Can I work at Lake Chapala?

September 3, 2011

In general the answer is no. But, there are exceptions. The more correct answer is “It depends.”
(Don't miss the video interview at the end of this article about a North American Lady here who now has her own Massage Therapy business)
Yes, your thinking “Depends upon what Sid.”
The guiding principle in Mexican law is that you cannot take a job that a qualified Mexican National could take. This can be finessed a little.
Obviously, a bi lingual Mexican National could become a Realtor and sell real estate to English speaking North Americans. Many of them do just that.
But if a business owner decided he wanted a “Native English Speaker of retirement age who would understand the culture of older US or Canadians of retirement age then the government would likely approve the application to work as an employee.
But since most Real Estate firm don’t want more employees to pay benefits for, and comply with Mexican law for employees they enter into a Independent Contractors agreement with the “employee” in which the “employee” doesn’t receive a salary, doesn’t receive any benefits, paid vacation etc. etc.
So, usually if you’re a North American wanting to work here you need a Mexican mentor to help you become legal. Outside of real estate there are just a handful of North Americans legally working in our area of Mexico.
Working on Line: I suspect there are a number of North Americans here at Lake Chapala, who are working on line. So far, the Mexican government is not trying to tax these folks or interfere with them as far as I know in any way.
Fortunately, most North Americans can live very well here on their pensions and do not need to work. Some that do work; do so because they really like doing what they do. I fit into that category.
Others volunteer as English teachers or become involved with one or more of our various charities, (which while unpaid can be extremely rewarding in other ways).
Now here's a video interview of Pat Hudson, who loves her work here at Lake Chapala. She has the 2 minute commute from her home to her massage treatment office.


  • Heather Krause

    Thanks for the info, Sid. Where do foreign performers and artists fit into the “worker” classification? There seem to be a fair number of both in the area. Is personal “talent” considered to be something special since it’s individual, and therefore couldn’t be done by someone else regardless of nationality?

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