Juliana Mello

Juliana Mello

The Brazil Business


European job hunt in Brazil

Juliana Mello

Juliana Mello

The Brazil Business


In this article, we outlined the situation of the Brazilian market for European professionals looking for a relocation in the country. Check the areas that offer the best opportunities, the requirements to apply for the jobs and the salaries paid in here.

The idea of Brazil becoming a paradise for employment is crossing the Atlantic and drawing the attention of Europeans, especially Portuguese, Spanish, Italians and Greeks. The Brazilian companies are now taking advantage of the Euro zone’s economic crisis and high rates of unemployment, to fill their needs for skilled professionals. While in Europe there are skilled professionals all over the place, in Brazil, there is a lack of qualified workforce in several areas.

According to the Ministry of Labor, in 2011, 70.524 foreigners were authorized to work in Brazil, a number 25,9% higher than the previous year. Aware of the country's need of qualified workforce, the Brazilian government supports the arrival of foreign skilled professionals with intentions to work in Brazil.

The lack of professionals is one of the major deficiencies of the Brazilian economy affecting about 69% of the industries. The shortage of skilled labor in the country is a result of the expansion of the economic activity in recent years, aggravated further by the lack of massive investments in education that the country urgently needs.

With a current unemployment rate of 5.5% (IBGE), Brazil is in a much better situation than some European countries, such as Spain (23.6%), Greece (22%), Portugal (14.9%) and Italy (9.3%).

Promising areas

The large majority of the positions available for foreigners in Brazil are for high skilled professionals. Down below, you can check the areas that have the best job prospects in the country.

Engineering and architecture

Overall, there is a high demand for engineers of all specialties in Brazil. To give an idea, the Brazilian institutions annually graduate around 40.000 engineers, when the country's demand for these professionals is of 70.000. Civil construction is one of the sectors with the largest lack of engineers.

To conduct and sign projects as an engineer or architect in Brazil is mandatory to be registered at the one of the local Creas (Council of Engineering, Architecture and Agronomy).

Oil and gas

Especially after the pre salt investments the sector of oil and gas sector have been increasing and absorbing tones of professionals. There are very few schools in Brazil that graduate professionals in this area, what turned the oi nan gas one of the sectors with the greatest shortage of skilled labor, especially engineers and technicians of all specialties and geologists.

The Brazilian oil and gas sector offers salaries up to 70% higher than what it is paid in European countries. Good news is that the local professionals are demanding wages so high (because they are very disputed by companies) that it becomes cheaper to bring a professional from another country. This area also responds for 30% of the authorizations given to foreigners to work in Brazil.

Civil Construction

The major infrastructure investments that Brazil suffered in the last years. The sector is absorbing a lot of engineers and technicians workforce. Considering that the technology used in civil construction in Brazil is still outdated, professionals that dominate the cutting-edge foreign technology in construction are highly in demand.


Everyone that went to a Brazilian hospital (specially the public ones) knows how incredibly crowded they are. Due to the lack of qualified doctors, there is a long wait for assistance or medical procedures, such as surgeries and exams. That situation is partly due to the lack of qualified health professionals in Brazil.

The federal government is preparing a decree to facilitate the entry into Brazil of graduated doctors from other countries, despite the National Council of Medicine is against the measure.

Air traffic and aircraft industry

Due to the expansion of air traffic in Brazil, the sector is contracting foreign flight operators and supervisors to supply the current demand. With the World Cup and the Olympic Games to come, the number of workers hired is expected to increase exponentially in the next years.


In Brazil, is considered a technician every person that did not necessarily go to college, but attended to a training course and specialized its professional skills. The technical schools were created to quickly prepare specialized labor to the Brazilian market, as their training lasts for a maximum of two years. The technician can act in several sectors, such as Health, Industry, Environment, Business, Tourism, Security, Education, Construction, Management, Infrastructure, Nutrition, Food production, Design, Communication etc.

The growth of the national industries has created a lot of positions for technicians of all kinds. The civil construction lacks technicians in civil construction, food industry, rubber and plastic industry, environment, petrochemical industry.

Another good differential for technicians wishing a working contract in Brazil is the ability to operate and set up the foreign machinery used in the Brazilian industries.

