American graduate moving to Chile to work for multinational?

All things related to Moving to Chile, tips, tricks, FAQS. Here is where to exchange information between those that have already moved and those planning to move to Chile so you do not need to learn the hard way. Please also check Living in Chile forum for related information.
salvatierra0518
Rank: Chile Forum Tourist
Posts: 5
Joined: Thu Apr 24, 2014 9:00 pm
Location: United States

American graduate moving to Chile to work for multinational?

Post by salvatierra0518 » Thu Apr 24, 2014 9:18 pm

Hi all,

I'm a graduating student at an ivy league university in the US. I'm currently in the process of interviewing for a multinational market research firm based in Santiago and am having my third round interview on Monday for a business development position. My mother is from Chile and I have a network of family in Santiago. Visit yearly, speak native--albeit accented--Spanish, however I am definitely "American" in many senses.

Does the forum have any thoughts about this move and whether it makes sense professionally? I wanted to get a perspective that is perhaps more objective than that of my immediate family. I studied a "soft" social science and am otherwise applying for market research or consulting positions in New York and San Francisco. The salary quoted to me was a base of USD$2000/month with expected earnings of USD$4000-6000/month after commission meeting sales targets. NOTE: it is unclear whether this is before or after taxes. The position involves extensive regional travel. I imagine I would stay in the role for about two years before moving back north for grad school or graduating into another role either in Chile or elsewhere. I know that, especially with the potential commission-incentive, this salary is quite high in terms of Chile as a whole however I am asking as an international hire who is comparing offers in New York, Santiago and Mexico city, among other places. To give you an idea of lifestyle, I would initially live (free) with family however I'd eventually settle down [ideally] somewhere between metro Baquedano and Los Leones where I've seen apartments with "gastos communes" renting for about CLP$300.000-450.000 a month.

Is the salary reasonable for a recent graduate? I know that it is slightly higher than that of recent Chilean graduates (commercial engineering) from traditional universities (UChile, PUC) but I have professional experience at a top-tier consulting firm and big name think tanks, among other skills. Starting salaries (base) for similar positions in the US have ranged from 50k-80k. I understand that translating salaries from US to Chilean figures is somewhat difficult given that an American B.A.--from however "prestigious" a university--does not translate into a "titulo" (i.e. formal status as an ingeniero comercial, abogado, periodista, etc)

Finally, although I have the option to obtain Chilean nationality via my mother, I have not yet done so and would like to work/live using my American passport. Given that Americans working abroad are not taxed for gross income under USD$97,500 (but still have to file, albeit with a two month extension) does this seem ideal? Or, will the inevitable reality of having to obtain a RUT essentially demand that I become naturalized at one point or another?

Are there any American-Chilean dual nationals on this forum who could shed light on this issue or give related advice, regardless of nationality?

Thanks!

chilemike
Rank: Chile Forum Tourist
Posts: 21
Joined: Mon Jul 04, 2011 1:44 pm

Re: American graduate moving to Chile to work for multinatio

Post by chilemike » Thu Apr 24, 2014 9:40 pm

Don't know about the rest but I would check with the IRS. Had a few friends who thought the same...working abroad, only in the US less then 30 days per year etc. etc.. Uncle Sam came a knocking after about three years with a BIG tax bill + penalties & interest

User avatar
zer0nz
Rank: Chile Forum Citizen
Posts: 5779
Joined: Sun Jun 14, 2009 4:46 am
Location: Lost!
Contact:

Re: American graduate moving to Chile to work for multinatio

Post by zer0nz » Thu Apr 24, 2014 11:00 pm

If you are going to take the position for more than 2 years (the length of a subject to contract visa), then i would encourage you to start out just getting citizenship anyway......

If you are going to 100% leave before 2 years is up and want to take the option of not paying pension in chile, (you will need to talk to the right people who can make this happen), then this is the only advantage i see for you to take a subject to contract or professional visa!

