Want to work? 13 Jobs in Mérida for an Expat

For foreigners looking to work in Mérida, the job market can be a mixed bag of opportunities and challenges. Many seek opportunities to work abroad in the hopes of expanding their professional horizons, developing new skills, and embracing a new lifestyle.
However, finding a job in Mérida as a foreigner is a daunting task. Visa and immigration requirements, language barriers, and differences in the workplace culture present the majority of challenges. Despite the information you may find online, on social media, or You Tube, it is both difficult to obtain work and pay can be extraordinarily low. If living here is based on finding employment and being able to support yourself, this chapter will help you determine if working in Mérida works for you.

This article was updated in August of 2023.

200 and 100 peso bills under 5 peso and 50 cent peso coins


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The Federal Labor Law

First, it’s important to know that there is a federal law in Mexico which places foreigners at a disadvantage. The Federal Labor Law (La Ley Federal de Trabajo) outlines the requirements of employers. They must give preferential treatment to Mexicans. In each business, at least 90% of the workers must be Mexican. Once hired, the requirement of employers is to select Mexicans over non-Mexicans for positions and promotions when they are similarly qualified.

In the event Mexicans are not available within a specialty, the employer can hire foreign workers temporarily. The percentage hired cannot exceed 10% of workers within that specialty. These foreign employees are then required to train Mexicans in that specialty as their replacement. The provisions above don’t apply general managers, directors, or administrators.

Working Legally for an Employer

Next, there’s only one way to work in Mexico legally for an employer as an employee. At a minimum, you’ll need a temporary resident visa along with a work permit. Work permits are granted to people sponsored by companies in Mexico. Another way to obtain a work permit is through a foreign company with operations in Mexico. Once you’re a permanent resident, you automatically have the ability to work without a work permit.



old fashioned taxi sign showing available for hire

13 of the Best Jobs In Mérida for ex-pats

If you’re approved by the government to work, the Mexican company sponsors your work permit. Additionally, you must be able to show proof that you can support yourself. This guarantees you won’t need public assistance from the Mexican government. Due diligence and finding a niche are key elements of success. It’s imperative to follow the proper steps.

Most importantly, stay in compliance with the Mexican rules and regulations established, when applicable. Remember, you’ll have to pay taxes in Mexico if you work for a Mexican employer just as you do in your home country.

Work for Mexican Company

Before applying for jobs in Mérida with a Mexican company:

  • Understanding the culture is the number one priority. Things move much slower here.
  • You’ll need to be fluent in Spanish.
  • Establishing yourself by building professional and personal networks. Relationships are everything here.
  • Speaking with expats who have ties to the community. They may offer introductions to key people.
  • Keep in mind The Federal Labor Law with its restrictions.

Work for an American company in Mérida

Many large multi-national corporations have offices or manufacturing facilities in Mérida. If you are an employee of one of them, request to be assigned to that location. Keep in mind, it will only be for a specified period of time. You’ll report to local management to carry out the responsibilities according to your specialization. Typically, your company takes care of the necessary legal paperwork and the logistics of the move. Check with your company to see if this is possible.

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Work Remotely 

There’s a large percentage of people who live here that work remotely. It’s much easier to earn foreign currency vs. earning pesos. Your U.S. or Canadian dollars go much further. In addition to that, earning power is greater in foreign currency. For example, doctors here charge $500 – $700 pesos for an office visit. Specialists charge $800 – $1200 pesos. A private driver charges between $300 – $400 pesos per hour with a net income of 50% after gas and car maintenance. As you can see, you may be better off working remotely vs. attempting to get a job/work locally.

If working remotely appeals to you, explore time zone differences as well as internet connectivity to decrease frustration. Here’s a great RESOURCE with jobs updated weekly as well as a COURSE if you are interested in becoming a digital nomad.


Digital nomads are a highly trending workforce.

Sell Real Estate

Real estate is a popular option as some businesses in this industry are run by expats.

  • Spanish fluency is not mandatory.
  • A real estate license is not required in Mexico. However, this is changing. It’s advantageous to have an AMPI certification (Mexican Association of Real Estate Professionals).
  • Having cash reserves is important so you have something to draw from while getting established.
  • You may explore getting licensed in your home state to have a foundation for the basics, if not familiar with them.

Teach Private English Lessons

The popularity of teaching English is just as prevalent today as ever. Learning and speaking English is essential for Mexicans who want to study for a professional qualification.

Merida English Library sign

Teach English TEFL/TESOL

You may want to explore working as an online English teacher. You’ll need a TEFL/TESOL certification. TEFL/TESOL certifications are Teaching English as a Foreign Language/Teaching English as a Second Language. This is a job that is popular.