Leadership positions

The number of foreign executives occupying management positions in Brazilian companies increased 78% from 2010 to 2011, especially in multinationals. Currently there are 1.338 professionals in leadership positions, 137 of them from Portugal, 116 from Spain, 71 from France, 68 from Italy, 41 from Germany and 27 from UK.

Information Technology

Although the number of IT companies operating in Brazil is increasing, the sector lacks skilled labor to supply its demand. According to IAB Brasil, there are currently 30.000 open jobs available in the country.

The top 10 most rare professionals in Brazil

The mismatch between supply and demand for highly skilled labor is not new in Brazil. But, in some carreers, this blackout of qualified labor reaches really alarming levels. The following professionals are so scarce that are rarely available on the market.

1) Oil and gas: Upstream engineers and technicians

2) Construction: managers and directors of incorporation with a focus on prospecting lands

3) Energy generation: construction engineer and manager

4) Agribusiness: agricultural manager

5) Accountability: Tax planning manager (indirect taxation)

6) Accountability: Tax planning manager (international planning outbound)

7) Technology: sales manager for Latin America

8) Technology: Cloud computing engineer

9) Technology: services manager

10) Education/Publishers: sales manager

Source: Revista Exame 2012

Saturated areas

If on the one hand Brazil has a lot of job opportunities and high demand for some professionals, on the other hand, some areas are completed saturated, such as:

  • Communications (Public Relations, Marketing, Journalism, Advertising )
  • Professors and teachers in general
  • Dentistry
  • Psychology
  • Law
  • Business administration (except for leadership positions)
  • Drivers

Diploma validation

The validation of foreign diplomas in Brazil can be very tricky. The process starts in the country where the document was issued, where the person will enter with a request to authenticate the paperwork in a Brazilian consulate. The documents will be sent to Brazil and translated to Portuguese by a sworn translator.

After those two steps, the applicant can enter with a request to validate his diploma in a Brazilian higher education institution, where he intends to get the equivalence. The registration can only be done by public universities. Each university has a different process and amount of fees to pay.

It is important to note that without the diploma validation, a high education degree acquired abroad have no formal use in Brazil. It is as if the person have no degree whatsoever.

Work visa

The work visa is expensive and complex for the companies. Sometimes, it is more worthwhile to repatriate a Brazilian working abroad than to hire a foreign professional. Although the Federal Government is working on simplifying and speeding up the entry of foreign professionals precisely in areas with lack of labor, the process is still very bureaucratic and time consuming.

The Government intention is to change the Brazilian immigration policies before the end of this year. The idea is to accelerate the relocation process only for qualified professionals that are missing in the country, sort of a selective immigration.

Foreigners are not allowed to exercise any activity that generates money in the Brazilian territory without having a proper work visa. If caught in an irregular situation, the person can be expelled from the country and the company that employed him can be fined.

Among the 3.834 permanent work visas issued last year, around 1.400 were destined to leadership positions such as administrators, directors, managers, and executives.

For further information about the work visa in Brazil check here.


According to the Federal Constitution, the foreign professionals should have the same salaries than Brazilians. The minimum salary in Brazil is BRL 622.00. Using this value as reference, each category of professionals have its minimum wage established. Those are the minimum wages to be paid for some professions in Brazil.

Position Salary
Architect BRL 5.573
Engineer BRL 5.620
Accountant BRL 6.967
Lawyer BRL 6.137
Technicians BRL 1.940
Flight supervisor BRL 2.482
Doctors BRL 9.813

Of course, those are only the minimum salaries to be paid to each category. Actually, the wages vary a lot from this pattern. It is not uncommon to see technicians with a paycheck of BRL10.000 or engineers gaining more than BRL 30.000 a month, especially in the oil and gas industry.

Check in the table below a comparison of four executive leadership positions' wages in Brazil and in Europe.

Position UK Italy Spain Brazil
Commercial Manager BRL 18.153 BRL 16.073 BRL 15.672 BRL 20.000
Commercial Director BRL 31.724 BRL 23.105 BRL 19.891 BRL 34.000
Marketing Manager BRL 21.997 BRL 15.069 BRL 15.602 BRL 19.500
Marketing Director BRL 41.769 BRL 25.516 BRL 23.306 BRL 35.000

Most sought Brazilian regions

The main destination of foreign professionals in 2011 was the states of São Paulo (32.044), Rio de Janeiro (23.989), Minas Gerais (1.590), Espírito Santo (1.453).