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a photo of Rui Guedes de Quinhones

Rui Guedes de Quinhones

EOR and Employment Specialist

Jul 8, 2024

What Are The Most Common Expat Jobs in Portugal?

People are drawn to Portugal for a variety of reasons. In fact, the number of tourists visiting Portugal saw a steady increase between 1995 and 2019, before dropping dramatically in 2020 with the pandemic. However, visitors are now returning to Portugal at a faster rate than other European Countries.

Not only are the tourists returning, Portugal has become a hot spot for expats who are looking to relocate to work or retire there. The annual Expat Insider survey for 2022 named Portugal one of the top choices out of 52 expat destinations. It also topped the list of the “Best destinations to live and invest in Europe for American Expats” by the European Best Destinations survey. The city of Braga was recognized, in particular, as the “happiest city in Portugal”.

Expat Jobs in Lisbon

Tourism and Hospitality

The tourism and hospitality industry is constantly looking for seasonal workers there who speak English, especially if they are bilingual and can also speak another language. Since Lisbon attracts a lot of tourists, this industry is worth investigating

Service Industry

There are multiple customer service jobs opportunities in Lisbon, with a variety of companies like Teleperformance that have set up shop there.


The IT industry is alive and well in Lisbon due to the favorable business environment. Lisbon is known for being innovative and technology advanced, and the amount of tech jobs is proof of that.


Lisbon is known as a startup hub. This is evident with the amount of incubation and startup programs available in Lisbon, such as StartUp Lisboa. Lisbon encourages entrepreneurs to build their product and launch their business by providing mentorship and the right facilities. In fact, a few notable startups originated in Lisbon: Unbabel, Kitch, Sensei.

Expat Jobs in Porto

It is the second largest city in Portugal, and it is also one of the major urban areas in the Iberian Peninsula. Located along the Douro river, it is also famous for the wine that is produced there.

Tourism and Hospitality

Being the second largest city in Portugal, the city is widely prepared for tourism. Hotels are ready to welcome tourists, so this sector generally needs employees all year long. Being fluent in English is usually required, and other languages are always a plus.

Service Industry

As the second largest city in Portugal, Porto has all kinds of services available. With qualified mankind, Porto is ready to offer all services no matter what your aim is, such as medicine, aesthetics, rentals, real estate, communication. There is also a very good amount of carpenters, plumbers or electricians, as you can see here. Besides that, as this is an increasingly tourism destiny, Porto has had more and more varied cuisine in the last few years.


In 2022, Porto raised 34 million dollars in capital. Exciting start-ups have come to life, such as Infraspeak, an intelligent maintenance management platform, and Dott, the biggest online shopping mall in Portugal. Take a peek at the start up world in Porto here.

Business and Tech

Porto has hosted multiple international events to attract business, and is also considered an important hub for the tech industry. Currently, artificial intelligence is the buzz, and there are many tech companies setting up shop in Porto. Aside from the startup Infraspeak mentioned above, you can also find, a leading AI training data company. Vestas, a Danish company that supplies wind turbines for wind farms, also picked Porto for its center of Research and Development. Natixis, an international division of the second largest banking group in France, did the same and has its Center of Excellence in IT in Porto since 2016.

Education and Research

The University of Porto is one of the oldest and most important Universities in Portugal. Its academic research covers multiple scientific areas, from engineering to medicine to literature. There are dozens of specialized researchers conducting their work within its walls, and there are opportunities for people looking to do research or work in academia.

Expat Jobs in Algarve

Tourism and Hospitality

Algarve attracts tourists from all over the world due to its turquoise beaches, picturesque finishing towns, water sport activities, and beautiful nature. The tourism industry is a major sector, and there are opportunities for work particularly in the peak season, when hotels look for staff fluent in English and other EU languages.

Service Industry

There are multiple customer service job opportunities in this region, particularly in restaurants and coffee shops. Moreover, rental and cleaning services are popular industries in Algarve.

Expat Jobs in Braga

Braga, the oldest city in Portugal, is steeped in history that dates back to Emperor Caesar Augustus. This is showcased in its many monuments, cathedral, and historic buildings. Braga embraces its history while keeping itself open and appealing to the 21st century.


In 2014, the city created InvestBraga to promote economic development, with a specific program to attract start-ups. With coworking spaces and incubation programs, there are plenty of opportunities for start-ups in Braga.

Business and Tech

Braga is known for its innovative sector, with a specific focus on medical technology and automotives. Braga's businesses file more patents than any other city in Portugal, despite being only the 3rd largest city.

Education and Research

Braga is home to the University of Minho, a world-renowned university specializing in scientific research, which helped build Braga’s reputation as a hub for technology and innovation. It is also home to the International Iberian Nanotechnology Laboratory, which focuses on six clusters: Health, Food, Energy, Environment, ICT, and Future Emerging Technologies.

A team of people in an office talking over a whiteboard

Expat Jobs in Madeira

Madeira is an autonomous region of Portugal, and, out of its five islands, only 2 are inhabited: Porto Santo and Madeira Island. Madeira promotes a great lifestyle for digital nomads. In fact, the Nomad Village is located there and offers a free coworking space.

Tourism and Hospitality

Tourism is a big industry in Madeira. The temperate climate and the fantastic landscapes are the major reasons for that, but great food also helps. This sector attracts employees that are fluent in multiple languages, particularly English and Portuguese.


The climate in Madeira is great for agriculture, which requires a lot of human work, as the sloping terrain and mountains rarely allow machinery. Agriculture is one of the dominant sectors in the region, in constant need for staff and workers.

A person looking out across a valley from a mountain top

Labour Laws in Portugal

The country fosters a working culture that rewards employees with many perks that American professionals would envy.

Work hours and vacation days

  • Large companies have to limit their employees’ hours to a maximum of 40 a week, with no day exceeding eight hours of work.
  • Nighttime employees get paid 25% more than daytime employees.
  • Employees are entitled to a minimum of 22 paid vacation days and 12 mandatory public holidays. If an employee is requested to work during a holiday, they receive a 50% wage increase for that day of work.
  • Employees can’t be fired for any reason. There is no “at will” employment in Portugal, and employees are protected.
A graphic details labor laws in Portugal

Parental Leave

Pregnant women can be granted 30 days of paid leave prior to their expected delivery date. After giving birth, there is a compulsory maternity leave of 42 days (6 weeks). Fathers are required to take a paternity leave of twenty days, of which five of those have to be used immediately after the birth of their child. Both of these leaves are mandatory and paid (100% of their salary).

There is also an optional paid parental leave of 120 days (after birth) that can be taken whenever either parent finds it suitable (it can be taken by one of the parents or they can split the 120 days between them). This is paid parental leave (100% of their salary).

Parents of twins get an extra month of optional leave on top of the 120 days, and 100% of their salary is paid during the extra month. Parents of disabled or chronically ill children can get parental leave from six months to up to four years, but they don’t get their full salary. They are paid only 65% of their salary, but the maximum they can get is twice the value of the Social Support Index, which is €480,13. This means that the maximum they will get is €960,26 per month, or 65% of their salary if it’s less than this amount.

Christmas and Vacation Bonuses

All employers in Portugal are entitled to two extra months of salary, which are referred to as the vacation bonus (paid in either July or August) and the Christmas bonus (paid in December). In short, annual salaries are paid out in fourteen payments, instead of twelve months.

Workers may choose to get these extra 2 months paid throughout the year or just twice a year.

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For more information about work for expats in Portugal, contact us today.

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