Portugal is a state with a long history, located in the very west of Europe between Spain and an impressive coastline of the Atlantic Ocean. The country is a member of the European Union and other major international organizations, such as NATO.

The Portuguese economy reached its peak in the 1990s (outperforming the EU average), but since the new millennium and up to the present day has fluctuated considerably and has been heavily dependent on foreign borrowing. Of course, this has had a negative impact on the labor market and the standard of living in Portugal.

In the last few years the government has managed to stabilize the situation and regain the trust of foreign investors. Working in Portugal for foreigners from third countries in 2024, as a way to significantly increase earnings, is not the best choice compared to other developed countries. This is evidenced by the unemployment rate, which this year is – 5-6%, and among young people this figure exceeds 20%. It is worth noting that over the past year the employment situation has improved considerably.

Work in Portugal

Nevertheless, everyone has his own reasons for moving to Portugal for employment and not only, maybe it is a family emergency or a desire to immigrate to Europe forever. You can find a job, for example, in tourism or agriculture. The following article discusses how to find a job in Portugal in 2024, the requirements for foreigners, available jobs and salaries.

How to go to work in Portugal

Employment in Portugal for foreigners depends on competition with locals and citizens of the European Union. Despite the gradual increase in the number of jobs, and as a consequence an increase in employment, many graduates of Portuguese universities are still having difficulty finding a job.

What about immigrants, especially those from third countries. Initially, it is worth paying a lot of attention to researching the labor market at a given time and assessing your chances of success. We will talk about available jobs in Portugal a little later. Now let's focus on the employment procedure itself.

Labor migration to Portugal implies a prior contract with a local employer. That is, the applicant has the opportunity to visit the country as a tourist, say, in order to look around the place or to be interviewed. But this will not allow you to immediately start working in Portugal.

In order to be legally employed, a work permit (Autorização de Trabalho) must be obtained and the corresponding visa opened at the Portuguese Consulate in your country. Before this, the vacancy must be approved by the Portuguese Institute for Employment and Training (IEFP). The main requirement here is that there are no Portuguese or European candidates for the job.

If the employment contract is signed and the conditions are met, the foreigner will be issued a work permit, usually valid for up to 6 months, with the right to extend. The application process is quite bureaucratic, sometimes taking over six months. In addition to the work permit, in order to live legally in Portugal you will need to obtain a residence permit (Autorização de Residência) and, after arrival, a social security number (Segurança Social) and a tax code (Numero Fiscal de Contribuinte).

The residence permit is issued by the Portuguese Department of Immigration and Borders (SEF) and is also issued through a Portuguese Consulate. The document provides for a short stay of 3 to 12 months or a long-term stay of up to 5 years, renewable for up to 10 years. After 6 years of permanent residence in Portugal it is possible to apply for citizenship.

Job search in Portugal

The main requirements for foreigners for employment in Portugal are sufficient qualifications, experience, education and language skills. For example, quite in demand in this country are considered medical workers. Such specialists need to undergo the qualification confirmation procedure.

With excellent command of English there is a good chance of getting a job at an international company. Jobs in Portugal without knowledge of the language are limited to certain types of seasonal employment, where the basics of English will suffice. Other jobs will require a good level of Portuguese.

Job search in Portugal without intermediaries. How to find a job?

If you want to find a job in Portugal for foreigners from third countries it is very important to choose the city where you will live and to use the most complex approach.

First of all, pay attention to the major cities – Lisbon, Porto and Braga. Be sure to visit the official website of the Employment Service of Next, proceed to the study of all available sources of information on the Internet.

Popular job search sites in Portugal

Reading Portuguese Newspaper Ads

The Portugal News

Correio de Manhã

Diário de Notícias

Jornal de Notícias

Using social networks, including the Portuguese segment

Alternatively, you can try to contact a Portuguese employer directly or find an official recruitment agency. This versatile Yellow Pages resource is handy for your search. You will need the same diligence to prepare a concise but succinct resume and cover letter. Samples are available on many of the above resources.

Jobs and salary in Portugal

Jobs and salary in Portugal

The level of wages in Portugal is slightly below the average of the European Union countries. For example, it is higher than in Poland or the Czech Republic, but lower than in neighboring Spain or Italy. In 2024 the average salary in Portugal after tax is about 850 euros. The minimum since January 1, 2024 is 820 euros.

Average salary in Portugal by profession (euro/month):

  • Company managers – 2,500-3,000

  • Programmers – 1,830

  • Engineers – 1,700

  • Advertisers, designers and managers – 1,200

  • Pharmacists – 975

  • Secretaries – 950

  • Agricultural workers – 600-700

  • Drivers, couriers, waiters, movers – 600-650

The vast majority of Portugal's population is employed in services, around 70-80%. This includes education, health care, tourism, social services, public sector and so on.

Agriculture employs about 9% of able-bodied citizens. The rest are employed in industrial production. It is worth noting that recently there has been a gradual increase in jobs, some of which go to foreigners.

Available vacancies in Portugal in 2024 on the fields of activity are as follows:

  • Seasonal work in tourism, hotel and restaurant business.

  • Temporary work in fishing, agriculture and forestry.

  • The IT and medical industries.

  • Qualified specialists for positions in international companies.

  • Teaching English, with the appropriate skills and certifications.

Finally we would like to note that despite the relatively low cost of living in Portugal, the salary offered by local employers to foreign workers is barely enough to cover daily expenses. But cases are different and everyone makes his or her own choice.

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