You've heard all the hype about the Ciuidad de la Primavera Eterna (City of Eternal Spring) and now you want to discover it for yourself and work abroad in Colombia’s second city, Medellín. Medellín is finally making the news for the right reasons and if you fancy climbing up the professional ladder but want to do it abroad, Medellín is an up-and-coming city for start-ups and businesses as well as being a great place to work abroad. So, has your curiosity been piqued? Interested in finding out more about working abroad in Medellín? Keep reading, this guide will pave the way to finding a job in Medellín.
How do I look for a job in Medellín?
Most of your job search will be based on making contacts, networking and putting yourself out there. It’s difficult to find a job before going as the Colombian job market bases itself on making face-to-face contact with prospective employees. However, you could try finding job leads on social networks. LinkedIn has a lot of groups to do with job vacancies for foreigners in Colombia, Facebook has groups for expats which occasionally advertise job vacancies and if you follow brands and companies on Twitter you’re interested in working for, you may be able to find out about the job opportunities on offer there too.
Otherwise, it’s all about printing off CVs, making sure any official documents have been translated by a professional stamped with an official apostille, attending networking events and meeting the right people, which is very much the norm.
Jobs for Foreigners in Medellín
Most of the jobs on offer at the moment are for TEFL job as, due to the influx of English-speaking tourists and increased interaction with international companies, there is an increasing emphasis for Colombians to learn English. So the obvious job choice for native English speakers is teaching English. These positions tend to be in language schools teaching teens and adults rather than teaching English to children in state or private schools. The Colombian government has recently launched an English language teaching program which facilitates finding an English language teaching role, however the applicant has no choice over the location of the job. If you want to go it alone and find a job yourself in Medellín, your best luck would be to look for a TEFL job at the start of the year, which is also the start of the academic year.
If you fancy doing something a little bit different when working abroad in Medellín and your Spanish speaking skills are up to scratch, you could consider either of these two following options: working as a call center representative or working as a bilingual executive assistant. There are also increasingly job vacancies in start-ups and corporate businesses, but again, your best chance of success is getting yourself out there and making the first point of contact with the companies yourself in Medellín.
The Administrative Hurdles (or How to Get a Work Visa)
Finding yourself a job is one thing, actually gaining legal status to do so in Medellín and elsewhere in Colombia is another. You need to obtain a work visa to stay longer than the tourist visa’s maximum of 180 days per calendar year and of course, to legally work abroad in Medellín.
You firstly need to be sponsored by the company before obtaining a visa. Then, before heading to the Visa Office in Bogotá or to one of the Consulate Offices abroad, you will need to have copies of the following documents:
- Copy of your passport information page
- Copy of your passport page with last arrival and departure stamps to Colombia
- Original copy of work contract or a signed and notarised contract summary form filled out by your employer
- Original and Translated copy of Degree Certificate. The original must be apostilled, then translated into Spanish and the translated copy needs to be apostilled too.
- Proof of the company’s existence, issued within the last 3 months.
- Proof that the company will pay for your return to your native country, in case of visa issues.
- Receipt of paying $50 for the interview fee to the Visa Office or Consulate’s bank account.
Then, you will need to attend an interview at either the Visa Office in Bogotá or a Consulate Office abroad. It is advisable you dress smartly and of course, allow yourself plenty of time to arrive early before your appointment’s allotted time.
If you come into difficulty, you can contact the Cancillería by email, online chat or even by Skyping them to get the answers to any doubts or questions you have.
Hopefully, all goes to plan and your visa is approved. Once it is approved, you will need to pay for the visa which at the time of publication is $245 (consult the official website here for up-to-date information). You will then need to register your Cédula de Extranjería (Colombian ID Card) at a Migración Colombia office within 15 days of the visa being issued.
Then you will be free to start work at your new job in Medellín!
Work aside, Medellín is a thriving city and you won’t be short of things to do when it comes to your spare time. Paisas, Medellín locals are incredibly hospitable and it won’t be long until you’re invited to your first social gathering, party or you may even be invited to one of your new found friends’ finca (country house). The city comes alive on the weekends with the nightlife being second to none in Medellín. Regardless of where you go and what you do, it is pretty likely you will end the dancing (even if you insist vehemently you can’t dance). And if you need a reprieve from the city for a few days, you can head out to one of the beautiful colonial pueblos nearby.
To have the opportunity to work abroad in Medellín is one to be grabbed with both hands. The city prides itself on its entrepreneurial spirit and business is only set to expand as Colombia has recently been named one of South America’s fastest developing economies. With that will come more job vacancies and a deepened focus on international trade, which means native English speakers and multilingual candidates will be in high demand. So take the opportunity to work abroad in Medellín, gain insightful experience in an exciting economy and enjoy the experience!