Despite its size Nicaragua is one of the poorest countries in Central America. Jobs are hard to find and so anybody who isn’t Nicaraguan will find it difficult to become employed. The options are very limited. Most foreigners working in Nicaragua are either sent there by the companies they work for, ones that have moved to Nicaragua and opened a business or are volunteers working for a NGO.

There will be some paid positions with the NGOs, but it is highly unlikely that anyone would just be able to apply without first being a member. Like the other Latin American countries, teaching English or another foreign language is usually the old standby. Institutions from universities to primary schools are always on the lookout for native speakers. It all depends on the requirements that they want. Sometimes just being a native speaker is enough, especially if you offer your services privately. Nicaragua tries to protect its local employment market as much as possible, but it is more flexible when it comes to language teaching.

The only other alternative is to look in the tourist industry. This is one area of the economy that is expanding all the time. Although it may be difficult to get formal work in the big hotels and restaurants, as they give preference to local people, there are many much smaller concerns that may need help. Many of these are ecotourism businesses and are owned by foreigners. They are advertising for people with skills from computing to gardening. Many of these jobs are paid in kind; instead of a salary and so don’t break any employment laws.

Finding employment in Nicaragua is difficult.  And strict labor laws are in place to protect the jobs of local residents.  If you’re an expat looking to move to Nicaragua, we suggest you go with the mindset of creating a new business and providing jobs for local people, rather than seeking employment.

You need to apply for temporary residency to have permission to work in Nicaragua, but you do not necessarily need to have a residency or work visa to start a business.  You also don’t have to be a Nicaraguan resident to own shares in a Nicaraguan Corporation.

Some of the content on this page was contributed by….

Brooke Rundle, blogger at San Juan Live and co-author of the Insider Guide to San Juan del Sur electronic guidebook.


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