Finding the right career opportunity can be difficult, especially if you’re considering moving abroad, as many employment opportunities demand particular language abilities in addition to specialty. However, those who intend to go to Portugal and establish residency there won’t need to worry too much because there are numerous work prospects in Portugal for foreigners.
In this article, you’ll get a general overview of jobs for foreigners in Portugal, as well as the Portuguese labor market.
How to Find a Job as a Foreigner in Portugal
Whether you’re a digital nomad looking for a remote work opportunity, a student interested in taking up a quick summer job, or a permanent resident seeking to start a career in Portugal, you might want to know some important facts about the job market in Portugal and the industries that are open to expats. This way, you’ll be able to make the most informed decisions regarding future job opportunities in the nation.
The Job Market in Portugal
The accessibility of the Portuguese job market differs for those who speak English and those who speak Portuguese, as many opportunities heavily rely on language soft skills. Yet, with that said, more and more businesses are setting up shop in Portugal and are particularly seeking fluent English speakers.
In general, Portuguese speakers will have greater employment options in specialist fields, like those for architects, accountants, engineers, doctors, and lawyers. There are still several in-demand professions that require English speakers. For instance, there are many job openings for developers in Lisbon in the IT and software industries, where the labor market is currently open to foreign applicants.
Over the past five years, Lisbon, in particular, has developed into a start-up hub, expanding the number of English-speaking opportunities for foreigners. This increase in start-up activity has undoubtedly been strengthened by hosting the Web Summit. However, the start-up industry hasn’t been the only one growing across the country; you’ll note that Portugal’s tourism industry is booming, making it simple to get an English-speaking job there.
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Restaurants, bars, and hotels are constantly on the lookout for English speakers, especially in Lisbon, Porto, and the Algarve, where tourism is at its peak. The only qualification you’d truly need is your English language proficiency.
With even the most elementary command of Portuguese, your prospects of finding employment in the tourism industry will significantly increase. However, wages may not match those in other countries’ hospitality industries, primarily due to the average salaries in Portugal being generally lower than those of other countries.
On the other hand, if you’re searching for simple summer jobs that allow you to spend your free time exploring the city and relaxing on the beach, you might consider an employment opportunity with one of the many call centers headquartered in Lisbon. The only prerequisites to getting jobs in customer support centers in Portugal are speaking English or another European language.
Where are the jobs for foreigners in Portugal?
You can easily find English-speaking jobs in the IT sector, the tourism and hospitality industries, as well as at multinational corporations, customer support centers, and language schools. Since several of these positions need a high degree of English proficiency, being a native speaker already gives you a significant edge.
Being bilingual or, even better, trilingual has additional benefits. Portugal is home to significant international businesses, including Google, Amazon, and Uber. For all these occupations in Portugal, speaking English and other European languages will be a substantial plus because they all emphasize hard and soft skills, including verbal and communication skills. A college degree will also be necessary for the majority of these companies.
Some of the most in-demand jobs for expatriates in Portugal are:
- Web developers (backend and frontend)
- Sales representatives
- Customer support agents (not only in call centers, 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 center is incredibly easy and requires nearly no qualifications at all. You only need to be able to speak English. Any additional language is a plus. Moreover, you’ll need to maintain your composure because cold phoning all day can entail long hours and a difficult job.
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 customer support 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 in Lisbon and 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 are not limited to customer support but extend to other positions. 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 and 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 intelligent, 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, where 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 worldwide. Salaries start at €9 per hour, and the working environment is very relaxed.
English-speaking Jobs for Expatriates in Portugal
More and more jobs are becoming available to foreign nationals in Portugal, particularly in IT and tech companies. Since code is written in English, having a solid knowledge of the language is typically a must for these positions. The alternative is to search for international companies with offices in Portugal and apply for opportunities based in English.
Some of the big co-working spaces in Lisbon might be good places to hang out, like Second Home Lisboa, Startup Lisboa, and Heden. You might even get hired if you have conversations with an entrepreneur or a founder in a coffee shop.
Seasonal Jobs for English Speakers
Unsurprisingly, getting English-speaking jobs in Portugal during the summer break is easier. For instance, many hostels, hotels, surf camps, and restaurants in the Algarve will compete for summer employees, especially those with a strong command of the English language.
Language Teaching Jobs for Foreigners in Portugal
You can find English-speaking jobs at educational institutions all around Portugal, which could entail, for instance, teaching English to a group of students through a school or privately. Many administrative positions are also available, albeit some may also require Portuguese.
The key players in Portuguese English language teaching jobs 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, read our article: How to Teach English in Portugal.
Freelance Jobs for Expatriates in Portugal
Nowadays, many digital nomads find the combination of freelancing and living in Portugal extremely appealing. They get to work flexible hours while exploring a captivating nation and live in it for as long as their Portugal Digital Nomad Visa is valid.
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 while 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, several opportunities are 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.
Working Conditions and Salaries in Portugal
In Portugal, a full-time job is roughly 40 hours a week, eight hours per day.
The minimum wage in Portugal is lower than in most of its EU counterparts, and it is currently at €822.5 per month based on 12 payments per year or €665 based on 14 payments. These kinds of salaries will be relevant for the tourism and hospitality sector and customer support centers. Although, depending on where you work in hospitality, you might significantly boost your income in tips.
Don’t be disheartened; if you work in a start-up or professional service, the pay will jump steeply in these 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 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
- Net Empregos (website in Portuguese)
- Empregos Online (website in Portuguese)
Frequently Asked Questions
What types of jobs are in Portugal?
The most popular jobs in Portugal include tourism and hospitality-related work. Many work opportunities are available in retail, dining, 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.
Do you need to speak Portuguese to work in Portugal?
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.
Is it easy to get a job in Portugal as a foreigner?
Yes, foreigners can quickly get jobs in Portugal with accommodation if they speak English and other European languages. This is especially true if they work with customer support centers like Teleperformance, who are willing to relocate them.
What kind of jobs are in demand in Portugal?
Many jobs in IT and educational institutions are in demand in Portugal.
What jobs pay well in Portugal?
Job opportunities in the hospitality sector, IT and technology, and education all pay well, especially if you are a native English speaker with a higher education.
How can I get a job in Portugal?
There are many online jobs in Portugal for English speakers that can facilitate your relocation, such as a job with a customer support center. Alternatively, you could find tourism jobs in Portugal for those who speak English.