Are you asking yourself what are the particularities of the Chilean labour market? Is it easy to find a job in this country? An internship? These articles below are here to help you understand these points.
WORKING IN CHILE: HOW TO FIND A JOB IN CHILE?
Are you a foreigner who wants to come and live and work in Chile? Asking yourself where to start? How to get job interviews and find work in Chile?
This article gives you keys to the Chilean labour market, the work permit and the procedure to follow to work in Chile legally.
The Chilean labour market
Chile is one of the most stable and prosperous countries in Latin America. From an economic point of view, the country is at the same level as countries such as Poland or Turkey (in terms of GDP per capita).
Its labour market is strongly oriented towards service and natural resource industries. Thus, the mining, forestry and agricultural industries have enjoyed strong economic growth for several decades.
However, in recent years, growth has begun to slow down (particularly in the mining sector) and there are signs that Chile may enter a recession. Chile has recently changed its migration rules to reduce the influx of immigrants from countries such as Peru, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Venezuela and Spain. You must now be able to demonstrate a sufficient level of education, and/or savings available to live in Chile while you are looking for a job. Otherwise, it is possible to be refused entry into the country.
Types of jobs available
The jobs you can apply for depend a lot on your level of Spanish.
Jobs that do not require a good command of Spanish
If you do not speak Spanish, or if you do not have an advanced level, you can still apply for the following positions:
- French teacher in a private institute (400,000 to 800,000 CLP / month) or by offering private lessons (5,000 to 13,000 CLP / hour)
- Receptionist / tourist agent / tourist guide, etc. (300,000 to 700,000 CLP / month)
- Sale of homemade products to other foreigners (jams, French cheese, homemade marmalade, American peanut butter, etc.)
Jobs in international companies requiring a strong command of English or French and/or specific technical skills for which there is a strong local demand. Very specific engineering positions where communication can be done in English are good examples.
Jobs requiring a good command of Spanish
Once you speak Spanish correctly, you will have access to the same employment opportunities as Chileans. Note, however, that opportunities can still be very different from here, because in Chile (as in most Latin American countries):
1) Employers tend to think that you will work exclusively in the field in which you graduated, regardless of your previous work experience.
- If you have studied medicine, you will become a doctor.
- If you have studied history, you will become a history teacher.
2) Employers tend to value some degrees and universities much more than others.
A degree in commercial engineering (specific to Chile, a mixture of business and engineering schools), law, medicine or economics is considered higher than a degree in social sciences, humanities or arts.
Regardless of international rankings, universities in the United States and the United Kingdom are assumed to be of better quality than universities in China, Japan, France, Germany, etc.
In Chile, some universities are considered superior to others because they are much more selective at entry. Most of the people in positions of responsibility come from these universities. These are the Universidad de Chile and the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile.
3) There are not many jobs in some professional fields, such as NGOs or international organizations.
4) Finally, the Chilean government does not allow foreigners to exercise certain professions, unless they go through a lengthy procedure to legalize their foreign diploma.
The main regulated professions include those related to medicine, as well as the protection of the nation (police, army, etc.). Foreign lawyers are also not allowed to plead before a Chilean court.
If you are considering working in a regulated profession, be prepared for a lot of bureaucracy, inconsistencies and delays. Some people manage to have their diploma recognized after 6 to 12 months, while others have to repeat a five-year diploma in the same field in order to be able to practice their profession.
Working conditions and cost of living
Before coming to work in Chile, it is useful to compare the conditions with your country of origin. This is an important element to consider before settling in Chile. Although Chile is a country with a good level of economic development, wages are surprisingly low, while the cost of living in Santiago de Chile is comparable to that of French provincial cities.
Chileans work 45 hours a week (from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., 5 days a week with a one-hour break) and receive only three weeks of holidays per year and about ten public holidays (feriados). Employees are expected to take their vacation mainly during the summer months, in January or February.
These heavy schedules, coupled with low wages, impact employee motivation and productivity, which is generally quite low.
The minimum wage is 290,000 Chilean pesos (CLP) and many Chileans do not earn much more than that. Young graduates leaving university can receive between 600,000 and 1,000,000 CLPs. Few Chileans earn more than 2.5 million Chilean pesos, even with a lot of professional experience.
Cost of living in Chile
Some things in Chile are very cheap (such as food purchased from a local market), while others are very expensive (such as health care and education). Count at least 500,000-700,000 Chilean pesos per person per month to cover your basic needs (for example, a room in a shared apartment, food, public transport and some outings from time to time.
How to find a job in Chile? The instructions for use
Where can I find job offers?
There are two main ways to work in Chile. Find a job through your personal network (what Chileans call a “pituto”, or piston in French), or go through job offer sites.