Start Your Own Business

The likelihood of success increases exponentially owning your own business. Self-employed people report being the most satisfied. The biggest advantage? You work in a relaxing and beautiful environment with a lower cost of living.
Starting a new business could be the best decision you’ve ever made. Keep in mind, starting any business is hard. You’ll still have the same issues as starting a business in your home country. However, in the long run it’s very rewarding.

IF you are planning to start a business, you may need a work permit depending upon the type of business and clientele you serve. I recommend seeking the advice of an attorney to completely understand the legal requirements and laws.


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Buy an Existing Business

Oftentimes, expats come here and set up a business. Once ready for full-time retirement, some consider selling their business. For the most part, Mérida is a tourist and retirement destination. Subsequently, most of these businesses are tourism-related. For example, there are bars, restaurants, hotels, and other services owned by expats.

The likelihood of success increases exponentially owning your own business. Self-employed people report being the most satisfied. The biggest advantage? You work in a relaxing and beautiful environment with a lower cost of living.

Hotel Casa Lucia in Santa Lucia Park in Merida Mexico

Open a Yoga Studio

Ever dreamed of opening your own yoga studio? Mérida could be the perfect location to make your dreams a reality. With the increasing number of people in Mérida, specialty services are constantly sought after. People don’t just want to take a yoga class. They want to connect with like-minded people in the sanctuary of a safe space. People love to be part of a community. A yoga business can be immensely rewarding. By making a difference in people’s lives through holding space, helps their mental and physical wellbeing.

Personal Driving Service

Many people who live here don’t have cars. The need for transportation for both tourists and locals is increasing daily. You might consider becoming a private driver. The silver lining is you can drive when you want, as much or as little as you want, have English speaking clients, and only work the hours that are best for you.

PERSPECTIVE: We’ve had several inquiries from people asking if it was possible to drive for Uber or one of the other ride platforms. They thought they would “try it out” before committing to residency or obtaining a Mexican driver’s license.
They mistakenly assumed they could: work as a tourist, use their home country’s driver’s license, and work without a work permit. This is NOT possible. It’s no surprise that all of them, without exception, were politely declined due to all the reasons outlined in this chapter.
Unfortunately in the work arena, there’s no “trying it out”. You either go through the proper steps to work legally or you don’t work. It’s just that simple.

Create an Airbnb “Experience” 

With your special knowledge and unique skills, designing and hosting an Airbnb experience might be the perfect solution for you. Unlike a typical tour or workshop, experiences offer a deep-dive into the local host’s world. Participants feel the host’s passion. They also gain access to local places and communities guests couldn’t find on their own. The cool thing is your ability to create lasting connections and treasured memories hosting an Airbnb experience.

Offer Personal and Professional Services

Another unique way to generate income is to offer professional and personal services. At times, the laid back lifestyle and culture don’t move at a fast enough pace. Think about how you would feel if your computer crashed. Or maybe you’ve needed something in a hurry and couldn’t get out to get it. Often, expats come here and set up a business based on a need they had but couldn’t find someone to help them.

Consider These Jobs

  • Mobile pet grooming
  • Pet sitting
  • Personal chef (one time or regular basis)
  • Tax prep (with the right qualifications)
  • Organizing
  • Shopping (clothing, groceries, errands, etc) with delivery
  • Tutoring
  • Business plan consulting
  • Packing and unpacking
  • Travel management
  • Bookkeeping
  • Computer or electronic repair
  • Foreign language translation
  • Temporary employee/business help
  • Antique or specialty cleaning
  • Copywriting, editing, and proofreading
  • Handyman
  • House sitting
  • Vendor management
  • House painting
  • Interior decorating
  • Dog walking
  • Web design
  • Child care
  • Eldercare
  • Companionship
  • Event planning
  • Catering

If starting your own business sounds appealing, be sure to do your research on target market, pricing structure, competition, and other important factors.

For more ideas, head over here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/lifeinmerida/

Additional items to keep in mind when considering working in Mexico

  • If your business is registered in the U.S. (or your home country), you’ll still have to file taxes with the IRS.
  • When you work in Mexico in local currency, you’ll need to file taxes in Mexico.
  • You don’t need to pay taxes in both countries so determine which makes the most financial sense.
  • A different country means different tax laws and banking practices, so do your homework to avoid surprises.
  • You can drive in Mexico with the license from your home country
  • Develop your cultural intelligence by understanding the culture and being open to different perspectives on life.

Final Thoughts on Jobs in Mérida for an Expat

What could be better than working in an environment where you feel relaxed every day?

It’s easier than you think when you follow the rules and work in Mexico legally. Mérida has a steadily increasing economy with a low crime rate. At this time, more and more foreigners are moving to Mérida for retirement. The reality is many of them still want to work.

The bottom line:

Gaining permission to start working in Mérida Mexico is straightforward. You’ll also find working with people from a variety of backgrounds and cultures is both educational and beneficial. Now, make it happen. Reach out to anyone and everyone you know for insight, wisdom, and introductions to discover more information.

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