which has a big expat community and is the fifth biggest city in the country.
So once you have found a job in Nicaragua, most likely as a teacher at one of Nicaragua’s many English schools or private language institutes or as an employee of a NGO or missionary, you will need to get your papers in order. If you have found a permanent job, your employer will act as sponsor confirming, that you’ll earn a certain amount of money during your stay in the country, thus making it easy to get the work permit. But please note that each work permit is linked to a specific job and sponsorship, so if you want to change your job you will have to go through all the paperwork for a new work permit again.
For NGO workers and missionaries immigration usually grants a one year residency after submitting all the necessary legal documents.
If you don’t have a sponsor and are not working for a mission or NGO, an umbrella company may be the solution for you. These umbrella companies act as your employer and sponsor and will take care of all your tax payments, social security payments etc., without messing with your job. You are free to work with different clients and different contracts while the umbrella company represents technically your employer thus making paperwork much easier during your stay in Nicaragua.