Working in Paraguay



Though Paraguay is not as famous as its neighbouring countries Buenos Aires and Rio de Janeiro, one can still deny the significant economic growth it displayed since gaining independence from Spain in 1811. Today, this landlocked nation is continuously developing at a strong pace and boasts one of the leading agriculture and production sectors in South America. 

Paraguay is one of the major emerging markets in South America. It posted the highest economic expansion in 2010 and 2013, growing at an annual rate of 14.5% and 13.6% respectively. Paraguay’s Ciudad del Este is the third-most free commercial zone in the world after Miami and Hong Kong, boosting the country’s reputation as a top investment destination. In 2015, Paraguay’s Gross Domestic Product was worth 27.62 billion USD, a value that represented about 0.04% of the world’s economy. 

Major Industries 

Producing around 25% of the nation’s gross domestic product and employs roughly 31% of the labour force is Paraguay’s mineral industry. Steel, iron ore, cement are three of the most common products of the industrial sector. Aside from that, this country is also the fourth-largest producer of soybean and now. Other large industries in Paraguay nowadays are clothing, automobile and manufacturing plants. 

A huge percentage of the Paraguayan labour force is engaged in micro enterprises and the large informal sector. Expats, on the other hand, are employed in the manufacturing and mining sectors. Some of the multinational companies in the country include the British American Tobacco, DHL, Rio Tinto Alcan, BBVA, Archer Daniels Midland and Granular. Since it is relatively cheap to start a business in Paraguay, not to mention the lax regulatory environment, many expats choose to venture into entrepreneurship. 

Career as an English Teacher 

Teaching English is a top career choice for expats in Paraguay. The Spanish-speaking country has a huge demand for English teachers in its tourism sector and industries expand. Expats with Teaching English as a Second Language (TESL) credentials are preferred. The request for teachers is significantly high in private schools that cater to the Paraguayan elites. Most teaching opportunities are concentrated in key cities: Encarnacion, Ciudad del Este, and the capital city of Asuncion. The public sector is also in need of foreign teachers who can add value to the state-funded education system. However, the salary and working conditions in public schools are not ideal for most expats. 

Average Salary and Income Tax 

In December 2016, the minimum wage in Paraguay increased to 1,964.51 PYG per month from 1,824.06 PYG in November of that same year. Expats who will work in Asuncion, the capital, can expect a minimum salary of around 329 to 335 USD. The average monthly salary in this city is considered as the fifth best minimum wage in Latin America and is quite enough since the cost of living in Paraguay is one of the most affordable in South America. 

Generally speaking, the Personal Income Tax (PIT) in Paraguay applies to all individuals that have Paraguayan source of income. The individual PIT rate is 10% if the income exceeds 120 times the minimum wage while the rate for those whose annual income is below 120 is 8%. 

Working Hours 

As per the Paraguayan article 194 of Labour Code, the normal working hours for an employee is eight hours per day or a total of 48 hours per week while the maximum number of working days (per week) should be no more than six. Premiums for overtime work should be equivalent to 50.0% of the worker’s hourly rate while the payment for work done during a rest day should be 100.0% of the hourly rate. 

Business Culture 

When it comes to work practices, the locals have the tendency to be late in appointments but they still expect expat colleagues to arrive in time. Most business meetings in this country normally start 10 to 20 minutes late. Face to face communication is also a vital part of establishing a business or work relationship with the Paraguayans. Though they will agree to talk over the phone or the internet, foreign assignees should still ensure that they schedule a personal appointment as soon as possible. 

The business culture in Paraguay is generally conservative. Women should avoid dresses that show too much skin while men are best to wear dark suits and ties. The locals also pay close attention to grooming and cleanliness particularly to one’s nails, hair, make up and clothes. 

Finding a Job 

Expats considering a career in Paraguay should ensure that they have the necessary employment related documents. The first place where expats can start looking for a job is in the internet and the three top websites that contain job listings in Paraguay are: 

Under the Paraguayan Immigrations Law, foreigners staying in the country without the proper documentation may be charged a penalty, expelled from Paraguay or sent to prison. 


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