If you’re in the process of seeking employment in Portugal, whether just starting or already underway, there are a few essential information to consider. The country has a diverse job market, presenting both challenges and employment opportunities for foreigners. And while Portuguese is the official language, there are English-speaking job opportunities available.

Salaries in Portugal vary across industries, and understanding the average compensation for your field is crucial when negotiating job offers.

In addition, Portugal has witnessed a growing number of people searching for jobs recently: students who are searching for a summer side job, remote workers, people planning to move to Portugal soon, and residents already in the country looking to kickstart their careers in Portugal. Whether you’re already in Portugal or planning to move, you have to set a realistic and achievable job-search plan based on the Portuguese job market.

With that said, understanding these dynamics is essential, and having insights into the work culture can significantly impact your approach.

To help make your job searching easier, we’ve put together a comprehensive guide that serves as an indispensable resource for Americans moving to or residing in Portugal.

From an overview of the Portugal job market to insights into the prevailing work culture and salary considerations, this ultimate guide will bring you the information you need on how to get a job in Portugal as an American. Here’s what we’ll cover:

  • The state of the Portuguese labor market
  • The work culture in the country
  • Salaries in Portugal
  • English speaking jobs in Portugal
  • Online jobs in Portugal
  • Useful job websites

An Overview Of The Job Market in Portugal

Networking-in-PortugalCatering to foreigners and locals, Portugal’s job market has shown positive signs of recovery and growth. The country has been experiencing increased foreign investment, particularly in sectors like the tourism and hospitality sector, technology, renewable energy, and services.

The unemployment rate in Portugal had been gradually decreasing, although variations could be observed across different regions. Urban centers such as Lisbon and Porto typically offer more employment opportunities compared to some rural areas.

According to data by Eures, at the end of May 2023, the number of unemployed people registered with the employment services in Portugal stood at 285,855, which represents a decrease of over 10,500 compared to May 2022. 

Key economic sectors driving employment included the tourism sector, which plays a crucial role in providing jobs in hospitality, travel, and related services. The technology sector is also gaining prominence, creating job prospects in IT and engineering, while the focus on renewable energy offers opportunities in sustainability-related fields.

Proficiency in Portuguese is often considered an advantage in the job market. Areas such as medicine, law, media, accounting, and Engineering usually require native Portuguese speakers. However, English proficiency can be sufficient in certain international companies and industries. Also, many foreign companies and English-speaking investors are now based in Portugal, opening many job opportunities for English speakers in IT and Software Engineering. In recent years, there has been a boom in tech and start-ups in Lisbon. Websummit, the largest tech festival in the world, even moved its event to Libson in 2016 to illustrate this.

The work culture in Portugal is generally characterized by a more relaxed atmosphere compared to some other European countries, with professionalism and punctuality still being valued.

Job seekers in Portugal use several channels for their job search, including online platforms, networking events, and recruitment agencies. Crafting a well-prepared CV and cover letter was crucial for the application process.

Job types in Portugal range from permanent positions to temporary contracts and internships, with availability varying across industries. While salaries in Portugal are often lower than in some other Western European countries, they depend on factors such as industry, experience, and location.

It’s important to note that the Portuguese labor market is dynamic, and economic conditions can change. For the most current information, individuals are advised to consult local job portals, government labor market reports, and business news sources. Networking with professionals in the industry can also provide valuable insights and opportunities.

The Portuguese Job Market for Foreigners

Do I need to speak Portuguese to get a job in Portugal?

While it is not always a strict requirement, having proficiency in Portuguese can significantly enhance your job prospects in Portugal. The level of language proficiency expected may vary depending on the industry, job sector, and the specific requirements of the position you are applying for.
However, you can still find jobs in Portugal even if you don’t speak Portuguese. Some of the most in demand professions for English speakers in Portugal are English teaching, project management, customer service, and jobs in hotels, resorts, and tour agencies.

