Working in Puerto Rico



The labour force in Puerto Rico was 1.3 million as of 2011, with 42% comprising of female workers. Residents receive the lowest annual salary among all US territories at USD $27,190, according to official US data.

Expats considering moving to Puerto Rico would find it encouraging to know that many multinational companies are operating in the country. Puerto Rico’s economy ranked 40th in the World Bank’s “Ease of Doing Business Index”, boosting foreign investments further. The unincorporated US territory is home to the world’s largest pharmaceutical, energy and technology firms. Currently, the following companies are searching for qualified specialists: 

  • Bristol-Myers Squibb
  • Johnson & Johnson
  • AstraZeneca
  • Abbott Laboratories
  • Medtronic
  • AES Corporation
  • AT&T
  • Oracle
  • Microsoft

Job market

The island-state is a top vacation choice for Western holidaymakers, especially Americans. Visitors from Asia and neighbouring Latin American nations also regularly visit Puerto Rico’s historical sites and pristine beaches. About 4.2 million people arrived on the island last year, up from 4 million in 2011. Tourism contributes an average of $1.8 billion to the Puerto Rican economy annually, as well as jobs for locals and foreigners. Global hotel brands are hiring full-time and temporary hospitality professionals to work in their Puerto Rico branches. These companies include: 

  • Ritz-Carlton
  • Hilton
  • Marriott International
  • Hyatt Hotels

Major companies such as Nautica, Sears, Burlington, Citigroup and T-Mobile also have job opportunities in Puerto Rico. The majority of jobs on the island, however, are offered by small businesses with less than 250 employees. These small businesses, including micro enterprises, constitute about 60% of all payrolls. Less than 8% of all registered companies exceed $3 million in revenue.

Manufacturing, which accounts for over 46% of the total production, employs nearly 10% of the total workforce. Workers in this sector are engaged in the production of pharmaceutical products, chemicals, machinery, electronics, clothing and foods.

Work visas

Non-US expats moving to Puerto Rico are subjected to US laws, thus visa applications are coursed through US immigration authorities. Nationals of countries without a visa waiver privilege may stay in Puerto Rico, on a non-immigrant status, for a maximum of 90 days. They may not engage in any income-generating activity within this period. Foreigners planning of working in the US territory may apply for any of the following visa types:

  • Temporary Employment Visa
  • Exchange Visitor Visa (for qualified teachers, professors and other exchange participants in approved programmes)
  • Media Visa
  • Trade Treaty (for qualified executives and specialists of companies from treaty countries)



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Expat Services in Puerto Rico