Friday 18 June 2021

Working “Legally” In Costa Rica

cash-dollarsQCOSTARICA – People often think that it is possible to move to Costa Rica to work or increase their pension with some form of part-time activity. Working in Costa Rica is not so simple.

In general, it must be said, although there some exceptions, you cannot get a job in Costa Rica without first obtaining legal permanent residency with no employment restrictions or citizenship.

The government does not allow non-resident foreigners to work as employees.

Costa Rica laws are aimed at protecting local workers by preventing foreigners to carry out activities that can be done my nationals (or permanent residents). The basic concept is that no foreigner can do work that can be done by a Costa Rica or foreigner who is a permanent resident.

- Advertisement -

Some exceptions to the rule include the highly skilled in a certain field or activity, where there is no specialization in the country. In practice, the exception fills a gap in the labour market. The employer can apply for a work permit, usually for up to one year. The Ministry of Labour (Ministerio de Trabajo – MTSS) maintains a list of professionals and skilled labour that it seeks from time to time.

Important to note here that to obtain work in Costa Rica you need permanent residency. With other residency such as rentista (investor) or pensionado (retired), you can own a business but you cannot work in the business, that is your activity is limited to managing the business, but need to hire Costa Ricans or permanent residents for the labour.

Also important to note is the wages. They are not like back home. In Costa Rica you will earn, save in exceptional cases, a fraction of what you would earn at home: perhaps one-quarter of a similar job in Canada or the United States, up to half if you are from Europe.

The MTSS publishes a list of minimum wages for a variety of job specifications and titles. These are the minimum to be paid by law, however an employer can pay more.

- Advertisement -

The wages are reviewed every six months, allowing for the twice-yearly minimum wage adjustment (hike) established by the government.

For those looking to work online from Costa Rica, that is you are physically in Costa Rica but the work is actually for an employer outside the country, the work can be said to be legal as long as payment comes from outside Costa Rica and your work is unrelated to Costa Rica,. This could include, but not limited to, writing, IT consulting, web design, translation, and sales/telemarketing. There is a lot of gray area here. Recommended is to apply and obtain legal residency or citizenship.

A source of jobs abroad programs in Costa Rica visit

This article is not meant to be legal or residency advice. Consult a lawyer or residency specialist for detailed information applicable to your particular case.

- Advertisement -

We strive for accuracy in its reports. But if you see something that doesn’t look right, send us an email. The Q reviews and updates its content regularly to ensure it’s accuracy.

"Rico" is the crazy mind behind the Q media websites, a series of online magazines where everything is Q! In these times of new normal, stay at home. Stay safe. Stay healthy.

Related Articles

The Best Sports To Play On A Beach

Costa Rica has some of the best beaches in the world....

Since 2018 MECO has received contracts from the State for more than ¢139 billion

QCOSTARICA - Almost ¢140 billion colones (US$227 million dollars) is the...


Today’s Vehicle Restriction June 16: 5 & 6 CANNOT circulate

Today, Wednesday, June 16, vehicles with plates ending 5 & 6 CANNOT circulate The measure is countrywide and applied between 5:00 am and 9:00 pm,...

College of Physicians negotiates donation of a million and a half vaccines against covid-19

QCOSTARICA - This week there could be very good news for the country in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic if the College of...

Plate rupture has potential for stronger quakes

QCOSTARICA - The 5.7-magnitude tremor, felt at 5:27 pmon Thursday, occurred in a maritime zone with the potential for stronger earthquakes, explained Ivonne Arroyo,...

Heavy downpours generated the first phreatic eruption of this year at the Turrialba volcano

QCOSTARICA - Several residents of La Pastora, La Central and Monte Calas, in the vicinity of the Turrialba volcano, heard a loud rumbling early...

Simple to request certification of vaccines against covid-19 applied in Costa Rica and abroad

QCOSTARICA - The Ministry of Health issued a new guideline on Thursday that establishes the requirements to request the vaccination certificate against covid-19 in...

Construction companies that paid alleged bribes would be disqualified for ten years

QCOSTARICA - If it is proven in a final judgment that they did pay bribes to Conavi officials, several companies could be disqualified from...

Diseases, weather and low prices hit the orange sector in Costa Rica

HQ - The appearance of pests and diseases, in particular the 'dragón amarillo' (yellow dragon), the impact of the weather and a sharp drop...

Despite investigation, construction of road works by H. Solís will continue

QCOSTARICA - Five major road works under the responsibility of the H. Solís company will continue in development despite investigations for alleged corruption involving...

OIJ investigation into road works corruption leads to inquiries in Panama

QCOSTARICA - The prestige of the company of some of the richest men in Costa Rica hangs by a thread. For many, the MECO...


Get our daily newsletter with the latest posts directly in your mailbox. Click on the subscribe and fill out the form. It's that simple!

Log In

Forgot password?

Forgot password?

Enter your account data and we will send you a link to reset your password.

Your password reset link appears to be invalid or expired.

Log in

Privacy Policy

Add to Collection

No Collections

Here you'll find all collections you've created before.