Finding the right job can be complicated in any country, even in your country of origin. If you are thinking of moving to Portugal, or you already have — you might need to find work. The variety of jobs available to expats in Portugal varies vastly, dependant on your skills and the field you want to work in. This article will help you get an overview of jobs for foreigners in Portugal, and an idea of available work in Portugal.
How to find a job as a foreigner in Portugal
Whether your a digital nomad looking for remote work, a student looking for some summer work or a permanent resident looking to embark on a career in Portugal, we advise wising up on some key facts on the job market in Portugal and the industries that are available to expats. Armed with some basic knowledge on jobs for foreigners in Portugal, you can make better and more informed decisions about work options in Portugal.
The job market in Portugal
The job market for Portuguese speakers versus the non-Portuguese speakers is of course different. Don’t let this deter you though — there are more and more companies relocating to Portugal that are looking for native English speakers in particular. As a general rule, there will obviously be more jobs available in professional services for Portuguese speakers. This goes for architects, accountants, engineers, doctors and lawyers.
One area in professional services that is open to expats and English speakers however is IT and software. There are a huge amount of jobs available to developers in Lisbon at present.
Lisbon in particular has become somewhat of a startup hub over the past five years, which has grown the number of jobs for foreigners in Portugal. Being home to the Web Summit has definitely consolidated this growth in start-up action.
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Outside of these growth areas, the tourism and hospitality sector is booming in Portugal. Restaurants, bars and hotels are constantly on the lookout for English speakers (you’ll really increase your chances here with even the most basic grasp of Portuguese). Beware though, these jobs might be quite poorly paid compared to if you have been a hospitality professional abroad.
Read our article on salaries in Portugal for more information on pay. These jobs will be most likely to come up in Lisbon, Porto, and the Algarve, where tourism is strongest.
If it’s a summer job you’re looking for to facilitate lying on the beach on your days off and exploring the city, you can easily get a job in one of the many call centers based in Lisbon. Speaking English, and any other European language are some of the only prerequisites to getting jobs in call centres in Portugal.
Where are jobs for foreigners in Portugal?
As previously mentioned, the hot areas if your a foreigner in the Portuguese job market are mainly in tourism & hospitality, start-ups and call centre’s. Some of these jobs require a high level of English language, so if you’re a native speaker you already have a great advantage here.
Further advantages come from being bilingual or even better trilingual. Some major global corporations have offices in Portugal like google, Amazon, Uber, and many others. Speaking English and other European languages will be a big bonus for getting these jobs in Portugal. Also a college degree will be a requirement for most of these companies.
Some of the most in demand job roles for foreigners in Portugal are:
- Web developers (backend and frontend)
- Sales representatives
- Customer support (not only in call centre’s, but also in multinational companies with offices in Portugal)
- Team supervisors
- Online gaming support
- Real estate agents
- Interpreters and translators
- Project managers
- Mobile test engineers
Remember: There are a lot of companies looking for people who speak German, French, or Spanish, for example. It’s a definite plus here in Portugal if you can speak and write in two or more languages.
Call center jobs for foreigners in Portugal
Getting a job in a call centre is incredibly easy, and requires nearly no qualifications at all. All you will need is to speak English, and another language is a bonus. You’ll need to keep your nerve too, as it can be long hours and tough work cold-calling the whole day through.
Call centers are mostly concentrated in Lisbon and Porto. Here are a few of the big ones:
Connecta Group (website is in Portuguese) is located in Lisbon and Viseu. This is one of the most well-known call centers in Portugal. Besides looking for Portuguese speakers, they also need English- and Spanish-speaking employees. They have over 400 employees and you can apply directly on their website.
Teleperformance is a worldwide call center, with offices not only in Lisbon, but also in Porto, Setúbal, and Convilhã.
You can easily search the website for jobs, and filter your search for opportunities by language, including:
Roles with Teleperformance are sometimes directly for the company, and sometimes subcontracting for organizations like Microsoft (which is not limited to customer support, but also other roles). Depending on the role, salaries start at €9 per hour, and workers generally speak positively of the office environment.
TAP Air Portugal
TAP Air Portugal is a great place to look for a job if you are a travel fan (and who isn’t?). You can search for call center jobs on their website, as well as other types of openings. TAP is a respected company that employs hundreds of people.
The iconic American company, Apple, also has a permanent assistance center in Portugal. They are always looking for smart, dedicated people who want to work for one of the biggest companies in the world. Salaries in the assistance center start at around €9 to €10 per hour depending on the job, and roles are available in more than one Portuguese city.
Sitel is one of the biggest call centers in Portugal in which you can find the most opportunities (mainly in Lisbon and Porto). This company is almost always looking for more employees, with more than 10,000 jobs located around the world. Salaries start at €9 per hour and the working environment is said to be very relaxed.
English-speaking jobs for foreigners in Portugal
These jobs are plentiful — particularly in IT and tech companies. With these jobs, it’s mostly mandatory that your comprehension of English language, including excellent written and verbal command are good. Take a coding course and see just how many doors that opens in today’s job market!
The other route to go down is looking at global corporations who have offices in Portugal, and applying to positions that are English-based.
Some of the big co-working spaces in Lisbon might be a good place to hang out, like Second Home Lisboa, Startup Lisboa and Heden. If you find yourself chatting with a founder in the coffee room you might even land yourself a job that way.
Seasonal jobs for English speakers
Unsurprisingly, it’s easier to get English-speaking jobs in Portugal during the summer break. In the Algarve for example there are plenty of hostels, hotels, surf camps and bars that will be competing for summer employees — particularly those with a good grasp of the English language.
