An increasing number of expats are calling Colombia home, attracted by the natural beauty, welcoming locals, and easy-going lifestyle. The country has made impressive economic progress over the last 15 years despite political instability. It has enjoyed massive growth in the information technology, mining, construction and tourism industries.

The abundance of natural resources, stability of the economy, low cost of living and the nation’s promotion of free trade agreements have led to strong foreign investment in recent years. As one of the world’s fastest-growing major economies, Colombia remains an attractive destination for foreign investors and entrepreneurs.

Expat entrepreneurs often find that the process of starting a business is much less tedious than searching for a traditional job. Entering the Colombian job market is often quite difficult for expats. Though some knowledge of Spanish will make the process easier. Securing a job before arrival is uncommon. Obtaining the necessary visas can be a lengthy and frustrating process as well. If a company wants to hire an expat, they will need to submit a document detailing the employment offer. They will also have to explain why they aren’t hiring a Colombian for the position. Smaller companies, such as TEFL language schools, may be reluctant to sponsor an expat's visa. 


Job market in Colombia

Due to the growth of tourism in the country and an increasing emphasis on locals learning English, most expats in Colombia tend to work as English language teachers. These jobs are plentiful and are relatively easy to secure for native speakers. Teachers can work in government-sponsored programmes, language schools or they can give private lessons. The pay tends to be quite low. Many expats start off teaching in an effort to make connections and adjust to Colombian culture in a more relaxed environment.

Expat job markets are largely centred on Bogotá and Medellín, but jobs can be found across the country. 


Finding a job in Colombia

It can be very difficult to find a job before arriving in Colombia. Colombians value face-to-face contact and prefer to meet prospective employees in person before making hiring decisions. However, expats can begin the process from home by making contacts via social media, professional networking sites and expat groups or forums.

Other expats may prove to be the most useful resource in searching for opportunities, though job advertisements can also be found in local newspapers, on noticeboards and community forums, or through online job boards. Spanish fluency will be very helpful when searching for a job on Colombian websites and in the local classifieds. Many employers won't speak English either. It's important to make sure all necessary documents, including resumes, have been translated into Spanish.

In some cases, it may be easier to start a new business in Colombia rather than finding a traditional job. The country is actively promoting entrepreneurship and seeking foreign investment. 


Work culture in Colombia

Expats will find that fostering good relationships with friends and colleagues is central to Colombian work culture. Inland cities like Bogotá and Medellín are more formal in their work culture, while in coastal areas like Cartagena locals have a more relaxed approach to business.

Time and punctuality are not generally of great importance. Expats should be prepared for meetings to start late and run overtime. They shouldn't be offended if colleagues are not punctual for appointments. 

Expat Health Insurance

Cigna_logo_300.png

Cigna Global

With 86 million customer relationships in over 200 countries, Cigna Global has unrivalled experience in dealing with varied and unique medical situations and delivering high standards of service wherever you live in the world.

Get a quote from Cigna Global

Cigna_logo_300.png

Moving Internationally?

Sirelo has a network of more than 500 international removal companies that can move your furniture and possessions to your new home. By filling in a form, you’ll get up to 5 quotes from recommended movers. This service is free of charge and will help you select an international moving company that suits your needs and budget.

Get your free no-obligation quotes now!