What Are Common Jobs in Costa Rica?
To find a job in Costa Rica, you must understand your own employability and the skills you already have that can be useful for the industry you´re trying to work for. The importance of the working market is key to connecting with your previous training and education to find a stable job. Lastly but not less relevant are soft skills (like critical thinking, creativity, teamwork, assertive communication, continuous education and more) which are dominant in the country, aligned with the Pura Vida lifestyle.
It mostly depends on where in Costa Rica you are that you can find different jobs. For example, tourism in coastal zones is predominant but call centers and sales are strong options in the cities.
Right now, the industries that offer the most jobs in Costa Rica are related to agriculture, sales, construction and cleaning.
Languages are going to open many doors for you. Costa Rica´s native language is Spanish but English, Portuguese and French are also common and technology or call center positions might require 3 idioms.
In the digital era, you must know computer basics, internet browsing and softwares like office packages, canva, and many more. There’s no way around it. Those tools that once were optional are a requirement for any office work you might apply to.
Amongst the most popular careers in Costa Rica, you can find Business administration, engineering, marketing, accounting, IT related, human resources, mechanics, health related, and laws. So the companies that are interested in hiring employees with these backgrounds will have more candidates than available positions and are the most competitive as well. Speaking of competitiveness, the predictions for the working market in Costa Rica are that social media, cybersecurity, data science and sustainability will gain relevance in the next 5 years.
What does a foreigner need to do to be able to work in Costa Rica legally?
There is a work permit provided by the Direccion General de Migracion y Extranjeria (La Uruca, San Jose). The company that hires you can process the request for you to get this permit but it can be processed by yourself as well. Also, you can request your permit and work for an international company remotely while located in Costa Rica.
For the procedure, you will need:
- Work permit form (provided by the Direccion General de Migracion y Extranjeria).
- A letter that includes: Full name, nationality, place and birthday, passport number, place and arrival date to Costa Rica, exact address where you will be staying in Costa Rica, occupation or profession, contact information.
- 2 passport size photos
- Work permit payment receipt
- Birth certificate
- Marriage certificate (if any)
- Copy of every page on your passport, even the blank ones.
- Employer certificate (if any)
- Certification of income or a salarial constance
- Confirmation of registration at the consulate
A foreign employee with a work permit has the same rights and obligations as a Costa Rican one. You are entitled to fair payment, vacations, paid sick leave, CCSS (public health insurance, 10.5% of your paycheck), legal contracts, and more. If any of this is not being provided, you can file a complaint in the Ministerio de Trabajo.
Eventually, you can get residency or a DIMEX (special identification for foreign independent workers).
Ministerio de Trabajo also has an scale for minimum wages for different job positions and different education levels. Ministerio de Hacienda has a scale for income tax. You can validate your superior education (high school diploma and up) or certificates too.
The process might be long but it is not complicated. We wish you very good luck to be able to work in Costa Rica.