The Portuguese job market for Americans

For native English speakers seeking employment opportunities in Portugal, the job market can present various prospects, particularly in sectors where English proficiency is highly valued. One of the most in demand job sectors for native English speakers is language education. English teachers are often sought after, especially in private language schools, and there is a demand for instructors in both general and specialized English courses.

In addition to teaching roles, the tourism and hospitality industry frequently seeks English-speaking staff, given the importance of tourism in Portugal’s economy. Jobs in hotels, resorts, and tour agencies often require good communication skills in English to cater to international visitors.

The technology and IT sector is another area where English speakers may find opportunities, as many tech companies operate in an international context where English is the primary language for communication. Roles in customer support, project management, or software development could be accessible to those with relevant skills.

Moreover, multinational companies in Portugal often prefer employees with English proficiency to engage in global business activities. Sales and marketing positions, as well as roles in international business development, may require English speakers to facilitate communication with clients and partners abroad.

Remote work opportunities have also become more prevalent, allowing English speakers to collaborate with international companies while residing in Portugal.

Job Vacancies in Portugal


Finding a job in Portugal, as a part-timer or full-timer, is not impossible if you know how to speak English well. However, some jobs require a very high level of English, not just basic English, depending on the field.

You should also be aware of the main industries in Portugal so you can perfectly target the one suitable to your skills and experience.

Portugal has long been considered a top tourist destination. As such, tourism is the main industry in Portugal and a key cornerstone in its economy. You should also be optimistic in your search if you are looking for work in the hospitality sector.

Here’s a list of the most in-demand job categories in Portugal for foreigners:

  • Tourism and hospitality: Given Portugal’s popularity as a tourist destination, there are often job opportunities in hotels, restaurants, travel agencies, and other hospitality-related businesses. Positions may include hotel staff, tour guides, customer service representatives, and event planners.
  • Technology, IT and software industries: The technology sector is growing in Portugal, and job opportunities exist in areas such as software development, IT support, data analysis, and project management. Many tech companies, both domestic and international, operate in Portugal.
  • Education and language teaching: Language schools and international schools often have vacancies for English teachers and educators. Proficiency in English is a valuable asset in various educational settings.
  • Healthcare: Positions in healthcare, including nursing, medical research, and healthcare administration, are available in hospitals, clinics, and research institutions.
  • Finance and banking: Portugal has a well-established financial sector, and job opportunities exist in banking, financial analysis, accounting, and investment.
  • Sales and marketing: Businesses across industries require professionals in sales and marketing to promote products and services. This includes roles in advertising, public relations, and digital marketing.
  • Engineering and construction: With ongoing infrastructure projects and developments, there are opportunities for engineers, architects, construction managers, and skilled tradespeople.
  • Renewable energy: Portugal has been investing in renewable energy, and there are job opportunities in sectors such as solar and wind energy, as well as research and development in sustainable technologies.
  • Customer service: Many companies, including those in the telecommunications, technology, and e-commerce sectors, hire customer service representatives and call center agents to handle inquiries and support.
  • International business and trade: Multinational companies operating in Portugal may have vacancies in international business, trade, and export-import roles.
  • Remote and digital jobs: The rise of remote work has expanded opportunities for individuals to work for international companies while residing in Portugal. This includes roles in digital marketing, content creation, programming, and more.

Other common types of jobs for English speakers in Portugal include:

  • Restaurants and bars (cooks, waiters, supervisors)
  • Real estate agents
  • Online support agents (In English or any European language)
  • Sales representatives
  • Accounting and planning
  • Content and copywriters, and SEO specialists for remote opportunities
  • Graphic designers

Note that it will be a plus if you speak another European language like German, French, or Spanish, for example. As we mentioned, Portugal is always full of tourists, and they are usually from different countries, English and non-English speaking ones. Check out the following list of companies always searching for foreign languages in Portugal:

Take a look at our Portugal Citizenship Guide 2024: All you need to know

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Job Salaries in Portugal

salaries in portugalThe average minimum salary in Portugal is lower than in the rest of the EU countries. As of January 2024, the national minimum wage in Portugal is €820.00 per month (up from the €760 minimum wage in 2023).

