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A Guide to Expat Jobs in Portugal: Everything You Need to Know

Updated: April 3, 2024 | Zahra


Working in Portugal as an expat can be a rewarding experience. With its beautiful climate, rich history, and diverse culture, Portugal is an attractive destination for many people looking to work abroad. However, navigating the Portuguese labour market and employment laws can be challenging, particularly if you are unfamiliar with the Portuguese system.

This article will cover everything you need to know about expat jobs in Portugal, including work visas, work culture, labor laws, working hours, parental leave, social security, salaries, and taxes.


Applying for a Job in Portugal

The first step towards working in Portugal as an expat is beginning the job hunt. Here are some tips to help you find a job in Portugal:

Check job boards and company websites

business manSome popular job boards in Portugal include Indeed, LinkedIn, and Glassdoor. Job boards allow you to filter out jobs according to your experience level, whether you’re looking for full-time or part-time work, and according to required qualifications or languages. As a result, they can be good places to find English-speaking jobs.

You can also check company websites to see if they have any job openings.


Networking is crucial in Portugal. Join professional groups, and attend conferences and events to meet people in your industry. Portugal’s numerous coworking spaces can also help you network, with many offering networking events such as cinema nights and happy hours, e.g., Heden in Lisbon.

Speak Portuguese

Many people in Portugal speak English, particularly in the major cities, speaking Portuguese can give you an edge over other applicants in the Portuguese job market. It shows you’re serious about working in Portugal and that you can communicate with locals. If you do intend to learn Portuguese, there are various Portuguese language courses for expats available at language schools such as Lusa Language School, while Instituto Camões offers several distance learning and online courses. You can also find independent tutors through language learning platforms such as Preply.

Have a solid CV

portugal taxing systemA well-written CV is essential to get hired in Portugal. The most important Portuguese CV tips are: make sure it’s easy to read, one to two pages long, highlights your hard and soft skills as well as your achievements, and includes a professional photo, as unlike in some countries, including a professional headshot on your CV is common in Portugal.

Write a cover letter

Cover letters are not necessary for every job application in Portugal; a technical job, for example, may not require one. On the other hand, if you’re applying for a job in communications, PR, marketing, or a similar field, it is advisable to write a cover letter that outlines why you believe you’re well suited to the position and demonstrates your communication skills.

Tourism jobs in Portugal for English speakers

The tourism industry plays a significant role in the country’s economy, offering a wide range of job opportunities for both locals and expats. From hotels and resorts to tour operators, restaurants, and entertainment venues, the tourism and hospitality sector in Portugal is diverse and vibrant.

Job opportunities for English speakers in the tourism sector

As an English speaker, there are various job opportunities within the tourism sector in Portugal. Many international visitors, especially those from English-speaking countries, visit Portugal each year. This creates a demand for English-speaking professionals who can cater to the needs of these tourists, and there are many hospitality jobs in the Algarve and Maderia because they’re regarded as tourist hotspots. While it’s beneficial to speak English for these jobs, knowledge of other European languages can also be an asset.

Apply for D7 visa Portugal from USA or any non-EUnon-Swiss country.Some job roles that frequently require English language skills include:

  1. Tour guides: Guiding tourists and providing them with information about the country’s history, culture, and attractions.
  2. Hotel and resort staff: Working in customer service roles such as receptionists, concierge, or guest relations, assisting guests with their needs and ensuring a pleasant stay.
  3. Restaurant and hospitality staff: Serving customers, taking orders, and providing excellent customer service in restaurants, bars, and cafes.
  4. Travel agents: Assisting tourists with travel arrangements, including booking flights, accommodations, and tours.
  5. Event planners: Organizing and coordinating various events, conferences, or weddings for tourists and locals.
  6. Language instructors: Teaching English to locals or providing language training for tourism professionals who want to improve their English skills.

Online jobs in Portugal for English speakers

The rise of remote work has opened up opportunities for English speakers to work online while living in Portugal. Whether you are a freelancer, digital nomad, or seeking employment with remote-friendly companies, working remotely in Portugal can be an attractive prospect. The country provides excellent infrastructure, reliable internet connectivity, and a growing community of digital professionals.

