Brazil's two most famous cities are Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo. One is for fun, and one is for business. São Paulo, as you might have guessed, is the city if you want a variety of good work opportunities, according to Debbie Guerra, vice president of operations for Unisys Global Outsourcing and Infrastructure Services. "There has been a 15- to 20-year migration of global and national businesses from Rio to São Paulo," says Guerra.
But São Paulo is also one of the more beautiful cities in Latin America, she adds.
What's hot: In São Paulo, there is a significant demand from the software development side and widespread support for everything open source, from Linux as the operating system to ODF as the document format of choice. The government of Brazil has gotten behind open source in a big way, and it has invested heavily in open source technology for public sector organizations.
There is also a great need for those with skills in networking, communications, collaboration, and mobility. "Mobility particularly because the telecommunications infrastructure on the mobile side is more advanced in Brazil because they don't have the same restrictions that we have here in the U.S.," Guerra says.
Outsourcing spans everything from IT to distributed infrastructure, application outsourcing, and business process outsourcing for the financial service industry. "Payment skills are real hot," Guerra says.
U.S. and multinational tech companies: All the major tech companies -- including Accenture, Hewlett-Packard, Infosys, Satyam, Softek, Tata Consultancy Services, Unisys, and Wipro -- have their headquarters in São Paulo. The bulk of telecom firms are also in São Paulo, though there are a few in Rio as well. The major local IT services firm is CPM Braxis. The university town of Campinas, 61 miles away, is also a major hub for tech companies, including IBM.
Although many multinationals have subsidiaries in Brazil, the hard fact is these companies mostly hire Brazilians. "Brazil is a complex country, and typically they don't encourage foreign professionals to work there," says Gabriel Rozman, executive vice president for emerging markets at Tata Consultancy Services.
Red tape: Brazil has employer-friendly labor policies, but ex-pats may have a hard time getting a job even if they are sponsored by a multinational. Such sponsorship is required to get a temporary work visa. If your local Brazilian consulate accepts the application, the permit will be good for two years.
The work-permit process is extensive, according to both Rozman and Guerra; the hiring company must show why it needs a foreigner rather than a Brazilian. If the company can prove the need, it takes about two or three months to acquire the necessary work permit.