Portable Careers in South America: Spotlighting Chile

Posted on Mar 14, 2019 | 0 comments

Portable Careers in South America: Spotlighting Chile

Who does not (occasionally) dream of being able to trade the long cold winters in the northern hemisphere for six months of sunshine, without having to wait until retirement? Ever imagined a life in South America? For those with portable careers, this is a feasible goal. Portable careers have always existed — think nurses, journalists, teachers — but now are within arm’s reach for most because of improving technology, globalization and the increasing demand for services over goods. If you really enjoy your current career, but always longed to live  in a different country or region, you might be surprised to learn that you can have both at the same time.

Expats in Chile

Renowned for its natural beauty and diversity, the South American country of Chile has long beckoned to travelers from all over the globe. As the increase of expats relocating to Central and South American continues, Chile is showing some increase in expats as well.


Portable careers in Chile

When I lived in Chile, I met many expatriates with portable careers. Some of them were international professionals with a wanderlust who were attracted by the South American culture. Many were spouses of expats, who were forced to think outside of the box because of frequent relocations. Some of these spouses were able to continue to work remotely with their former employer on a consultancy basis; others had to become entrepreneurial. While back “home,” they worked for one employer to provide HR, marketing, business analytics or IT services, in their new country, they often expanded to work with multiple clients.


Chilean business culture

A number of independent consultants initially tried focusing on the local market but found that doing business with Chileans takes patience and a thick skin due to the intensive relationship building that is required prior to conducting business.


Often, cultural differences between Latin and other Western cultures can result in mistrust and failing business, which forces international professionals to switch their focus to their fellow expatriates or international clients. Learning how to understand local culture–particularly the business culture when seeking employment–and appreciate differences is an important aspect of success in living abroad.   


Unique 6-month work visa in Chile for entrepreneurs

The mining sector in Chile is one of the main pillars of Chilean economy. For many years now, Chile has recognized that this dependency is a risky business and Chile has been trying to diversify by inviting innovation to its country.


In 2010, Chile launched a grand innovation experiment: it pays foreign entrepreneurs to come and visit for six months. It offers USD $40,000 seed money plus free office space, Internet access, mentoring, and networking. All Chile asks in return is that the foreigners interact with local entrepreneurs and consider making the country their permanent home.


This project is based on the premise that the foreign entrepreneurs will transform Chile’s entrepreneurial culture by teaching the locals how to take risks, help each other, and form global connections. This project is still in existence and is a great opportunity for international professionals with portable skills and innovative business ideas to commence or continue their portable career and help a country advance toward a more sustainable economy. For more information, check the StartUpChile website.  


Additional work visa opportunities

While the regular work permit application process requires a local sponsor, there are some programs that may help those who only want to be in South America for limited time. For instance, if you’re under 35 you may qualify for the Working Holiday Program, and in some cases writers, teacher, artists and scientists can get a work permit without sponsorship. For more details check the country government immigration authority websites or, if you have access to Passport Career’s password-protected site, login and you’ll find further information in our country portfolios.

by Marian Hakze, Expert Global Career Coach for Passport Career


Passport Career provides detailed career information and extensive resources as well as career training about networking, finding a job, internship, alternative career opportunities, job search using social media as well as information on writing CVs, cover letters and interviews. If your corporation, organization, embassy, university/college, library, or other institution would like access to our country portfolios (15,000+ pages of expert content for 80+ countries and 250+ cities) to share with your students, employees, spouses/partners, and others managing a national or international career transition, please click here to contact us (or send email to: global@passportcareer.com) regarding a free, live, online demo and details on how to obtain a license to access Passport Career. Individuals interested in subscribing may contact global@passportcareer.com for more information.

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