Work in Buenos Aires: The jobs you are able to find if you don’t have a visa

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Travelers often come to Buenos Aires with the idea to stay and work for a while. Others plan on spending only a few days in Buenos Aires, and realize they don´t want to leave. Whatever your reason is for wanting to live in Buenos Aires is, chances are you will need some form of work to hold you over. Read on for an idea of the types of jobs you can find while living in BA.

One of the first questions that travelers will ask is “How hard is it to find work in Buenos Aires?” The answer is simple. It is quite easy to find work in Buenos Aires if your native language is English. The hard part is finding a GOOD job that pays WELL. These are few and far between, and very difficult to find if you don´t have a work visa. You run into the common problem of “an employer will not hire you unless you have a visa, and you can´t get a visa if you don´t have an employer.” This is not always the case, but for most people, this is what you´ll run into.

Your best option then is to make the best with what you´ve got. Read the following to find out what are the jobs you can find while working “en negro” in Buenos Aires. Once you are working in one of these, if you decide you want to stay for the long run, you can either work on getting your residency, or search for an employer willing to help you get a visa.

Teaching ESL in Buenos Aires
By far the most common job for foreigners, native English speakers flock to Buenos Aires by the dozen, taking an ESL certification course and then staying for a while to teach. The good news is, there is a HUGE demand for ESL teachers. The bad news is that the pay is pretty bad, at around $25 pesos per hour. Most ESL jobs are private or small group lessons teaching professionals, and require you to go to different offices to teach your students. Visit my page on Teaching English in Buenos Aires for more info.

Journalism
There are a number of English publications in Buenos Aires, and some of them will hire foreigners. You have to have some skill as a writer, and it helps if you have a degree in journalism or writing.

Call Centers
This is probably the least appealing option for working in Buenos Aires. Just like call centers in the rest of the world, the job is painfully boring, and often times, you are not treated particularly well. However, it is a feasible option as a last resort, if you can´t find anything else and you need something to tide you over for a while.

Bars/Restaurants
Many bars and restaurants will hire foreigners, especially if they are ones that cater to tourists. You usually have to speak a little bit of Spanish, but rarely do they require that you are fluent. Sometimes your salary will only be the tips you make (tipping is only about 10% here, sometimes less), or sometimes they will pay you a small salary on top of that. The best bars to look for are the expat ones, such as Gibraltar (San Telmo), Casa Bar (Recoleta), Sugar http://www.sugarbuenosaires.com/ and Sonoman´s (Palermo).

OLX
A free on-line classifieds webpage (similar to Craigslist), they have a homepage for over 30 different countries, and in more than 10 languages. The head office is in Buenos Aires, and they are always in need of foreigners who speak languages other than Spanish.

Working Remotely
Many people nowadays are lucky enough to be able to do all of their work online. If you fall into this category, you can basically go anywhere in the world and work, as long as you have an internet connection. This is a great option if you are being paid in dollars or pounds, because those will go a long way in Buenos Aires.

Volunteering
Volunteering in Buenos Aires is becoming more popular every year, and although you don’t make any money to help you stay here longer, you will earn some great experience. There are some great volunteer programs here, and time after time I speak with people who are ecstatic about the volunteering they’ve done in Buenos Aires. It gives you a great chance to learn more about the culture, and also to improve your Spanish, not to mention how good it looks on a resume. If you have some money saved, and aren’t planning on staying for a long period of time, this may be the most rewarding option for you.

**Here is something important to keep in mind. If you plan on coming to Buenos Aires to work for an extended period of time (over six months) you should bring the documents you will need if you apply for a visa. It can take a long time to get all of these documents, and it is especially difficult to organize it all from Argentina, not to mention more expensive.

The benefit of bringing these documents with you, is that if you find a company that requires these documents, you will already have them, and can start working immediately. Additionally, if you decide you want to stay and get your residency yourself, you will need them anyway.
Here is what you need to bring from your country:

  • Two original copies of your birth certificate
  • An official criminal record check. For most countries, it can´t be just a criminal record check from your city´s local police station. For example, Americans need to get it from the FBI, and Canadians from the RCMP
  • All three of these documents MUST be apostilled. Note to Canadians: a notary public certification is NOT considered an apostille.

Have you found a job in Buenos Aires? We’d love to hear from you, which would be a big help for our readers.

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6 Comments

  1. Keith B. Smith says:

    I was wondering if a licensed practical nurse from the United States qualifies to work in Buenos Aires.

  2. Kristin says:

    Finding a job is really hard in BA! To save money check out http://www.budgetba.com for tips on how to live on a budget in Buenos Aires.

  3. Nancy says:

    I’ve been living in Buenos Aires for two years now. I moved here in 2008 because I met a guy in university who I ended up falling in love with, and to whom I’m married now.

    Given that I didn’t speak Spanish, it was really hard for me find a job locally. There are many jobs here for expats, but many of them like for you have to knowledge in Spanish. Most companies that hire English speakers do business here as well, so the Spanish is helpful.

    So, my only option was to teach English. That totally flopped after in late 2008. The peso went from 1 USD=3.05 ARS to 1 USD=3.60something over night. It was insane. Since then, it’s climbed to about 3.95 now, and inflation is a serious, serious problem.

    In 2009, I started looking for work at home jobs. Honestly, if you want to live in Buenos Aires, it’s the only way to go. I found a job with RosettaStone teaching English part time and writing course materials. They pay me a U.S. wage, which makes life here so much easier. As an English teacher, I was getting paid 25 pesos an hour.. $6.32 USD an hour. I wasn’t even working full time!!

    FYI, I found my job on http://www.newtelecommutejoblist.com, but I also used http://www.craigslist.com … both sites have a lot of work at home opportunities. Newtelecommute does a better job of getting rid of the scams.

    Good luck.. and if anyone has any questions, feel free to add me on Skype and ask! my skype: nancy.k.freshinger

    Suerte!

  4. Charlie says:

    As a foreigner in Buenos Aires the easiest work to get, and the quickest to find, is work as an English teacher. All you need is a TEFL or CELTA certificate which is a straightforward 1 month course you can do in the city.
    You can find plenty of work in numerous institutes around the city as native English teachers are always highly sought after. It is also easy as a majority of institutes don’t require you (at least straight away) to get a visa, which would takes months.

    Check out this site for more useful information: http://livinginbsas.blogspot.com/p/finding-job.html

  5. trying still says:

    For those who do want a work visa i found this post really really helpful http://www.expanish.com/blog/2011/08/how-to-get-a-work-visa-in-argentina/

  6. DANIEL Naves says:

    I’m a Brazilian…i speak English, Spanish and Portuguese. I need a Work visa (because Brazil is a Menber of Mercosul).
    What my options?

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