Building a personal network
We recommend these few associations, which will allow you to meet foreigners and Chileans with an international profile:
- Santiago Accueil (www.santiagoaccueil.com), an association that welcomes French people arriving in Santiago. Recently, it has included a “Santiago Pro” service dedicated to job search assistance
- Internations (www.internations.org), a website for English-speaking expatriates, with local offices in many cities around the world,
- International Association of Chile (www.iachile.org)
- IPWA – International Profesional Women’s Association (www.ipwasantiago.org)
The main job offers are available on the following portals:
In addition, you can also use the following job sites:
- LinkedIn (only the highest positions)
- Yapo.cl (very low-skilled jobs)
- Getonbrd.cl (IT-related jobs)
- Pegasconsentido.cl (jobs with social impact)
Respond to job offers
Most foreigners need 3 to 6 months to be hired somewhere, but those looking for work in very specific sectors may take a little longer.
Is it useful to apply from abroad?
In theory, you can apply for positions in Chile from anywhere in the world. In practice, most companies will not consider your application until you are in Chile and available for interviews with 1 to 7 days’ notice. For this reason, it is strongly recommended to arrive in Chile first and then start responding to the advertisements that interest you.
Typical recruitment process in Chile
Once in Chile, it will be much easier to find a job. However, this will still not be easy. Most Chilean employers will not consider you for a temporary work permit until you have one and will not be interested in helping you get one.
Here is what you can expect from the selection process:
- Sending your CV
- You apply by submitting a CV in a format similar to that used in the United States and Europe. No cover letter or personal photo is required.
A psychologist (almost all recruiters in Chile are psychologists) can call you for 3 to 15 minutes to ask you some basic questions about your professional experience, availability and/or salary expectations. The main purpose of this first interview is to eliminate irrelevant applications, without wasting time with a job interview process. That is why in Chile, almost all companies ask you for your salary expectations.
If the first interview is successful, a recruiter invites you to take a 30 to 60 minutes interview at his office and/or to take psychological tests. In Chile, personality tests are very popular. We can mention in particular:
- Luscher’s color test, to analyze a person’s emotional state according to the colors they choose.
- the Rorschach or Zulliger tests, during which you must describe what you write on the plates with ink spots drawn on them.
- the man in the rain test, during which you must draw a person in the rain.
Your future boss may invite you to participate in a second interview of 30 to 60 minutes.
To get a general idea of what a person in a given position should earn, see:
Steps after hiring
Are you hired? And then what?
You are almost ready to enjoy your new life in Chile. But first, there are still some formalities to be completed.
First, Chilean law requires you to register for a pension fund and health insurance and requires your employer to deposit 10% and 7% of your salary into these respective funds each month. You must also register with the tax office and obtain a local bank account.
Pension funds (AFP)
The law requires all foreigners to register with AFP Planvital (https://www.planvital.cl/) during the first 2 years of their stay in Chile. When leaving Chile, it is possible (although difficult!) to withdraw all your pension contributions at the same time, under certain conditions, defined by law 18.156.
CAUTION: Do not expect your Chilean pension to be a significant contribution to your retirement pension. All these pension funds are poorly managed and charge excessive fees. In fact, since France has a retirement agreement with Chile, it may be more interesting to have your terms worked in Chile recognized by the French retirement system.
Health insurance (FONASA / ISAPRE)
Employers are legally required to deduct 7% of your income and deposit it into the Chilean health insurance of your choice. No matter that you have already taken out health insurance elsewhere in the world, your employer must deposit it in one of Chile’s FONASA / ISAPRE funds.
All foreigners are automatically registered with FONASA, Chile’s public health insurance, but they can choose to register with a private health insurance fund (ISAPRE). For those who earn more than 600,000 CLP per month, ISAPRE insurance generally offers better coverage than FONASA.
Here are the main differences between FONASA / ISAPRE:
FONASA: Free medical care in most cases in underfunded and poorly managed public hospitals. The service is correct for minor health problems, but very problematic for more serious conditions.
ISAPRE: Private medical care in private hospitals of reasonable to excellent quality. The main clinics include Clínica Alemana, Clínica Las Condes and Clínica Indisa. Depending on your age, gender, monthly contribution, clinic preferences and health status at the time of registration, you will receive a table listing the percentage of coverage by clinic/type of disease. It should be noted that ISAPRE charges women of childbearing age at a much higher rate than men.
CAUTION: Chile’s private health system is known for its excess medication and patients. Be careful when using a private clinic, as most ISAPREs generally only cover part of your medical bill and clinics will find many tips to keep you in the hospital longer.
All foreigners are legally required to register with the IIC and report in April of each year their income earned in Chile during the previous year. To do this, you need a tax number.
When you obtain your Chilean identity card, the RUN number on it automatically acts as a RUT number (tax ID). If you start working before you have your identity card (for example with a work permit while your visa is being obtained), you must apply for a temporary tax number.