Popular online job industries for English Speakers

Digital Nomads PortugalThe following jobs are popular for English speakers working remotely in Portugal:

  1. Digital marketing and social media management: Many companies require professionals who can manage their online presence, execute marketing campaigns, and engage with audiences through social media platforms.
  2. Content creation and writing: Content creation, including blog writing, copywriting, and content marketing, is a thriving industry that offers remote work opportunities. English speakers can contribute their language skills and creative abilities.
  3. Online education and language teaching: With the growing demand for online education, opportunities for English language instructors, tutors, or course creators have expanded. Platforms like VIPKid and iTalki provide avenues for teaching English online.
  4. Virtual assistance and administrative support: Remote administrative roles, such as virtual assistants or customer support representatives (jobs in call centers have traditionally been popular jobs among expats in Portugal), are in demand professions, with some offering flexibility and the ability to work remotely.
  5. Web development and design: Skilled web developers, designers, and UX/UI professionals can find remote work opportunities with companies around the world, leveraging their technical expertise while enjoying the lifestyle in Portugal.

See: Working Remotely in Portugal: The Ultimate Guide and Digital Nomad Portugal: The Definitive Guide to Portugal for Digital Nomads for more detailed information about working online jobs in Portugal.

Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) Jobs in Portugal

books-school-portugalTo teach English abroad in Portugal, you will have to be a native English, you’ll often have to have a university degree as well as a TEFL certification from an accredited provider, and in many cases you will need some level of classroom teaching experience.

In this field, there are jobs available at private language schools and international schools; it’s common for expats in Portugal to provide adult business education English lessons, which are often required by tourism sector workers as well as corporate employees who are seeking to improve their English proficiency for their jobs. Popular locations for English teaching include the major cities of Lisbon and Porto as well as Coimbra, a city in central Portugal that often has job openings at Wall Street English, the British Council, and Polytechnic of Coimbra (Instituto Politécnico de Coimbra).

English teaching jobs in Portugal typically pay between $1,000 and $2,500 per month; the salary depends mostly on your credentials as well as the institution offering the position. For most schools, you can expect to work just between 22 and 25 hours a week, including office hours.

To find jobs like these, as well as websites such as LinkedIn, Glassdoor and Indeed, you can search on sites with a specific focus on English teaching, including ESLauthority, ESLbase, and


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

portugal d7 visaYou’ll need a work visa to work if you’re a non-European Union/European Economic Area/Swiss citizen moving to Portugal.

If you’re an EU/EEA/Swiss citizen, you don’t need a visa to work in Portugal, but you do need to register with your closest city hall or closest town hall (Câmara Municipal) within three months of your arrival in the country.

European Union/European Economic Area/Swiss citizens

You can work in Portugal without a visa if you’re an EU, EEA, or Swiss citizen. Freedom of movement covers your right to live in Portugal. However, you must register with your closest town hall within three months of arrival and get your Certificate of Residency, known as a CRUE.

You must bring your passport or national identity card, health insurance proof, employment declaration, and NIF.

Your NIF, or the Número de Identificação Fiscal, is your tax identification number. If you’re working in Portugal, you need to have a NIF as it’s required to sign a contract such as your employment contract. Your NIF lets you pay taxes and register with the Portuguese tax authorities. The NIF is one of the most important documents to get if you’re planning on living in Portugal. Without it, you cannot get a job in Portugal, a Portuguese social security number (NISS), or a Portuguese work permit.

You can get the NIF at a local tax office, but we recommend getting a NIF before moving or starting a job in Portugal. We can help you get your NIF online. Just contact us today.

Non-EU/EEA/Swiss citizens

You’ll need a work visa to work in Portugal if you’re a non-EU citizen. The visa application process can take several months, so starting the process as soon as possible is essential.

Numerous visas are available, so contact your local Portuguese Embassy or Portuguese Consulate for advice on what visa you’re eligible for. If you plan to work remotely for a foreign company, we’d recommend a Digital Nomad Visa.

Generally, to get a work permit in Portugal, you need to complete the following steps:

Entrepreneur-PortugalFind a job in Portugal

Before applying for a Portugal work visa, you need a job offer from a Portuguese company (unless you are applying for a Digital Nomad Visa, the D7 Visa, or the D2 Entrepreneurship visa).

Apply for a work visa

You can apply for a visa at a Portuguese Consulate or Portuguese Embassy in your home country. You’ll need to provide proof of employment, your bank statements, your photo ID, a police clearance certificate, and proof of international health insurance covering your stay in Portugal. You should get a temporary stay visa at the end of your application.

You will get a short-term visa if you plan to work in Portugal for less than six months. If you plan to work in Portugal for over six months, you must apply for a long-term work visa.

After five years of living in Portugal, you qualify for permanent residency.

