Igor Utsumi

Igor Utsumi

Staff Writer
The Brazil Business


Concurso Público In Brazil

Igor Utsumi

Igor Utsumi

Staff Writer
The Brazil Business


The standard process to fill a position offered by the government or other entities is known as concurso público, which can be highly competitive and, in some cases, even demand years of study. This article will explain what concurso público is and why so many in Brazil are interested in it.

Concurso público is nothing else than a selective process to apply for a job offered by the government or by an entity related to it.

This means that it does not really matter if the desired position is that of working in a regulatory agency, as a cashier at metro stations, or becoming a Federal Revenue tax auditor: anyone interested must be approved via concurso público. Even temporary jobs require concursos in Brazil.

Concursos públicos are not all the same. Each position has a different process, with different tests and different stages. Also, usually, each governmental entity organizes only one or two concursos per year, offering various jobs at once.

In Brazil, concursos públicos are not strictly a selective process, but an anti-fraud system as well. This method was structured so governors and politicians could not favor their relatives by giving away administrative positions related to the government. But this is not completely effective, since nepotism is relatively common in Brazil.

How Concurso Público Works

The whole process of the concurso público is usually organized by private companies that provide services for the governmental bodies. The document that defines the rules of the selective process can be found in the edital of the concurso público.

The edital is a sort of announcement that lists every single information regarding the selection process and the job conditions. This document is published before the enrollment period and contains the minimum requirements for the applicants, the offered wage, and any additional information.

The edital for each concurso público varies, and so does the requirements for each position. For example, individuals applying for a bus driver job usually need to have completed middle school in addition to a driver's license for buses, while those seeking a regulation specialist position at Aneel need a graduation degree.

There are a few common requirements, though, like:

  • Being of Brazilian or Portuguese nationality
  • Being able to exercise its political rights
  • Having fulfilled the electoral and military obligations
  • Being at least 18 years old
  • Presenting the declaration of assets when enrolling
  • Not having any criminal record in the past five years

Concursos públicos for positions with higher wages usually require that applicants undergo a test — or, in some cases, a few tests — about specific subjects of the working area, as well as a general knowledge of the Portuguese language. Often, these tests have a high level of difficulty, being compared to a vestibular, which may grant access to a Brazilian university.

Also, there is an enrollment fee that varies widely. The most recent concurso público for a job as a Federal Revenue tax auditor, for example, charged BRL 130 for each applicant.

The time, from the edital was published up to the approval of applicants, varies according to each concurso público. Processes that apply tests to the candidates usually demand more time, taking up to three or four months for the results to be announced after the edital publication.

Foreigners Applying For Concursos Públicos

According to the Brazilian Constitution, foreigners are technically allowed to fill governmental positions if approved by law. Lawyers affirm that, since there are not any laws relating to this subject, as a common rule, foreigners cannot apply for a concurso público.

There are, however, exceptions. Brazilian federal universities can hire foreign professors and scientists, for example. Also, those that were born abroad but were naturalized as Brazilians can participate in any concurso público.

In the edital, it is usually specified that the applicant can only be Brazilian or Portuguese. However, foreigners may apply if the announcement states so.

Why are so many people interested?

The combination of reasonable wages and low minimum requirements is the main reason why so many people apply for concursos públicos. Sometimes, jobs with wages of over BRL 5,000 do not require any graduate degree or previous experience working in the area.

In the most recent concurso for a job at the Federal Police, for example, nearly 120,000 people enrolled to fill 600 positions. For the Federal Prosecutors Office, the number of applicants was about 750,000 for merely 590 positions. This enormous competition led some companies to offer prep courses; it is not also rare to see applicants that are applying for the same concurso público after failing it successively.

But not every selective process for governmental jobs is that hard. While the bar is set really high for those applying for a tax auditor position, for example, the process for jobs with lower wages or that have very specific requirements are way less crowded.