Portugal has a government-mandated minimum wage, and employers in Portugal who do not pay the minimum wage may be subject to punishment by the Portuguese government.

Although the Portuguese minimum wage is low, the cost of living in Portugal is significantly lower than in other European countries.

There is always a chance for you to get a highly paid job in different professions, particularly if you are working for a larger company or an international company. Here’s a guide with more detailed information about the Salaries in Portugal

Average annual salary in Portugal

The average annual salary in Portugal varies by profession, qualification, and years of experience. For a highly skilled professional, the average annual salary is around €22,500, which is about $24,000.

Work Culture in Portugal

The Portuguese work culture reflects a blend of professionalism and a laid-back atmosphere. With a strong emphasis on building positive professional relationships, the work environment in Portugal is often characterized by collaboration and open communication.

In terms of professional life, Portugal values dedication and commitment to tasks. Employees are generally expected to meet deadlines and fulfill responsibilities diligently. However, the atmosphere tends to be more relaxed compared to some other European countries, encouraging a friendly and supportive workplace culture.

There’s no specific commonality in company culture in Portugal, as it will differ from one company to another and even from city to city. However, there are two common categories in Portugal:

1- Startups have a fast-paced, hands-on attitude, do not require a lot of bureaucracy, and tend to be agile. These workplaces, which you will easily find in Lisbon, Porto, Braga, or Aveiro, to name a few, tend to be competitive but overall welcoming and friendly.

2- On the other hand, older and more traditional industries may be more set in their ways. Operations in these companies rely heavily on hierarchies, workers may place a lot of importance on ranking and social status, and the overall atmosphere may be competitive and resistant to change. When in doubt, go for a slightly more formal dress code, such as business casual, in more traditional companies.

One notable aspect of work culture in Portugal is the importance placed on building personal connections with colleagues. Establishing strong interpersonal relationships is often seen as key to effective teamwork and project collaboration. Socializing outside of work is common, and participating in team-building activities or after-work gatherings is a great way to foster camaraderie.

A healthy work-life balance is highly valued in Portugal. The concept of striking a balance between professional and personal life is ingrained in the culture, contributing to the well-being of employees. Employers often recognize the significance of maintaining this balance and may offer flexible working hours to accommodate individual needs.

When it comes to maternity and paternity benefits, Portugal has implemented policies that support families. Maternity leave is typically generous, providing mothers with the necessary time to recover and care for their newborns. Additionally, paternity leave is becoming increasingly recognized, allowing fathers to actively participate in the early stages of parenthood. Please note that you are entitled to parental leave and benefits if you have paid social security contributions for at least six months and for the quarter immediately preceding the month of the birth.

Labor Laws and Labor Rights in Portugal

Business laws in UKIn Portugal, as we previously mentioned, the typical working week is from Monday to Friday, with a total of 40 hours of work per week. Full-time employees are entitled to annual leave of 22 days, on top of the compulsory nine days of public holidays.

Each company can set its own schedules, but a typical workday in Portugal starts at 9:00 and ends at 18:30, with a one-and-a-half-hour lunch break in between. You are not expected to work on the weekends unless otherwise stated in your work contract, and most Portuguese do not.

Employment contracts in Portugal work similarly to many European countries, with permanent, fixed-term, part-time, and intermittent work contracts the most common methods of employment.

Notice periods in Portugal tend to vary according to years of service. Minimum notice periods are:

  • 15 days for employees with less than one year of service.
  • 30 days for employees with 1-5 years of service.
  • 60 days for employees with 5-10 years of service.
  • 75 days for employees with over 10 years of service.

Check the rights and duties for foreign workers in Portugal, as mentioned on the website of the Portguese government. 

