Getting a Job in Portugal

Obtaining a Job

If you are a native speaker of English, teaching English can be the best option for starting a life in Portugal. Numerous language schools offer teaching positions throughout the year. Although it is difficult to define a specific time period to hunt teaching jobs, it can be said that most kindergartens and primary schools hire teachers in line with the school term in late August and September/October. Teaching Business English can be an option available throughout the year.

Although most schools hire on the spot, it is still possible to search jobs in publications such as the TES (Times Educational Supplement) and the Guardian EFL pages on Tuesdays. Alternatively, some certain ESL websites like ESL employment and can be useful. Upon arrival, you can try Páginas Amarelas (Portuguese Yellow Pages) and English bookstores for lists of schools. Some British Council offices are most often a good stop as they produce lists of local schools and can help to point you in the right direction.

Most ESL teachers work on a part-time basis at a variety of institutes, which enables them to make up a full timetable of 22 hours +. As the lessons are likely to be spread out across the day, that means teaching in a company before work at 8am, having the afternoon off and having lessons again at 5-6pm. Exceptionally, some companies prefer to have courses during the lunch time. Once you have gained some valuable experience and contacts, it will be easier to get a full-time contract with one school.

Most employers will expect to have a degree, some teaching experience and/or a TEFL certificate, which can be obtained through one month intensive course at International House Lisbon. On your C.V., make sure that you include any commercial experience and contact with children. A brief, professionally-written cover letter should be enclosed with a passport-sized photograph.

However, if you aren't a native English speaker,there are a number of multi-national companies hiring occasionally European languages speakers. These job vacancies are posted on local weekly newspaper Expresso or some other human resources websites indicated below.


For EU nationals, it is easy to get through all the necessary paperwork to live and work in Portugal. A residence permit, after 3 months, can be obtained locally. Unfortunately, that too requires to spend some time waiting in queues.

For non-EU citizens, Portugal does not issue a work permit unless you are married to a Portuguese national or secured a contract. However, the bureaucracy still makes it difficult in either case as all the process can take years to be completed. The nightmare bureaucracies, of course, then open the ways to illegal working and abuse of employees.

Pay and Conditions

A full-time contract is likely to last 6-9 months with around 3 weeks of paid holiday. Depending on the experience, pay ranges from around 800 Euros to 1200 Euros per month. These amounts are enough to live well by local standards but do not expect to be able to save a lot from your earnings. Especially some contracts before arrival do include flights and/or accommodation. Tax deductions and NI are around 23%.

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