How To Work in Portugal: The Ultimate Guide

Portugal is one of the countries most chosen by expats who are moving abroad. It’s a favorite country among digital nomads, freelancers, and entrepreneurs. If you are thinking of a move and work in Portugal, read this article with everything you need to know to.


Working in Portugal

The Portuguese labor model is similar to other countries: 40 hours per week divided into 5 days of 8 hours of work, with some exceptions provided for in the Portuguese Labor Code (CT). There is a minimum wage to guarantee adequate working and living conditions.

The Minimum Wage in Portugal

The minimum wage in Portugal in 2021 is €665. When compared to other countries in the European Union, you’ll see that it’s low. For example, in France the minimum wage is €1,466; in Spain, it’s 1,050; in Ireland, it’s €1,650. However, note that the cost of living is lower in Portugal than in most Western European countries.

Best Paid Professions in Portugal

The highest-paid professions in Portugal are in management positions in areas such as finance, logistics, technology, and marketing. The highest salaries are restricted, in most sectors, to the highest positions, not extended to operational professionals and analysts.

Cities With Job Opportunities

Lisbon and Porto offer the most job opportunities. If you want to work in the tourism sector, you can also find a job in the Algarve region, especially in the high season.

How To Work in Portugal

If you’re an EU citizen, you don’t need a visa to work in Portugal. If you have European citizenship, you only need to notify the authorities of the city where you will live. If you’re from a country outside the EU, you need to get a visa to live and work in the country. If you have a potential employer, this process will be easier as your employer will sponsor your visa.

Visas To Work in Portugal

To work in Portugal, you can apply for a work visa, Startup Visa, or Portugal Golden Visa. All of these visas entitle you to work in Portugal, but each one has its own requirements. It is also possible to work with a student visa, and with D7 Visa, for retirees and passive income holders.

Work Visas for Non-EU Nationals

For temporary contracts of less than six months, you can apply for a Short Stay Portuguese work visa.

This is also available to self-employed employees, but it must be approved by the Institute of Employment and Training (“Instituto do Emprego e Formaço Profissional”) (IEFP).

In some situations, the period of this visa might be extended up to one year for work in fields such as scientific research, academic teaching, and highly trained professions.

Long-term Portuguese Work Visa

A Long-term work visa is required if you plan to work in Portugal for more than six months. Because Portugal is a member of the Schengen Area, this work visa is a Long-Term Schengen Visa (Type D).

Depending on your country of origin, you’re eligible to apply for a long-term work visa while you’re in Portugal. Make sure you check your country’s status prior to your arrival in Portugal.

Working in Portugal with a Contract or With Recibo Verde (Green receipts)

In Portugal there are two types of contract:

  • Employment with employment contract;
  • Work on green receipts, as a self-employed

The first option is the equivalent of having a formal contract, so the company is responsible for most of the charges, as well as paying employee benefits. On the other hand, the employee has to comply with schedules and a work routine established by the company.

When working with an employment contract, there are also different types that correspond especially to the validity period. For example, the fixed-term contract defines a period of work which can be 6 months or a year generally. There is also the open-ended contract, which has no term to end. There are also fixed-term contracts, seasonal contracts, etc.

The second option is Recibo Verde which is also known as a green receipt. If you’re working in Portugal, you’ll need to be familiar with this system as it’s needed when you invoice your clients.

Contribution to Social Security

When opening activity, you’ll get 12 months of exemption from Social Security, which means that during this period you won’t have to contribute. After this period it is necessary to start contributing; self-employed workers pay around 21.40 percent of their earnings, this amount is calculated according to the earnings of the previous three months.

Best Job Sites in Portugal

The best way to find job openings is to do a search on job sites in Portugal. Below are some of the general employment sites that can help you when you start your search.

  • Sapo Emprego
  • Net Empregos
  • Indeed
  • CareerJet

Tips To Find a Job in Portugal

Search in Facebook Groups

Many people who want to work in Portugal are looking for job opportunities on Facebook. This is a good idea, as there are specific groups with job openings for some cities, such as Porto and Lisbon.

But beware of unrealistic offers, there can be scams and even exploitation of people. Therefore, always check the credibility of the company, ask for the employment contract and only move with a visa in hand.

Write a Professional Resume

It is important to have a professionally drafted resume. In addition, many companies also ask for a motivation letter. The best thing is to keep your resume in the Europass model, a standardized format for the European Union that makes searching easier.


LinkedIn is also a great platform to find opportunities to work in Portugal. Many companies place their vacancies and look for employees through the website. So keep your profile up to date and look for vacancies in the areas that might be suitable for youç

Search on Specialized Websites

There are some specialized websites that focus on specific areas. For example, in the area of ​​communication, Carga de Trabalhos is a great option. Find your sector and look for vacancies frequently.

Pros of Working in Portugal

  • Obtain international experience
  • Working with people from around the world
  • A legal way of getting a residence permit – and with 5 years of legal residence, you can apply for Portuguese citizenship
  • If you are working for a company under a contract, you will receive 14 annual salaries
  • It opens doors to work in the European market: it is easier to get a job in other European countries after working in Portugal

Cons of Working in Portugal

  • Salaries are low (lower than in most European countries)
  • Depending on your area of ​​expertise, you need to validate your diploma
  • Requesting the NISS (Social Security Identification Number) is a slow process and often the worker is left with the contract on hold to sign until Social Security releases the number.

In the end, ideally, you should make your own list of pros and cons. If the objective is to live in a country with quality of life, which provides quality public services, such as education and health, as well as security, then there is no doubt that it is worth working in Portugal.

Planning to move and work in Portugal? You might want to check out our Cheapest Cities To Live in Portugal article before you plan your relocation.

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