Portugal, known for its welcoming and entrepreneurial climate, is a popular destination amongst job seekers from all over the world. It should be noted however that the high unemployment rate (as a result of the economic recession) has created a very competitive jobs market. If you are skilled, educated and experienced in your field however, you can find top jobs relatively easily.
Working in Portugal
Skilled foreign workers are sought in the following areas:
- Commercial sector
- Healthcare (doctors and nurses)
- Hospitality and all positions related to tourism
- Public services
- Real estate
- Call Centers
Whilst these industry areas are calling for skilled foreign workers, you should also take note of the most popular locations amongst foreign workers. Lisbon, is the capital city of Portugal and boasts the highest number of job opportunities for foreign workers.
It is important to acknowledge the requirements expected of foreign candidates in Portugal before jumping on the next plane out there. It you do not have a strong command of Portuguese; it is likely that you will struggle to secure a job as most companies require Portuguese and English as a minimum.
EU citizens are not required to obtain a work permit in order to take up employment in Portgual, however, there is an obligation on the EU citizen to apply for a residence permit (Cartao de Residencia) from the Portuguese Immigration Office.
Non-EU citizens are subject to different immigration requirements and must obtain the appropriate work permit (Autorizacao de Trabalho). The employer will usually apply to their local labour office for the work permit on behalf of the foreign national.
Employee rights in Portugal
The general working conditions are good. The statutory working week must not exceed 40 hours and all overtime work must be remunerated. Each employee should receive a written employment contract from their employer and all workers have the right to join a trade union. Maternity leave is provided at 120 days on full pay or 150 days whereby the extra 30 days will be paid at 80% of the individual’s salary.
Generally, all employees in Portugal benefit from 22 days paid holidays per year plus 13 public holidays. Other leave entitlements include sick leave and parental leave.
Living in Portugal
Portugal is a developed country with an advanced economy and ranks as the world’s 19th-highest country in terms of quality of life.
The country boasts a strong healthcare system and the government actively strives to support Portuguese citizens in maintaining a good standard of living. As a member of the EU and United Nations, Portugal promotes fair and equal standards in terms of employment, living standards and education, to name only a few. Portugal is primarily a service-based economy and is a favorite destination among travelers, professionals and expats alike.