These days it seems like everybody is talking about the fast growing Brazilian market and the land of economical opportunities. Together with the sun, beaches and the good food, this seems like a dream for any freelancer.
Every year thousands of foreign workers are relocating to Brazil, hoping to make a decent living and enjoy life at the same time. Sadly, many dreams end up in financial ruin before the dream actually starts. Here are 6 tips for things to consider before taking the leap:
1. Get a Business Visa
The first thing you need to sort out is the visa. If you have no family relations to Brazil you will need to make an active investment in Brazil in order to be granted a business visa.
Currently you will have to invest USD 200 000 into your Brazilian company. You can get away with USD 50 000, but you will then have to commit to employe a number of Brazilian workers within a fixed timeframe.
2. Register a Company
All Brazilian companies are required to have an administrator that is a Brazilian citizen or hold a permanent Brazilian visa.
As a foreigner you can very well own the company, but not legally be the administrative contact person before you have a permanent Brazilian visa and a residential address in Brazil.
It's common to use an interim administrator until the foreign owner gets the permanent visa in place, since you will need to have the company registered as a base for your working permit and visa.
3. Learn Portuguese
If you consider moving to Brazil it should not surprise you that you will need to learn Portuguese at a certain level.
What you need to remember is that if you aren't extremely talented, your Portuguese will not be native and you will always be treated as a foreigner. This is something that can make it harder to get local jobs, but also opens an opportunity to charge higher fees than your Brazilian competitors as long as the quality of your work justifies the fee.
4. It's not cheap
The most fatal misunderstanding that foreigners (especially tourists) have of Brazil is that it's cheap.
Yes, food and drinks are cheap, but if you are settling down in São Paulo or Rio de Janeiro you will find that the cost of doing business is about the same as in Europe.
One exception: Uneducated workforce with limited skills set are relatively cheap in Brazil with a minimum salary of just BRL 510 per month. However it's most likely you will not be interacting with people with this salary level.
5. Devaluation of your network
A common myth is that when you are working online you can work everywhere in the world. It's true to an extent, but if you expect to relay on recurring business from your contact abroad, your venture in Brazil might be short.
In the digitalized design business you will most likely lose your most profitable client within 2 – 3 years after your move.
...forget about Beach and Surfing
Whatever people try to tell you, business in Brazil is happening in São Paulo, and it's on 24/7, except when it's carnival or a soccer matches.
São Paulo is 760 meter above the sea level, and during any holidays you will have to compete with 20 million other people in 8 million vehicles that are all heading 77 kilometers down to the nearest beach in Santos. A trip that will take you at least 6 hours each way.