Most chilean graduates start on no more than $US 1200 per month, lucky if they get $600 or $800 so what you have been quoted is extremely good, however don't believe nothing on commissions from anyone, they are always over hyped and probably an example from someone working 10 years in the job with 10000s of contacts !

With the extensive travel throughout south america it could be a good cv booster for your return to the USA if you wanted to work with a USA based company expanding into the latin american market.... if there is nothing like this available in the USA then go for it!

As for chilean taxes, they are about 10% of your income, then around 7% for health insurance, then a further 10% towards the pension!


You will be able to live rather well in santiago on those numbers, you may want to consider a appartment closer to down town where the rent is half the price, the metro is fast and efficiant and your in providencia in 20 minutes or less,

salvatierra0518
Rank: Chile Forum Tourist
Posts: 5
Joined: Thu Apr 24, 2014 9:00 pm
Location: United States

Re: American graduate moving to Chile to work for multinatio

Post by salvatierra0518 » Thu Apr 24, 2014 11:36 pm

^The office is located at Escuela Militar so I've been looking at places within walking distance or otherwise not too far. The metro during rush hour is not somewhere I'd like to be if I can avoid it.

You're right about the commission. It's an aspect of the position that really what worries me as there is absolutely no guarantee.

Can you explain to me what you mentioned about the pension? I don't understand, why would anyone want the Chilean state managing their pension? I may very well stay here longer but plan on returning to New York at some point. The total taxation rate will be 27%?

User avatar
zer0nz
Rank: Chile Forum Citizen
Posts: 5779
Joined: Sun Jun 14, 2009 4:46 am
Location: Lost!
Contact:

Re: American graduate moving to Chile to work for multinatio

Post by zer0nz » Thu Apr 24, 2014 11:48 pm

salvatierra0518 wrote:^The office is located at Escuela Militar so I've been looking at places within walking distance or otherwise not too far. The metro during rush hour is not somewhere I'd like to be if I can avoid it.

You're right about the commission. It's an aspect of the position that really what worries me as there is absolutely no guarantee.

Can you explain to me what you mentioned about the pension? I don't understand, why would anyone want the Chilean state managing their pension? I may very well stay here longer but plan on returning to New York at some point. The total taxation rate will be 27%?
You are legally obliged to pay towards a pension 10%, there is a handful of pension companies to choose from...... the company will pay this on behalf, mine is stuck in chile until im 65 and i have already left chile!

There is one exception where you can get out of it, and thats if you are a foreigner (i.e on your first 2 years of a temp visa), you can sign a disclaimer saying you will pay that 10% into a foreign pension fund that meets the same criteria as the local pension fund.... your employer doesn't deduct it, and your legally obliged to do this.... its complicated, but can be done.....

There is also another rut where you can withdrawl your pension when you leave, but once again complicated, you need a degree, it will be taxed when its withdrawn, and you must have a pension in another country that meets the requirements,

End of the day, count on the fact you will have 10% of your salary stuck in a fund somewhere until you are 65!

User avatar
zer0nz
Rank: Chile Forum Citizen
Posts: 5779
Joined: Sun Jun 14, 2009 4:46 am
Location: Lost!
Contact:

Re: American graduate moving to Chile to work for multinatio

Post by zer0nz » Thu Apr 24, 2014 11:52 pm

Taxes in chile can be complicated to calculate

1. you can define x amount of pay as cost of travelling to work, this will not be taxed
2. you can define y amount as pay for your lunch each day, this will not be taxed

your taxes, pension, and health care is calculated based on the value after the x and y has been deducted

then there is
3. z this cna be a gratitude payment also not taxed

then the first 500,000 of your your pay is not taxed

if you play your cards right the 27% might only apply to $1000 or so of your income!

The 1, 2 and 3 is something your employer decides not you!

Also, when you negotiate for your job, you need to understand if hte amount the say includes travelling, lunch, and gratitude payments, or is plus those!, complicated?