How to Find Jobs in Portugal as a Foreigner

Navigating the competitive job market, not only in Portugal but also in the European Union, demands a strategic approach. If your job search is focused on the EU, securing an employment contract or a job offer before relocating is essential. Completing paperwork before your move ensures a smoother transition and legal compliance.

For those exploring job opportunities in Portugal online, crafting a compelling CV and a highly motivated cover letter is crucial. Employers in Portugal generally appreciate concise 1-page CVs; although for more technical roles, extending to 2 pages is acceptable, exceeding this is rare.

Be prepared for the Portuguese hiring process, which may take time. Patience is key, and remember that a lack of immediate communication is not necessarily negative. Expect various interview filtration stages, including personal and technical assessments. If asked about your Portuguese proficiency, don’t panic — especially for positions in start-ups or multinational corporations, English proficiency is often sufficient.

Networking plays a pivotal role for foreign job seekers, particularly in small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Speculative applications are often welcomed. Consider joining expat networking groups in Portugal, such as Meetup and InterNations, as they offer casual settings to explore potential job opportunities.

In the upcoming section, we will delve into specific areas that can aid your online job search, providing insights into various opportunities across Portugal.

Best job boards in Portugal


EURES, the European Job Mobility Portal, is a cooperation network formed by the public employment services to facilitate employment mobility among EU members. EURES mainly provides information, advice, recruitment, placements for job matching, and many services for the benefit of workers and EU citizens.

So, if you’re trying to find a job in Portugal or the EU in general, check the EURES Website and become more connected. You will need to send a strong CV and follow the steps shown.

Public job sites

For job searching inside Portugal, you can also check The Portuguese Public Employment Service (Instituto do Emprego), which always helps job seekers and gives information about the available vacancies in Portugal. It all starts with a very unique and attractive CV, and once you apply for it, you’ll find job listings with many jobs inside the country.

Job websites

Several job boards in Portugal are popular among job seekers. Keep in mind that the popularity of job boards can change, and new platforms may emerge. Here are some well-known job boards in Portugal:

  1. NetEmprego: Run by the Portuguese Public Employment Service (IEFP), NetEmprego is a government-sponsored job portal that lists a variety of job opportunities across different sectors (website in Portuguese).
  2. Expresso Emprego: This platform is associated with the Expresso newspaper and offers a wide range of job listings. It covers diverse industries and often includes job postings from reputable companies.
  3. LinkedIn: LinkedIn is a global professional networking platform widely used in Portugal. Many companies post job openings on LinkedIn, and networking on the platform can be valuable for job seekers.
  4. Sapo Emprego: Sapo Emprego is a popular job portal in Portugal, providing a comprehensive range of job listings across various sectors. It is part of the SAPO online network.
  5. Alerta Emprego: Alerta Emprego is an online job portal that aggregates job listings from various sources. It covers a wide array of industries and allows users to search for jobs based on location, category, and company.
  6. Indeed Portugal: Indeed is a widely used job search engine globally, and its Portugal-specific version aggregates job listings from various sources. It allows users to search for jobs based on keywords, location, and other filters.
  7. Glassdoor: Glassdoor is known for providing insights into company reviews and salaries, but it also features job listings. Job seekers can find positions in Portugal and access company reviews to assess workplace culture.
  8. Jobrapido: Jobrapido is an international job search engine that includes job listings in Portugal. It aggregates jobs from various sources, making it convenient for users to explore opportunities.

When searching for jobs, it’s advisable to use multiple platforms to cast a wide net and increase your chances of finding suitable opportunities. Additionally, consider joining professional networking groups and forums to connect with industry professionals and gain insights into the job market. Always check the freshness of job listings, as new opportunities are posted regularly.

*For the websites in Portuguese, you may use a Google Translate Chrome Extension and this will help you translate and understand the job opportunity. 

