Jobs in Portugal

Finding a job in Portugal, whether for short or long periods of time, is not going to be easy for a number of reasons. Portugal has suffered a recession in recent years and unemployment levels, although about average for Europe, do not look set to improve dramatically from around the 7% mark. The injection of EU funds in the last ten years has helped to ameliorate Portugal's infrastructure, improving road systems and transport, but since the expansion of the EU in 2004 to incorporate several poorer countries in Eastern Europe, Portugal's source of income will probably be cut drastically as funds are channelled towards these new EU members.

For foreigners looking for a job in Portugal you need to bear several things in mind. Those with an EU or EEA (European Economic Area) passport are subject to the same rights and restrictions as the Portuguese themselves. If you do not have an EU or EEA passport you will need to get a visa to work in Portugal BEFORE coming over.

For temporary jobs in Portugal the Algarve offers the most opportunities to work in the tourist industry. Two popular temporary jobs are working in bars (seek out English-owned bars as this is where you stand the most chance of getting work) or handing out invitations to nightclubs, which is paid on a commission-only basis. Neither job will reap you millions, but they are at least more reputable activities than the soul-destroying job of time-share sales. If you are near Vilamoura you could present yourself to the yacht owners as a handyman/woman and, if you don't mind scrubbing decks and other such tasks, you might net yourself a couple of hundred euros here or there.

Teaching English in Portugal is possibly the best option if you are looking for more steady work but are not a qualified professional (such as a doctor or actuary). Whilst having a TEFL qualification is extremely beneficial, you will probably still find work in the smaller towns teaching children English. Try approaching the local school or put up an advert for your services. Teaching English is not an easy option though, so don't be fooled into thinking you can wing it with no preparation.

Wages are low in Portugal and, unless you plan to work for ex-pats with ex-pats, you will need quite a good level of Portuguese to get along. So, when looking for a job in Portugal stay realistic about your salary expectations and, unless you land a management role with a large multinational, kick back and enjoy the quality of life.


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