Get your NIF

As we mentioned earlier, you’ll need a NIF to sign a work contract or conduct any economic activity in Portugal. Non-EU/EEA nationals used to be required by law to have a fiscal representative to assist them in obtaining their NIF and act as a point of contact between a foreign national and the Portuguese tax authorities. Though this is no longer legally mandated, it can be helpful to appoint a fiscal representative to make navigating the Portuguese tax system more straightforward.

We offer NIF and tax representation services at GetNifPortugal.

Get a residence permit

Once your visa is secured and you arrive in Portugal, you must apply for a Portuguese residence permit within three months. You’ll need to bring your passport, work contract, and proof of health insurance.

Working in Portugal as an expatGet your NISS (Social Security Number)

Your NISS is a Portuguese social security number that allows you to access the social security system and pay social security contributions.

If you are self-employed, you need to apply for your NISS in your local social security office to enjoy social security benefits. Obtaining your social security number depends on the nature of your employment. While Portuguese citizens are given a social security card, an expat will receive a social security certificate instead.

The following resources are full of information about visas and residence permits in Portugal:


Work Culture and Etiquette in Portugal

register a company in portugal online company incorporationPortuguese work culture is similar to Western European countries, emphasizing a healthy work/life balance. People value relationships, take long lunch breaks, and work late into the evening.

Note that company culture varies depending on the field and type of company you’re working for. Startups tend to have a more relaxed dress code but could expect you to work later hours. Traditional corporations may have more clearly designated working hours but expect a formal dress code or at least a business casual look.

When interviewing for a company, we recommend you ask about their work culture and workplace rules. Being on time is essential in Portugal. As with other cultures, arriving late is considered rude and disrespectful. Living in Portugal will allow you to slowly bridge cultural gaps as you familiarise yourself with Portuguese culture.


Portuguese Labor Law for Foreigners

The following fundamental labor rights in Portugal apply to both expats and Portuguese citizens:

  1. Working hours: The maximum working week in Portugal is 40 hours, with a maximum of eight hours per day. Overtime is paid at a higher rate.
  2. Payslips: Employees are entitled to a monthly payslip from their employers with details of their pay.
  3. Safe environment: Employees have the right to a safe, healthy, hygienic workplace.
  4. Protection from discrimination: The Portuguese Labour Code prohibits discrimination based on gender, ethnicity, age, sexual orientation, disability, religion, union affiliation, and disability.
  5. Holidays: Employees are entitled to 22 days of paid vacation per year and 14 public holidays. Employees are entitled to paid leave on bank holidays.
  6. Sick leave: If you’re sick, you can take time off work with full pay for up to 30 days per year.


New Labor Laws 2021

law modifications d7 visaIn 2021, Portugal introduced new labor laws to improve work-life balance and reduce precarious work. Again, these laws apply to expats as well as to Portuguese nationals The new laws include:

  1. The right to disconnect: Employers must now establish measures to prevent employees from being contacted outside of working hours.
  2. Remote work: The new laws include provisions for remote work, such as the right to disconnect and a requirement for employers to provide equipment and cover expenses.
  3. Protections for gig workers: The new laws provide more protections for gig workers, such as the right to collective bargaining and the requirement for companies to offer insurance.


Working Age, Working Hours, and Holidays in Portugal

The legal working age in Portugal is 16 years old. However, there are restrictions on the type of work that minors can do. Children must either have completed compulsory education or be enrolled and attending secondary school. They need parental permission to sign a job contract.

The maximum working week is 40 hours, with a maximum of eight hours daily. Overtime is paid at a higher rate. Employees are entitled to 22 days of paid vacation per year and 14 public holidays.


Parental Leave in Portugal

school libraryIn Portugal, both the mother and the father of a child are entitled to parental leave. Mothers are entitled to 120 days of maternity leave. Up to 30 days of leave can be taken before birth, and it’s mandatory to take six weeks of leave after childbirth.

Fathers have to take 15 days of mandatory paternity leave and are entitled to an additional ten days’ leave, which may be consecutive or intermittent and must be taken at the same time as the mother’s initial parental leave.

Getting paid maternity and paternity benefits in Portugal is accomplished through paying social security contributions; you must have paid social security contributions for at least six months in order to be eligible.

Do adoptive parents get parental leave in Portugal?

Yes, adoptive parents are entitled to parental leave in Portugal. The amount of leave depends on the child’s age and the number of adopted children.

Do same-sex parents get parental leave in Portugal?

Yes, same-sex parents are entitled to parental leave in Portugal. The same rules apply to all couples, regardless of sexual orientation.


Salaries in Portugal

tax free shopping vat refundsSalaries in Portugal vary depending on the industry, level of experience, and location. The average gross wage in Portugal was around €1,400 per month in 2020.

