Moving to Brazil


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Brazil is the largest country in South America and home to an ever-expanding expat population. With its resource-rich economy and booming mining, agricultural and manufacturing sectors, there is an extensive range of job opportunities for expats moving to Brazil. Vibrant cities, pristine beaches, exotic jungles and gargantuan rivers add further allure to make Brazil an exhilarating destination full of exciting travel and career potential.

Brasilia, the capital and a UNESCO World Heritage site, is the seat of Brazil’s government, and home to over 100 embassies and consulates and the headquarters for a number of national companies.

Rio de Janeiro, famous for its towering statue of Christ the Redeemer and the Rio Carnival, was Brazil’s capital for two centuries during the country’s colonial and initial post-colonial periods. Rio now represents the second largest urban economy in the country and the 30th largest in the world. It also houses the headquarters of a number of major oil, telecommunications and media companies, as well as the seat of Brazil’s research and development sectors.  

Sao Paulo also boasts some impressive statistics. Expats considering living in Sao Paulo would potentially be moving to the 7th largest metropolitan area in the world and the southern hemisphere’s largest city. Home to BOVESPA (the Sao Paulo Stock Exchange) and the second largest stock exchange in the Americas, Sao Paulo is an ethnically diverse city with a seemingly endless skyline and streets lined with skyscrapers, colonial buildings, Catholic cathedrals and the green breathing space of parks and recreational areas.

While Brazil has all the statistics of a world economic powerhouse, the country is not without its problems. A Portuguese colony for three centuries, Brazil gained independence in 1822, heralding years of political instability and military intervention. Finally in the late 1980s Brazil adopted a democratic constitution. Democracy does not translate into equality, however. Brazil has a vastly unequal income distribution which has resulted in higher crime rates in the larger cities and the growth of the infamous favelas or slum areas. However, this relatively young democracy has become South America’s leading economic power and on a global platform it is one of the resource-rich BRIC countries.

Due to its size, the easiest way to travel between cities around Brazil is by plane. Brazil has the largest road network in Latin America, which makes car travel a viable option. It also means car ownership is a good idea for those expats living on the outskirts of cities, or wanting to explore the countryside. Long-distance buses, trains and boats keep the country connected. Within cities there are generally extensive bus services and a range of bus companies to choose from. Major cities such as Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro and Brasilia all have efficient metros connecting the different parts of these cities.

All the major cities have a number of English language international schools servicing the diplomatic, expat and immigrant populations. Brazil has both public and private healthcare available. English is the language of international business but speaking Portuguese is vital for expats when conducting business and taking care of everyday affairs in Brazil.

Brazil has a number of local and international banks offering a range of services to expat clients. ATMs, debit and credit facilities are available and most banks offer electronic and Internet banking services as a norm. Expats will need a residence visa before an account can be opened. With its regional prominence, Brazil is home to a number of international and multinational companies.

Expats moving to Brazil will experience a range of regional delicacies as well as a host of dishes influenced by Brazil’s vast immigrant communities from Italy, Japan, Portugal, and China. Brazil’s national drink is the capirinha, and the national dish is feijoada (various pork cuts with black beans). Barbecues are common in Brazil and with such a long coastline, seafood is a staple. Larger cities stock a variety of Western items and foodstuffs; however, if you are attached to a very specific brand then many experienced expats will recommend you bring stock over with you.

From the Amazon basin to the beautiful beaches along its northern and eastern shores, Brazil’s climate is as varied as its terrain. The whole country encompasses six climatic regions: tropical rainforest, tropical wet and dry, tropical monsoon, semi-arid, humid subtropical and subtropical highland.  

No matter your priorities, with its vibrant cities and varied wildlife Brazil makes for a great destination for expats.

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