Embassies and foreign organizations

You should always check the British Embassy in Lisbon, which advertises jobs from time to time. Besides the links that are listed above, you can always hunt for a good opportunity at the British embassy, which will also look very good on your CV, as it is a very well-established institution.


It is worth mentioning that Portuguese newspapers such as Correio de Manhã, Diário de Notícias, Jornal de Notícias (jobs page), and Expresso (jobs portal) may be helpful for you in your job search, and from time to time, they publish available opportunities that may be of interest to you.

Recruitment agencies

Recruitment agencies play a significant role in connecting job seekers with employers in Portugal. These agencies specialize in talent acquisition and often have partnerships with companies across various industries.

Popular recruitment agencies in Portugal include Michael Page, Hays, Randstad, and Adecco, among others. It’s advisable for job seekers to research and contact agencies relevant to their industry or job preferences. Keep in mind that while recruitment agencies can be a valuable resource, it’s also beneficial to explore job opportunities through other channels, such as online job boards and direct applications to companies.

English Speaking Jobs in Portugal

Portugal offers many opportunities for English speakers, and, as stated before, the country’s economy is very dependent on the tourism and hospitality industries, which create a lot of job vacancies for people who have a good command of the English language.

It is worth mentioning that you will mostly find English-speaking jobs in the larger cities in Portugal like Lisbon and Porto. 

Also, you can always keep an eye on the English version of newspapers, such as Portugal Resident, which runs job adverts in its classifieds section. In addition to it, you always keep checking the following websites that will feed you all the time with English vacancies in Portugal: 

Foreign language teaching in Portugal

To guarantee that you find an English teaching job in Portugal, you will definitely need to have a high level of both written and spoken English and proven experience in studying academic English with a BA degree and a TEFL certification.

The good part is you won’t really need to speak Portuguese while starting, but of course, it will be a plus if you know how to say the basics, at least. Although you will only use your English in the classroom, the necessary basics here will be for communication outside the class. 

The major cities that always open doors for English teachers in Portugal are Lisbon, Porto, Coimbra, and Braga. There are more than 30 English language schools across the country.

Contracts are usually generated in the period between September and June, but there are also available opportunities for English summer camps and activities. So, targeting an English teaching job is a very good choice, if you have the teaching skills, of course. 

Have a quick look for jobs at British Council, and on TEFL-associated websites such as APPI or ESL Base. Always keep those tabs open in your browser:

Online Jobs in Portugal

Portugal offers a good variety of online jobs for Americans, especially for those with strong English skills. Here’s a breakdown:

Remote Work: If you already have a remote job with a US company, you might be able to relocate to Portugal under certain visa programs. This could be ideal if your current role is location-independent.

Freelancing and online businesses: Portugal welcomes freelance work and online businesses. You can explore freelance marketplaces like Fiverr or Upwork to find clients for your skills in writing, editing, graphic design, web development, and more.

Specific Online Jobs:

English teaching: As mentioned, this is a popular option for Americans with a TEFL certificate. There’s a demand for online English tutors.

Customer service: Many companies offer remote customer support positions, often requiring fluency in English and Portuguese.

Tech and IT: Portugal’s tech scene is growing, with opportunities for remote software engineers, web developers, and IT consultants.

Explore our Portugal Immigration Guide: Visa options to freely circulate in Portugal

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Applying for a Job in Portugal

economic citizenship requirementsIf your first step is done, and you have already found a suitable job online, be careful because the next steps are important to follow.

Just like most hiring processes, the Portuguese hiring process involves either completing a standard online application or dropping your CV with a sample of your work to prove your experience. Be prepared for both scenarios and always check the requirements of the job process for that particular job opening.  

Attention: don’t send any of your original educational certificates unless you are asked for some copies during the process. You may lose them if you’re not accepted. Instead, you can mention that you have copies and that the original ones will be with you in the interview during the next stage. 