However, the average salary and annual salaries are higher in tech jobs — as the IT and software industries are thriving in Portugal — and in international corporations. An average wage in Information Technology might be around €2,700 a month, and an average salary as a banker might be around €2,990 a month.

An average annual salary in a major city such as Lisbon or Porto tends to be higher than in other parts of the country, and the cost of living in Portugal is low compared to other Western European countries.

What’s the minimum wage in Portugal?

In 2024, a full-time worker’s minimum wage in Portugal is €820 monthly.


Best-Paying Jobs in the Portuguese Job Market

Some of the best-paying jobs in the Portuguese job market include:

  • Management: Managing Directors, IT Directors, and CEOs can expect a handsome salary in Portugal.
  • Information technology: Portugal has a growing tech industry with high demand for software engineers, mobile test engineers, data analysts, and cybersecurity professionals.
  • Finance: Lisbon is home to many international banks and financial institutions, creating job opportunities for well-paid finance professionals.
  • Healthcare: Portugal’s healthcare system is growing, creating job opportunities for doctors, nurses, and administrators. Doctors, particularly specialists, are paid well in Portugal.


Self-Employed Jobs in Portugal

business insurance portugal

If you’re looking to work in Portugal as an expat, you might want to consider self-employment. Being self-employed in Portugal means you are responsible for your own business and must register with the Portuguese Labor Authorities as an independent worker.

As a self-employed worker in Portugal, you are not entitled to a minimum salary, as you would be if a company employed you. Read our guide to Self-Employment Registration as a Freelancer.

There are many self-employed jobs available in Portugal, and the benefits of being your boss include setting your hours, choosing your clients, and potentially earning more money than you would if working for someone else. However, there are also some challenges to being self-employed, such as managing your finances and finding clients, effectively acting as a sole business owner.

If you are looking for in-demand self-employed jobs in Portugal, other options include IT consulting, language teaching, and freelance writing or editing. Whatever your skills and interests, there are opportunities to start your own business in Portugal.

One of the top self-employed jobs in Portugal is in the tourism sector, a thriving industry in the country. Portugal attracts millions of tourists yearly with its beautiful beaches, historic landmarks, and vibrant culture. If you have a passion for hospitality, guiding, or travel planning, this could be the perfect sector for setting up your own business.

In summary, self-employment is a viable option if you’re considering working as an expat in Portugal. With the booming tourism sector and many other in-demand jobs available, plenty of opportunities exist to set up your own business. Just make sure to register with the Portuguese Labor Authorities and that you have the visa required to start.


The Portuguese Tax System: Taxes in Portugal

portuguese tax resident investment income tax return wealth tax corporate taxThe Portuguese tax system is based on a progressive income tax system, with rates ranging from 14.5 percent to 48 percent.

In addition to income tax, there are also various tax implications for expats working in Portugal that may impact you, such as taxes on wealth, inheritance, and property. The tax system differs slightly for self-employed people.

Over the past 15 years, many expats in Portugal benefitted from the Non Habitual Residence (NHR) program, which offered various tax benefits, but this program is now longer open to new applicants.


Income Taxes in Portugal (IRS)

The income tax rate in Portugal is based on a progressive tax system, with rates ranging from 14.5 percent to 48 percent.

Income is divided into different categories, such as employment income, business income, and capital income, and taxed accordingly.

If you’re working in Portugal, you need to obtain your NISS (Número de Identificação da Segurança Social), Social Security Identification Number, which you’ll use to pay social security contributions to the Portuguese government.

Your contribution to the social security system depends on your type of employment. If you have an employer, they should notify social security at the start of your work contract that you’re now their employee; they will then contribute 34.75 percent of your share, and you must contribute 11 percent.

If you are self-employed, around 21 percent of your quarterly revenue will go toward the social security platform. If you are self-employed, you must apply for a NISS independently. If you have an employer, they will apply for one on your behalf.

See: Guide To Getting a Social Security Number in Portugal (NISS)

Opening a Portuguese bank account

If you work in Portugal, you must open a Portuguese bank account. Your Portuguese IBAN will allow your wages to be paid into your account and allow you to register as self-employed with the Portuguese tax authorities.

Many banks also allow you to pay social security through their online banking services.

We can help you open an online Portuguese bank account. Just use our service – Bank Account Portugal.


Tax on Wealth and Inheritance in Portugal

As well as income tax, there are taxes on wealth and inheritance in Portugal that may apply to you if you’re working and living there for an extended period of time.

Wealth tax (Imposto sobre o Património) is a tax on the net worth of individuals and companies. The tax rate ranges from 0.3 percent to 1.5 percent.