Language teaching jobs for foreigners in Portugal
English-speaking jobs can also be found at educational institutions all around Portugal. This might involve teaching English privately, or to a group of students through a school for example. There are also plenty of administrative roles available, although Portuguese might be necessary too for these.
Where English language teaching jobs in Portugal are concerned the big players are:
- British Council
- Oxford School (website in Portuguese)
- Wall Street English (website in Portuguese)
- Royal School of Languages
It might be beneficial to take a TOEFL (Teaching Of English as a Foreign Language) course to increase your chances of getting these roles.
For more information about teaching English in Portugal, have a look at:How to Teach English in Portugal.
Freelance jobs for foreigners in Portugal
Freelancing and living in Portugal is a hugely attractive option to a lot of people these days. If living in a beautiful sunny country and working flexible hours sounds like a dream, consider freelancing in Portugal.
Opportunities to freelance for Portuguese companies are mainly in:
- Graphic design
- Social media management
- Copywriting and content creation
Also, freelance work as a translator can be highly paid work.
The pay might not be as high as you expect, so consider freelancing for companies in other countries if you choose this as your line of work whilst in Portugal.
If you are interested in becoming a freelancer or self-employed person, read our article: Register as a Freelancer in Portugal with Our Step-by-Step Guide.
If you are interested in working for our partner company, Global Citizen Solutions, then there are several opportunities open to you, many of which are suitable for freelancers. Global Citizen Solutions is a boutique investment consultancy helping expats to find their ideal residency or citizenship by investment program. You can visit their career page below for the latest open positions.
Global Citizen Solutions Careers Page
Working conditions and salaries in Portugal
In Portugal, a full-time job equates to roughly 40 hours a week, eight hours per day.
Minimum wage in Portugal is lower than in most of its EU counterparts, it is currently set at €700 per month based on 12 payments per year, or €580 based on 14 payments. These kinds of salaries will be relevant for the hospitality sector and call centres. Although, depending on where you work in hospitality, you might have a big boost to your income in tips.
Don’t be disheartened, if you work in a start-up or in professional services the pay will jump up quite steeply in these kinds of roles.
For more information about working conditions, check out: Salaries in Portugal.
Do I need a work visa?
If you are an EU citizen, you do not need to have a visa to work in Portugal. It is only requested for people with citizenship outside of the European Union. Find out more about visas in Portugal here:Types of Portugal Visa.
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Where can foreigners find jobs in Portugal?
Here are several useful sites that have daily job offers for foreigners:
- Hays (website in Portuguese)
- Jobs in Lisbon
- Top Language Jobs
- EURES The European Job Mobility Portal
- Net Empregos (website in Portuguese)
- Empregos Online (website in Portuguese)
The most popular types of jobs in Portugal include tourism and hospitality-related work. You’ll see lots of jobs in retail, restaurants, customer service, resorts and hotels. Tech-related jobs in IT are also on the rise in Portugal, and call center work is almost always available. The process to work in Portugal depends on where you’re coming from. Coming from outside the EU, you need to apply for a visa to live and work in Portugal. This is easier if you have a potential employer who will sponsor your visa. In most cases, EU citizens don't need a specific work visa. No, you don’t need to speak Portuguese to work in Portugal. Especially in hospitality and tourism, there are plenty of job opportunities for non-Portuguese speakers. If you speak a language other than English, there are almost always call center jobs for you, too. The easiest way to get a work visa for Portugal is to get a job offer from a Portuguese employer. The manager will submit your job offer to Portuguese authorities, and they will start the visa process. You then complete a visa application in your home country and submit it to your local consulate.
What types of jobs are in Portugal?
How can I work in Portugal?
Do you need to speak Portuguese to work in Portugal?
How do I get a work visa for Portugal?
The most popular types of jobs in Portugal include tourism and hospitality-related work. You’ll see lots of jobs in retail, restaurants, customer service, resorts and hotels. Tech-related jobs in IT are also on the rise in Portugal, and call center work is almost always available.
The process to work in Portugal depends on where you’re coming from. Coming from outside the EU, you need to apply for a visa to live and work in Portugal. This is easier if you have a potential employer who will sponsor your visa. In most cases, EU citizens don't need a specific work visa.
No, you don’t need to speak Portuguese to work in Portugal. Especially in hospitality and tourism, there are plenty of job opportunities for non-Portuguese speakers. If you speak a language other than English, there are almost always call center jobs for you, too.
The easiest way to get a work visa for Portugal is to get a job offer from a Portuguese employer. The manager will submit your job offer to Portuguese authorities, and they will start the visa process. You then complete a visa application in your home country and submit it to your local consulate.
Is it easy to get a job in Portugal as a foreigner? ›
The growing number of international companies based in Portugal has made it easier for expats to work in the country. Job opportunities in the fields of IT, marketing, and in other online and tech jobs are increasing. Jobs in real estate and tourism have long been a safe option for expats.Is it difficult to get a job in Portugal? ›
You may find some obstacles to finding a job in Portugal. There are a growing number of graduates and so competition in the job market has increased, yet there are still shortages for high skilled workers and in growing industries. You can also read about finding jobs in Lisbon, the capital of Portugal.Can you work in Portugal if you only speak English? ›
Job Opportunities in Portugal for English Speakers
Many expats moving to Portugal only speak English. This means jobs in Portugal for expats are various. If you search for a job in Portugal, you'll see that jobs in IT and technology companies are abundant for English speakers.
|Ranking||Job||Gross Annual Salary in Portugal|
|1||General Manager in the Health Sector||120,000 - 150,000 euros|
|2||Commercial Director||100,000-150,000 euros|
|3||Chief Information Officer (CIO)||110,000-140,000 euros|
|4||Shared Service Centre Director||95,000 - 120,000 euros|