CPATX
Rank: Chile Forum Full Member
Posts: 26
Joined: Thu Nov 21, 2013 12:02 am
Location: Austin, TX

Re: American graduate moving to Chile to work for multinatio

Post by CPATX » Fri Apr 25, 2014 2:14 am

I am not an expert in Chilean citizenship. However, I know my American-born daughter is also a citizen of Australia and the Netherlands by birth because of her parents' dual nationalities. She did not have to 'opt in' or request it. Getting a Dutch passport was just a formality, not an application for citizenship, we just had to show that mom was a citizen. Even though we have not applied for an Australian passport for her yet, that does not mean she is not Australian.

You may already be a Chilean citizen by birth because of your mom's nationality which may change your tax plan. On the other hand, being a citizen may also make your life much easier.

Take those 'expected' commissions with a grain of salt. Before you get all excited about it, check what the salespeople and especially the rookies, really make (if you can even get that info). Regardless of earnings, it may be a great opportunity for a new grad to do something very different.

salvatierra0518
Rank: Chile Forum Tourist
Posts: 5
Joined: Thu Apr 24, 2014 9:00 pm
Location: United States

Re: American graduate moving to Chile to work for multinatio

Post by salvatierra0518 » Fri Apr 25, 2014 2:18 am

CPATX, you are right. One is de facto born a Chilean citizen if they have at least one native-born Chilean parent, however you need to "register" the birth with the Registro Civil if you were born outside of the country. Only after doing this are you a Chilean citizen formally, otherwise you don't yet exist in Chile on paper

User avatar
zer0nz
Rank: Chile Forum Citizen
Posts: 5779
Joined: Sun Jun 14, 2009 4:46 am
Location: Lost!
Contact:

Re: American graduate moving to Chile to work for multinatio

Post by zer0nz » Fri Apr 25, 2014 4:53 am

the way the paper work is setup, the OP could scrape in as a american without acknowledging their Chilean link just the way the paperwork is setup... is there a part in the paperwork to define your parents birth place?

CPATX
Rank: Chile Forum Full Member
Posts: 26
Joined: Thu Nov 21, 2013 12:02 am
Location: Austin, TX

Re: American graduate moving to Chile to work for multinatio

Post by CPATX » Fri Apr 25, 2014 1:22 pm

I am quite sure the OP could wing it and say he is only a US citizen. That will probably benefit him if he has no long term plans to stay there. However, I think he may create all sorts of complications if he turns around after a while and says BTW I am a citizen and now I want the benefits associated with that but no, I have not paid tax before and yes, I was not truthful about my citizenship.

salvatierra0518
Rank: Chile Forum Tourist
Posts: 5
Joined: Thu Apr 24, 2014 9:00 pm
Location: United States

Re: American graduate moving to Chile to work for multinatio

Post by salvatierra0518 » Mon Apr 28, 2014 11:20 pm

OP here.

What about in terms of career prospects? Given a similar-level job in New York or SF would you still recommend moving to Santiago or staying up North? As of now I've been conceptualizing this move as more of a lifestyle decision: greater standard of living for the salary than I would get in New York, etc.

Is it possible that, at this [early] point in my career moving to Chile could be seen like settling for a less esteemed position or "not being cut out" for New York? I mean, so many people speak Spanish today, I don't see that as in any way novel.

Have expats on this forum found their work experience in Chile to be an asset, liability or neither when returning to Europe or North America?

MatthewNZ
Rank: Chile Forum Full Member
Posts: 47
Joined: Wed Oct 03, 2012 6:29 pm
Location: New Zealand

Re: American graduate moving to Chile to work for multinatio

Post by MatthewNZ » Tue Apr 29, 2014 12:05 am

If you are early on in your career, you should avoid taking "lifestyle" jobs unless you want to have a particular Chile/Latam focus long term.

Post Reply