Before getting the job, the company may need to speak with your references to understand more about you. Expect to provide between 1-3 references, which should be previous employers, college tutors, or those who can vouch for your job skills, experience, and character.

You can also search for job training on the Portuguese government website if you would like to improve your skills while looking for a job.

Self-Employment and Freelancing in Portugal

digital nomad tax benefitsFinding a freelance job and being a self-employed person in Portugal is highly recommended because you’ll find a lot of opportunities and enjoy many benefits.

Imagine yourself living in a sunny country with amazing views and beautiful beaches while at the same time having the luxury of working anywhere and on your own work schedule.

In the 2nd quarter of 2017, around 16.9 percent of the Portuguese workforce is self-employed, and you can do this as long as you have the right to work in Portugal. This includes all EU/EFTA citizens and third-country nationals with the relevant visa.

You can choose from a list of different options to be self-employed in Portugal, and steps to register yourself in the country’s system legally with the Portuguese labor authorities and pay your own taxes can easily be done online.

As a first step, you will need to decide which type of business you’re choosing and then start contacting the companies that offer what you need. Companies are typically divided into two categories based on the number of employees: those who work with one individual only, known as Pessoa singular, and companies who employ more than one person, known as pessoa colectiva.

Top self-employed jobs in Portugal

The top self-employed positions in Portugal are no different than work you could do elsewhere. Opportunities to freelance for Portuguese companies are mainly in:

  • Marketing
  • Graphic design
  • Social media management
  • Copywriting and content creation

You can also start a business in the tourism sector. Tourism is one of Portugal’s strongest markets, and with the number of tourists continuously on the rise, working in the hospitality sector is almost always a safe bet. This includes businesses, such as cafes, restaurants, hotels, and guesthouses.

Traineeships, Internships, and Volunteering in Portugal

If you’re a university graduate, its possible to find an EU-based, paid, five-month traineeship with the European Commission Traineeships Office (Bureau de Stages). Otherwise, you can search for internships and placements on AIESEC (for students and recent graduates in the UK) or IAESTE (for students in science, engineering, and applied arts). Internships can also be found at Globalplacement and Intern Abroad.

For those aged between 17 and 30 years old, you can find some volunteer programs at the European Voluntary Service (EVS), where you work abroad for up to 12 months in exchange for board, food, insurance, and a small allowance. Concordia is another organization for volunteer opportunities. For holiday volunteering opportunities, check Workaway

Support While Looking for a Job in Portugal

self-emple-workOne of the amazing facts about the European countries’ system, including Portugal, of course, is that they have a social security regime that supports you in your journey while searching for a job by offering an unemployment allowance to financially help you until you secure a new job.

However, this benefit is not made for everyone, and you will need to have worked at least 360 days in the two years prior to claim the full amount. Other conditions include having the capacity and availability to work.

If you feel like you need some information regarding this part, you can always contact the Portuguese Social Security Office (Seguranca Social) to see if you can get any support.

Requirements to Work in Portugal

Citizens from the European Union (EU) and the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) won’t need a visa or a work permit to start a new job in Portugal. They will just need to register their address with city hall and get a tax number with Finanças

If you’re not a European citizen, you will need to apply for a visa to be able to move and work in Portugal.  To obtain a visa, you will need to find a suitable job and get at least a work contract or a promise of a job contract. Once you get your visa and come to Portugal, you can apply for your work permit and even invite your family for a Family Reunification Visa.

Work visas in Portugal: Do I need a visa to work in Portugal?

If you’re a non EU citizen, you’ll need a Portugal work visa. There are different types of visas for working in Portugal, such as the temporary stay visa (less than one year) and residence (longer than one year). There are also different work visas depending on your work type.

As mentioned above, European citizens from European Union member countries, members of the European Economic Area and Switzerland don’t need a work visa and will only get a Portuguese residence permit (Cartão de Residencia) once they obtain a formal work offer from an employer. Usually, companies encourage hiring Portuguese citizens or European nationals to save the time and effort of hiring someone from outside Europe. So, if you manage to get a work contract in Portugal, make sure that you’re aware of all the requirements to make the process as easy as possible.

