Working in Argentina

Finding work in Argentina as an expat is probably the biggest hurdle facing those relocating to the country. Expats who are offered a job in Argentina through a foreign corporation should definitely take up the challenge. It is likely that expats will earn a good salary and the company should also sort out all the required visas and work permits. Furthermore, those working for a foreign company may not be confronted with such a glaring language barrier.

Unless expats are employed by a foreign company, they will need to be in possession of a DNI (Documento Nacional de Identidad or National Identity Card). Without this, expats are not legally able to work in Argentina. Expats can apply for this once they have lived in Argentina for at least two years on a temporary residence visa. 

Job market in Argentina

Expats moving to Argentina and planning to look for work once there may run into difficulties. Job opportunities for expats are limited and local wages can be considerably lower than those some foreigners are accustomed to. In Argentina, most of the opportunities for expats are in the big cities, specifically in the banking, IT and oil sectors.

Alternatively, Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) is a popular option, but expats should be mindful of the low rates of pay associated with this occupation; it is usually more suitable for singles travelling for a limited time or for students.

Finding work in Argentina

Getting a job in Argentina is not an easy task. As a general rule, Argentines are very protective of each other in terms of employment and will always offer work to a local before a foreigner. It is also necessary to speak a high level of Spanish in order to qualify for most jobs.

Work permits for Argentina

Argentinians are generally very welcoming and friendly towards foreigners. Nevertheless, local employers are often discouraged from hiring expats if work permit issues are involved; the process is extremely bureaucratic and can take ages to complete.

That said, projects or freelance work can be found with small start-ups or expat entrepreneurs. These employers are often happy to pay cash in return for skills brought by a foreigner. This, however, does not solve the visa situation for a long-term stay in Argentina.

Having a Documento Nacional de Identidad (DNI) allows expats to work in Buenos Aires on equal footing with any other Argentinian, but unless employed by an international company, expats should expect a serious reduction in wages.

Work culture in Argentina

Employment law in Argentina is very strict. The LCT (Ley de Contrato de Trabajoor Law on Contract Employment) regulates all aspects of working life, from employee rights and conditions to wage protection and employee/employer obligations. By law, residents in Argentina must be 18 years of age before they can start working.

The working day in Argentina is eight hours long. Outside of Buenos Aires, the siesta has to be taken into account, so working hours are typically 8:30am to 12:30pm and then 4pm to 8pm. This equals approximately 48 work hours per week. People are not expected to work on Saturday afternoons and Sundays, although most shops are open all day Saturday.

Employees are paid 13 months' salary per year; this is a built-in bonus system that is mandatory according to Argentine labour law. Half the bonus is paid in June, whereas the other half in December. Fourteen days annual leave is the starting norm (once employed for a year), thereafter increasing according to years of service.

Expats are advised to do everything in Argentina legally as Argentines are quite litigious about breaking employment rules.


Gilly Rich is a writer and editor who has travelled and lived abroad for most of her life. Currently living in Argentina with her family, she runs, which is an A to Z guide of how to get by in San Rafael, Mendoza. She has first-hand experience of the expat life and understands the need for support and encouragement when considering a new life abroad. You can contact her at

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