If you are a foreigner, who wants to come live and work in Chile but you don´t know where to find jobs or how to get a work permit? Here is all that you need to know about the Chilean Labor Market, work permits, and how to apply for jobs.
- The Chilean labor market
Chile is Latin America´s one of the most stable and affluent nations, economically equivalent to countries like Poland or Turkey, regarding GDP per capita. Its labor market is very strong and orients towards service and natural resource-based industries for example mining, forestry, agriculture, and aquaculture. Its benefit comes from virtually non-stop economic growth since 40 years. There has been a drop in the growth in recent years (predominantly in mining), and there are some indications that Chile might enter an economic depression. Concurrently, Chile has been receiving larger numbers of settlers from countries like Peru, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Haiti, Venezuela, and Spain, forcing the government to rethink its historically liberal immigration policies. Though no changes have been made to immigration policy till now, but may occur in future.
Types of jobs available:
Availability of some jobs, for an individual solely, depends on the proficiency of Spanish language.
But there are jobs which don´t require Spanish proficiency. If you´re a (Chilean) but your Spanish isn´t at an advanced level, you shall most likely be looking for the following jobs:
- English teacher at a private organization (400–800k CLP a month) or by offering individual programs of learning (5–13k CLP an hour)
- Receptionist / tour agent / tour guide, etc. (300–700k CLP a month)
- Selling home-made goods to other foreigners
- Proficient positions within international businesses that require a firm area of English and specific technical skills of which there is a local skill demand
Jobs that require Spanish
Once you attained enough fluency and knowledge in Spanish, you will have access to the same job opportunities as Chileans.
Note: The opportunities may vary from back home, because in Chile (like most of Latin America):
1) Employers assume that an individual will work exclusively in the field he/she obtains a degree in, despite the extra-curricular activities or previous work experience.
For example, you study medicine; you will become a doctor.
2) Employers tend to value some degrees and universities significantly more than others.
For example, a degree in engineering, law, medicine or economics holds an advantage over a degree in arts or humanities.
Despite what the international rankings have to say, universities from the United States and the United Kingdom are assumed to have higher quality than the ones in China, Japan, France, Germany, etc. A degree from the Universidad de Chile or Pontificia Universidad Católica is considered the best in Chile.
3) There aren’t many job opportunities in the social service fields such as NGO’s or other International Associations.
4) Chilean government doesn´t allow foreigners of some nationalities to work in certain occupations unless they go through a lengthy degree legalization method. Professions which come under such obligation are:
- Primary education
- Labor conditions and cost of living
Another important part to consider before moving to Chile is the labor conditions. Though Chile is a high-income country, wages are astoundingly low, at the same time, the cost of living in Santiago is equivalent to cities like Amsterdam or Berlin.
Chileans work 45 hours a week and receive only three weeks of holiday per year. Workers are expected to take their holidays mostly in January or February.
The minimum wage is 250k CLP (400 USD), and most Chileans don´t earn more than this. Fresh graduates from University may receive 600k CLP (920 USD).We seldom get to meet Chileans with years of work experience earning more than 2,500k CLP (3,800 USD) as monthly salary.
Cost of living:
Few things in Chile are very cheap like food purchased at a local market, whereas things like healthcare and education are expensive. Even when the apartment is shared, one might need at least 500–700k CLP per month to cover basic needs like room rent , food, and pocket money.
How to get a Chilean work permit?
- Types of work visas
There are several types of visas available. The two most applicable for most job seekers at the moment of writing are:
- Visa sure to a contrato
– Work agreement by any company registered in Chile that needs to be legalized by a notary in Chile.
– Validity for a year, after which one would need to get an extension for a year before he/she could apply for PR.
- Visa temporary paraprofessionals
– Work appointment by any company registered in Chile. Note that this work offer does not legally compel the company to hire an individual; it is just a declaration of intent.
– Legally recognized university degree, which can be done by visiting the country in which the degree was issued the Ministry of Education and after that the respective Chilean consulate. If a country is not a member of the Apostille Treaty, the applicant will need to get a third stamp at the Foreign Ministry in Chile. Applicant must get his/her degree translated by an official translator (only applicable if the degree isn´t issued in Spanish or English).
– Validity for one year, afterward you can apply for another year extension or apply for a permanent visa
General visa requirements:
In addition to visa requirements, some general documents needs to be provided:
- Visa application form
- Copy of your passport
- Copy of your visa entry stamp
- Several passport photos
NOTE: These photos have a slightly different format than most passport photos. Applicant must get them taken in Chile by a photographer specialized in visa photos.
Visa Application Process:
Below are a few other things you might want to know:
Location to Apply:
One way is, to enter Chile on a tourist visa and apply on arrival, NOT at a Chilean consulate. Mostly application will be evaluated with ease in Chile.
You can ask queries in Extranjeria, but prior appointment is required.
- How to apply for jobs
Once you have your work permit approved the applicant can apply for local jobs.
Finding the Jobs:
There are two main ways to find jobs in Chile; through your personal network or job boards.
Starting your own business:
One can also consider opening his/her own business. The Chilean government makes it very easy for you to do so!
Applying for jobs:
Following are the instructions for applying for a job in Chile:
- Submit your CV using a similar format of US/Europe. Covering letters and personal picture aren’t needed.
- A telephonic interview.
- An internal interview.
- A second internal interview
- Reference and background checks
- Post- Selection:
Chilean law requires registration with a pension fund and health insurance and requires the employer to deposit each month subsequently 10% and 7% to these respective funds. You must register with the tax office and also it is mandatory to have a local bank.
- Pension Fund (AFP)
Chilean Law mandates that every foreigner must register with the AFP during their first two years stay in Chile. Upon leaving , he/she can withdraw all pension savings at once.
Health Insurance (FONASA/ISAPRE)
All foreigners are automatically subscribed to Chile´s public health insurance, but may opt to register instead with a private health insurance fund as well.
All foreigners are legally required to declare their income obtained in Chile by April.
Once the immigrant gets a valid Chilean national ID (RUT; Rol Único Tributario) he/she can get a local bank account. The Chilean government allows all the immigrants to register for a free basic debit bank account (CuentaRut).