Getting a Portuguese residence permit

After obtaining your visa and arriving in Portugal, it’s crucial to initiate the application process for a Portuguese residence permit within three months of your arrival. Essential documents to bring along include your passport, employment agreement, and evidence of health insurance coverage.

Qualifications to work in Portugal

As per the Bologna Process, which most of the European countries have signed up to, the EU citizens’ qualifications are recognized in Portugal. However, what happens if your country is not signed up? Try to contact the National Academic Recognition Information Center (NARIC) in Portugal to ensure your qualifications are recognized.

In addition to this, you can read more and find out if your profession is officially regulated in Portugal and if you have the required qualifications that are recognized in Portugal by checking on the European Commission’s database.

Tips for Finding a Job in Portugal

lawyer golden visa portugalFinding a job in Portugal, like anywhere else, requires a strategic approach and a combination of different methods. Here are some tips to help you in your job search:

Research the job market: Conduct thorough research on the job market in Portugal, focusing on industries with high demand and job openings.

Application process: Familiarize yourself with the application process in Portugal. Pay attention to specific requirements, such as CV formats and cover letter expectations.

Language skills: Highlight your language skills, especially proficiency in Portuguese and other European languages. Many job openings, especially in international companies, value multilingual candidates.

Hard and soft skills: Clearly showcase your hard and soft skills on your CV. Emphasize technical skills relevant to the job and highlight soft skills such as communication and teamwork.

Networking: Actively network with professionals in your industry. Attend events, join online forums, and connect with individuals working in international companies in Portugal.

Professional online presence: Build a strong online presence, ensuring your LinkedIn profile emphasizes your hard and soft skills. Many employers review online profiles as part of the hiring process.

International companies: Target job opportunities with international companies operating in Portugal. These companies often have diverse work environments and may require proficiency in multiple languages.

Use job boards: Regularly check job boards like NetEmprego and Expresso Emprego for the latest job openings. Tailor your application to match the specific requirements mentioned in each posting.

Other European languages: Emphasize your proficiency in other European languages, as this can be a valuable asset. Multilingual candidates are often sought after, especially in roles with international exposure.

Remote work opportunities: Explore remote work opportunities, allowing you to work for international companies while residing in Portugal. Highlight your ability to collaborate across borders.

Application follow-up: After submitting applications, follow up with companies to express your continued interest. This demonstrates your proactive approach and commitment to the application process.

Professional qualifications: Ensure your professional qualifications align with industry standards in Portugal. Mention any certifications or qualifications that enhance your suitability for the roles you are pursuing.

Make the first move: Be ambitious, and feel free to leave speculative applications to the companies you’re dreaming of joining one day; you never know! Try checking the company you are targeting to see if they are more active on social media or have any open opportunities, and send your application (CV attached with a strongly focused cover letter).

Be adaptable: Demonstrate your adaptability to different work cultures and environments. This flexibility is often appreciated, especially in international companies.

 Tax and Social Security Numbers in Portugal


Residents or non-residents must have their NIF number (Número de Identificação Fiscal), which is your tax identification number in the Portuguese tax system that enables you to pay your taxes to your country of residency. If you’re a Portuguese resident, you can go to a local tax office and get one. If you’re not a resident, you’ll need to appoint a fiscal representative to apply for one on your behalf.

A NIF is a unique nine-digit number that you will need to receive your income, pay taxes, and get your NISS.

Your NISS is the Social Security Number (Número de Identificação de Segurança Social) that guarantees you enjoy your rights and benefits as a taxpayer. Foreigners can get a social security number from the social security office if they are legally residing in Portugal.

It is an 11-digit number that identifies you for the purposes of employment and social security benefits, including unemployment benefits.

