Portugal is one of the poorest countries in the EU, with a GDP per capita that is higher than that of Greece and Eastern European countries, so moving to work in Portugal may not be the best choice.
The country has recently become more focused on the tertiary sector, which employs about 70% of the workforce.
Although it is not Germany, the unemployment rate in Portugal has continued to fall in recent years and now stands at 6.0%.
Work in Portugal
Non-EU citizens need a work visa to work in Portugal. There are different types of visas:
You must have a job offer from a Portuguese company
2.Work visa for highly qualified workers
If you have exceptional qualifications in your profession and earn at least 1.5 times the national average gross annual salary in Portugal. Examples of highly skilled workers are scientists, medical professionals and engineers.
3.Work visa for self-employment
If you own a business or provide services, you can apply for a self-employment visa in Portugal. If you are a digital nomad, this is the perfect visa for you.
4.EU Blue Card
EU- Blue Card allows its holder to live and perform highly skilled work in Portugal. This card can be granted to a national of a third country who meets the necessary requirements.
5.Visa for seasonal work
You must present an employment contract or a valid offer of employment for seasonal work (for a period of 90 days or less) in one of the following sectors:
- Agriculture, livestock, hunting, forestry and fishing
- Hospitality industry, restaurants and the like
- Food, liquor and tobacco industries
- wholesale and retail trade
- Land transport
To work in Portugal, you must know Portuguese, even if you are a professional. In cities like Porto or Lisbon, knowledge of Portuguese is almost always required, given the strong competition.
Currently, the demand for personnel who can speak other languages besides Portuguese is increasing, especially in the tourism, real estate and call center sectors.
Given the large number of British retirees living in Portugal and the tourists vacationing in Portugal each year, it is not uncommon for companies to hire people who know English.
These sectors currently have the greatest employment opportunities:
- call center
- IT professionals
- health, doctors, nurses, etc.
- tourism, hotel staff, catering, etc.
In Portugal it is common to send the applications online. Remember to write your CV according to the europass template.
Work in Portugal, useful resources
- Working in Portugal, for citizens of the European Union
- Enic / Naric, for the recognition of your qualifications
Work in Portugal, job search
To look for work you can use:
1 LinkedIn: try to make the most of this social network
2 Eures, the European mobility website
3 Portuguese Employment Center, contains job offers as well as a lot of information and advice. In Portuguese only
4 Job search websites in Portugal
- Bonsempregos, many vacancies
- Jobted, website with over one million visitors daily
- Jobs in Lisbon, job offers in Lisbon
- Trabalhorapido, job offers sorted by categories and cities
- Expressoemprego, job offers and other information
- Sapo, job offers in Portugal and beyond
- Net-empregos, old job search website
- Mitula, job offers sorted by categories
- Custojusto, classifieds website
- Haygrove, agricultural jobs
- Agroemprego, agricultural jobs
Working in Portugal in tourism
About 10% of the country’s GDP comes from tourism. Portugal is visited by over 20 million tourists every year, and the main destinations are Lisbon, Porto, the south coast and the Algarve. Therefore, during the summer season it is possible to find employment in this sector. However, do not forget that the competition is very high.
There are some prestigious tourism schools in Portugal, and the Portuguese are on average excellent linguists, but as tourism increases every year, it is possible to find work if you know Portuguese and English, with only English it is more difficult, but remember that wages are on average low.
You will need to translate your CV into Portuguese and hand it over in person or search via the Internet on the following websites:
- Turijobs, job offers in tourism
I would also like to point out the largest Portuguese hotel groups to which you can send your CV:
- Pestania, the largest Portuguese hotel group
- Vilagale, with more than 30 hotels between Portugal and Brazil
- Sanahotels, with about fifteen hotels in Portugal
- Tivolihotels, with 20 hotels in Portugal
Working in Portugal in call centers
Working in call centers in Portugal is one of the most in-demand jobs for foreigners, as many outsourcing companies have their offices in Portugal, especially in Lisbon.
Work in call centers consists of handling incoming or outgoing calls
- An inbound call center agent handles incoming calls from customers. In this case, your job is to take calls from customers and answer questions, take complaints or solve problems.
- An outbound call center agent calls customers or prospects to give them information about products or services or to make sales
Sometimes the work is not done on the phone, but via chat or email service.
Salaries range from €700 per month (with shared housing) to about €1,000 without housing, plus bonuses (which vary by project). Given the state of the real estate market and current rental prices in Portugal, I recommend opting for paid accommodation. Companies have different policies regarding accommodation: some offer permanent accommodation, some only for the first three months, some offer a financial contribution.
Employment contracts are either temporary, (usually for 6 months / one year) or project-based. The training period is usually remunerated. The legal entitlement to vacation is twenty-two days per year.
The quality of work in call centers in Portugal depends greatly on the nature of the work, the environment, the colleagues, the pace of work, etc.
Unfortunately, the chances of making a career are slim. Those in leadership positions are unlikely to leave their jobs. Therefore, opportunities to make a career as a team leader, operations manager, service delivery manager, etc. are almost nil.
It’s certainly a line of work that does not offer great prospects, but if you have nothing better to do, it’s an experience to be had. However, keep in mind that someone can make a career, someone may find a better job, and others can definitely gain experience and improve a foreign language. Some companies offer free Portuguese and English courses.
In many, but not all offices, there is a company canteen where you can eat for €2.50.
Some companies offer their employees health insurance from the first day of work, others only after a certain length of service. Paid sick days usually start after the sixth month of employment, but the first three days are not paid anyway.
You can find work in a call center in two ways:
- by referral: an employee of the company submits your resume to the department HR
- by application: apply for vacancies or submit a self-application on the company’s website
Let me show you some call centers in Portugal:
- Teleperformance, French multinational company. Specializing in outsourcing, the company employs 223,000 people in 350 contact centers in 76 countries around the world
- Sitel, U.S. outsourcing company that operates more than 140 call centers in 27 countries around the world
- Webhelp, French BPO company that operates in 29 countries and employs more than 35,000 people
- Arvato, a global services company headquartered in Germany. Its services include call centers
- Fujitsu, the company offers customer support services in 30 different languages at its offices in Lisbon
- Transcom, company operating in Europe, North and South America, Asia and North Africa. It has 30,000 employees in 52 contact centers
How to start a business in Portugal
If you want to start a business in Portugal, you should know that, contrary to the bad reputation of the Portuguese bureaucracy, starting and running a business is not complicated. Without going into corporate law issues, which you can address with your trusted tax advisor, I would just like to point out that Portugal ranks 34th in the World Bank’s ease of doing business rankings.
Given the great importance of the tourism sector, it might be a good idea to start a business in the hospitality industry. There is no lack of competition, but if you have experience, clear ideas and a small investment capital, you could have a good chance of success.
Finally, there is the Guide for the Self-Employed, which contains information for the self-employed.
Work in Portugal, conclusion
One advice I would like to give you, even if you already have a work contract, is not to go without money (unless you have paid accommodation). Because in the beginning you will have expenses. You will have to pay the first month’s rent, the deposit, transportation, etc. So take at least €1,000 / €1,500 with you so you can reach your first salary.
Be careful with those who ask you for money to offer you a job, as well as an illegal practice. It is a scam.