Once you have a valid Chilean national identity card, you can obtain a local bank account. The Chilean government allows everyone to obtain a basic bank account (CuentaRut) with BancoEstado. There are no account maintenance fees, but fees on withdrawals and transfers. In addition, the account is limited to a maximum of 4,000,000 pesos. You will probably prefer to have a current bank account in another bank if you are starting to earn some money.
FIND AN INTERNSHIP IN CHILI
Chile has been one of South America’s most stable economies for several decades. Even during the 2008-2009 crisis and the 2010 earthquake that devastated the country, Chile continued to make progress and significantly expanded its economy.
Most of Chile’s wealth comes from the mining sector, particularly from copper and lithium mining. However, Chile has major plans to develop other industrial and commercial sectors.
Below are the most promising sectors of activity, in which many students find an internship. We do not detail in this article the techniques of internship search, which are very similar to job search. To do this, you can read our article Finding a job in Chile.
Growth sectors in Chile for an internship
Chile’s biodiversity is unanimously recognized. Where can you find burning deserts, ancient glacial fjords and more than 30 active volcanoes in the same country? Whether it is sustainable tourism or wildlife conservation, there is much to be done. There are dozens of national parks in Chile, 9 of which are UNESCO biosphere reserves, which regularly recruit interns.
The urgent problems of deforestation and pollution in Chile allow trainees to learn more about sustainable practices and the conservation of the country’s natural resources. Many internships are offered through non-profit organizations or tourism companies dedicated to promoting sustainable practices and environmental awareness.
Chile’s economic stability has attracted significant volumes of foreign direct investment and multinational companies are thriving in its capital, Santiago. Over the past decade or so, the Chilean government has invested heavily in attracting young foreign companies in order to make Chile South America’s innovation hub. The Startup Chile program has been created, which hosts about 40 startups three times a year. Startups in this program are regularly looking for interns
This booming entrepreneurial scene makes Chile one of the best places in South America for students looking for a business experience in the field. Interns can acquire an in-depth knowledge of commercial relations with Latin American countries by working on projects ranging from market research to marketing projects.
Chile’s ambition is to become the Silicon Valley of Latin America. Many American software publishers are increasing their staff in Santiago and an increasingly important environment is developing in the capital. Students can find internships in software development for various multinational or local companies. These companies are better able to find companies that organize internships abroad.
Despite the strength of its economy, social inequalities remain high in Chile. In fact, it is one of the most unequal countries in the OECD, according to UN reports. Many non-governmental organizations and charities are dedicated to this subject, in order to help local populations.
There are different types of organizations. Some of them focus on improving access to health care, developing education, or defending the rights of indigenous peoples (Mapuche). Trainees interested in social issues can be involved in fundraising, or in marketing and information campaigns for local and international organizations in Chile.
Media and communication
Chileans are big consumers of online content, and use social networks extensively to communicate. This commitment makes it easier for companies to communicate to promote their brands. In fact, there is a strong demand in the online marketing sector.
Many internships are therefore to be filled, either in large companies, startups or marketing agencies.
Here is a brief overview of the growth sectors. For more details and search tips, you can read our article Finding a job in Chile, or visit the Job Search forum.
DIRECTORY OF FRENCH COMPANIES IN CHILE
Real Estate / Relocation / Support for expatriates
A French-speaking relocation agency in Chile, founded in 2016, Bretagne Propiedades assists French people in their search for accommodation for rent or sale, or investment opportunities.
Real estate hunting: search for apartments or houses for expatriates… but also offices, commercial or industrial premises for companies,
Market research: before considering the installation or opening of new points of sale, feasibility analysis from a real estate cost point of view, and suggestion of location,
More information: www.bretagne.cl
Expat.cl, a French-speaking relocation agency based in Santiago de Chile, founded in 2016, assists expatriates in all their efforts.
- Visa Assistance: obtaining work visas, temporary visas for Chile, work permits,
- Housing search: pre-selection according to the needs of the expatriate and his family, orientation tour, coordination of visits
- School search: support for the enrolment of children in their new school
- Relocation of pets: to ensure that your pets can enter Chile without any problems, the agency takes the necessary steps
- Short-term accommodation: a wide choice of options for furnished apartments and houses available in the short term
- Bank account: making appointments with Chilean banks working with expatriates, setting up the file
More information: www.expat.cl
Investment in Chile / Support for companies wishing to set up in Chile
For companies wishing to set up or prepare an investment project, Invest in Chile offers a complete range of services, in French, English or Spanish.
- Market research study
- Commercial representation
- Business development
- Creation of a subsidiary
- Visa / Immigration Support
- Accounting / Legal
More information: investinchile.com
Specialising in industrial equipment for the mining, steel and maritime industries, Allied manufactures and distributes a wide range of conveyor systems. All components are available, assembled or not: belts, conveyor belts, rollers and supports, as well as drive pulley.
Website : allied.cl