Inheritance tax (Imposto sobre Sucessões e Doações) is a tax on transferring assets from one person to another through inheritance or gifts. The tax rate ranges from 10 percent to 50 percent, depending on the value of the personal and corporate assets.


Property Tax in Portugal

local branch, account online, largest banks

There are several types of property taxes in Portugal, which could be relevant to you if you decided to buy property while you’re working in Portugal, including:

Municipal Property Tax (IMI)

This tax is based on a property’s taxable value and ranges from 0.3 percent to 0.45 percent for urban properties and 0.8 percent to 0.5 percent for rural properties.

Property Purchase Tax (IMT)

This tax is paid when purchasing a property in Portugal and ranges from 1 percent to 8 percent, depending on the property’s value.

Tax on Stamps (IS)

This tax is applied to certain legal documents, such as contracts, and ranges from 0.04 percent to 0.8 percent of the value of the document.

See: Property Tax Portugal: A Guide to Navigating Portuguese Property Taxes.


Company Taxes in Portugal

If you decide to set up a business in the country, you should be aware that companies in Portugal are subject to a corporate income tax (IRC) rate of 21 percent. In addition, there are also taxes on capital gains, dividends, and other income derived by companies. Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) may be eligible for certain tax benefits and exemptions.


Frequently Asked Questions about Working in Portugal as an Expat

Is Portugal a good place for expats?

Yes, Portugal is often considered a desirable place for expats. It offers a high quality of life, beautiful landscapes, a welcoming culture, and a relatively low cost of living compared to other Western European countries. The country has a well-developed infrastructure, an excellent healthcare system, and a strong expat community.

Is it easy to get a job in Portugal as a foreigner?

Getting a job in Portugal as a foreigner can be challenging, especially if you don’t speak Portuguese. The Portuguese labor market is competitive, and the unemployment rate can vary. However, there are opportunities for skilled professionals, particularly in the IT, engineering, tourism, and language teaching sectors.

Networking, learning the language, and obtaining the necessary work permits and visas will increase your chances of finding employment.

Can expats find work in Portugal?

Yes, expats can find work in Portugal. While the job market can be competitive, opportunities are available, particularly in sectors requiring foreign language skills or specialized knowledge.

Expats often find employment in fields such as tourism, education, technology, finance, and hospitality. However, note that the minimum wage is low and many hospitality jobs would require you to speak Portuguese.

Foreign nationals in Portugal usually work in start-ups or remotely for international companies. It’s essential to research the job market, understand the visa requirements, and network within your industry to increase your chances of finding work. If you’re interested in remote working, we would recommend the Portugal Digital Nomad Visa.

How much money do you need to be an expat in Portugal?

The amount of money you need as an expat in Portugal will vary depending on your lifestyle, location, and personal circumstances. Generally, Portugal offers a lower cost of living compared to other countries in Western Europe.

Monthly expenses for a comfortable lifestyle, including rent, utilities, food, transportation, and entertainment, can range from €1,000 to €2,000, including housing costs. However, savings are advisable to cover initial expenses, such as housing deposits and visa fees.

What jobs pay well in Portugal?

Certain professions in Portugal offer higher earning potential. Jobs in sectors such as IT, engineering, finance, management, healthcare (particularly doctors and specialized medical professionals), and skilled trades often offer competitive salaries.

Additionally, positions in multinational companies, research institutions, and academia can provide attractive remuneration. However, it’s important to note that salaries may vary depending on your location, qualifications, experience, and company or industry.

Where can expats find jobs in Portugal?

Expats seeking professional opportunities in Portugal can use international platforms such as LinkedIn and Indeed as well as Portuguese-language websites including Net Empregos and Empregos Online. For targeted searches, explore niche boards such as Jobs in Lisbon for regional opportunities or Top Language Jobs if you are looking for a job to use your language skills in.

What are the work visa requirements for Portugal?

Getting an expat job in Portugal requires navigating work visa specifics. Generally, non-EU citizens need a job offer and employer-obtained work permit. Check your eligibility based on profession, salary, and desired stay duration (seasonal, temporary, permanent). Research specific visa types (work, job seeker) and required documents (employment contract, proof of funds, health insurance) on Portugal’s official visa website for accurate details.

Are expats in Portugal entitled to unemployment benefits?

Expat eligibility for unemployment benefits in Portugal hinges on nationality and social security contributions. EU/EEA/Swiss citizens with Portuguese contributions generally qualify under local terms. Non-EU citizens face stricter requirements based on residency, visa type, and contributions.


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