Working in Argentina
Finding work in Argentina as an expat is probably the biggest hurdle facing those relocating to the South American country. Expats who are offered a ‘posting’ to the country through a foreign corporation should definitely take up the challenge. It is likely that expats will remain on their usual salary, which means their money would go a long way. A company’s human resources department should also sort out an expat’s visas and work permits. Furthermore, those working for a foreign company may not be confronted with such a glaring language barrier.
Expats moving to Argentina independently 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 expats may be accustomed to.
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.
Finding work in Argentina
Getting a job in Argentina is not an easy task. As a general rule, Argentineans are very protective of each other in terms of employment and will always offer work to an Argentinean before a foreigner. It is also necessary to speak a high level of Spanish in order to qualify for most jobs.
Most of the work available to expats is in the big cities, specifically in 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.
Working conditions in Argentina
Employment law in Argentina is very strict. The LCT (Ley de Contrato de Trabajo/ 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 Argentinian 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.
Women are not allowed, by law, to work 45 days before and 45 days after childbirth.
According to the data of the Institute of Statistics and Census (INDEC), more than 5 million Argentineans are not formally registered by their employers. This means they work in the ‘black’ and as such neither the employer nor the employee pay any taxes. It also means that neither side are protected by law. As such, it is not advisable to be an unregistered worker or to hire an unregistered worker.
Expats are advised to do everything in Argentina by the books as people are quite litigious about breaking employment rules.