Paying social security contributions

If you are employed, the amount for social security is automatically deducted from your salary by your employer.

If you are self-employed in Portugal, you will need to declare your turnover and pay social security contributions to enjoy the benefits other employees can receive.

Starting a New Job in Portugal

Once you secure a job offer from a Portuguese employer, you will need a formal employment contract stating the terms and conditions of your employment, including salary, working hours, and duration of the contract.

From one country to another, the labor laws differ. As for Portuguese laws, starting a new job comes with a probation period, which varies from one offer to another according to your work contract. If you get a permanent contract, then your probation period will be between 90-240 days. 

For fixed-term or unfixed contracts, it is between 15-30 days. During this time, the notice period for terminating your contract may be shorter.

Benefits like social security insurance and health insurance also come with your work offer, and you may also get some types of compensation if you’re working from home. This will be agreed upon with the employer.

Visa Requirements for Portugal 2024: Guidelines, Application Process, and More

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FAQ: How to Get a Job in Portugal as an American

Can I get a job in Portugal as an American?

Yes, Americans can find jobs in Portugal. While Portuguese language skills are beneficial, many international companies and roles, especially in larger cities like Lisbon and Porto, may require English proficiency. Check job boards, utilize recruitment agencies, and network to explore job openings. Ensure your qualifications align with industry standards, and consider remote work possibilities.

Is it hard for Americans to get a job in Portugal?

While finding a job in Portugal as an American may have its challenges, it’s certainly possible. Networking, highlighting relevant skills, and demonstrating a willingness to adapt to the local culture and language can significantly improve your chances. Researching industries with demand for English-speaking professionals can also be advantageous.

Can foreigners find jobs in Portugal?

Yes, foreigners can find jobs in Portugal. The country welcomes international talent, and there are opportunities in various sectors, especially in industries like technology, tourism, and healthcare. Proficiency in Portuguese can enhance job prospects, but English is often sufficient, particularly in multinational companies.

How to find jobs in Portugal as a foreigner?

To find jobs in Portugal as a foreigner:

  1. Research the job market, focusing on in-demand industries.
  2. Learn Portuguese, though English is often sufficient.
  3. Use online job boards like LinkedIn.
  4. Connect with recruitment agencies specializing in your field.
  5. Attend networking events to build professional relationships.
  6. Optimize your online presence, especially on LinkedIn.
  7. Tailor your CV and cover letter for each application.
  8. Explore opportunities with international companies.
  9. Ensure your qualifications align with industry standards in Portugal.

Do I need to speak Portuguese to work in Portugal?

While speaking Portuguese is not always a strict requirement, it can significantly enhance your job prospects in Portugal. In some industries and roles, especially customer-facing positions and those involving local communication, proficiency in Portuguese is highly valued. However, in multinational companies, particularly in larger cities like Lisbon, English is often sufficient.

How's the Portuguese labor market?

The Portuguese labor market has been gradually improving. The country has seen positive economic growth, attracting foreign investment and diversifying industries. While the unemployment rate has decreased, regional variations persist. Lisbon and Porto offer more employment opportunities compared to rural areas. Key sectors include tourism, technology, renewable energy, and services.

Are there international companies in Portugal?

Yes, Portugal hosts a significant number of international companies across various industries. Major cities like Lisbon and Porto attract multinational corporations in technology, finance, pharmaceuticals, and tourism. The country’s business-friendly environment, strategic location, and skilled workforce contribute to its appeal for foreign investment.

What are the most in demand jobs in Portugal for foreigners?

Some of the most in demand jobs in Portugal are in the tourism and hospitality sector, which offers opportunities, particularly in tourist destinations. Tech jobs, including software developers and IT specialists, are sought after as the country invests in technology. Call centers, prevalent in customer service roles, are also in demand, especially in cities like Lisbon.

What is the average salary in Portugal?

The average salary in Portugal is €1,100 per month, and the minimum wage is €820.00 per month.

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