Peru is perhaps best known for the ancient Inca city of Machu Picchu, which is one of the most visited destinations in the world. It is also home to many coastal cities that enjoy gorgeous weather all year round. The country offers an affordable cost of living to expats, along with a rich cultural experience and opportunities for a full family life. The public-school system adheres to high standards, and there are also plenty of international schools to choose from.As in many other countries, the job market in Peru tends to favor local people, and for this reason, most expats in the country work for multinational companies. Many also arrive in Peru on job transfers. Peru also offers opportunities to expats who work as English language teachers and in the tourism industry.
The Job Market
The past few years have brought considerable economic development to Peru, and this had led to an increase in employment opportunities in various industries, such as agriculture, petroleum and mining. Manufacturing, construction and transport are some other thriving industries where expats are likely to find jobs. The capital city of Lima, in particular, is a financial hub that houses a significant expat population, since it can be easier for migrants to find jobs here than anywhere else in the country. Many international banks also have a presence in Lima.
Peru has a thriving tourism industry, and there are many opportunities for employment in this field. Tour companies and hotels are present in most cities in Peru. Since these enterprises involve interaction with a large number of international workers, expats who know other languages are likely to find work here easily. Expats will find the tourism industry in Peru interesting and engaging due to the country’s natural diversity. The city of Machu Picchu is a hotspot for cultural tourism, while the Amazon rainforest is popular for ecotourism.
The majority of expats who decide to relocate to Peru find employment in international companies. It can be a challenge to find suitable employment in local companies, as they will mostly hire Peruvian workers. Expats also need to adhere to certain guidelines if they wish to work for a Peruvian company. After signing a contract, expats are then required to send it to the Peruvian ministry of labor.
Finding A Job
If you are among the expats moving to Peru to look for a job, the internet is the ideal starting point. Sign up to job websites and professional online networks. Local newspapers in Peru also feature advertisements for jobs. Some of these may be available in online versions. However, it is always best to begin your employment search before you move to Peru.
Ideally, you should gain employment in your home country in a company that will relocate you to Peru. Some companies may even employ you specifically to start working in Peru. Taking this route means you will receive a salary from the parent company, which is likely to be higher than the salaries offered by Peruvian companies for similar jobs. You will also receive other essential employee benefits such as health insurance, tuition fees for your children, reimbursement for accommodation and a relocation package.
If you decide to begin your job quest online, some helpful websites to browse through include the Peruvian version of Indeed.com, Olx and Craigslist. Narrow down your search by applying or posting on websites such as Bumeran, which focuses on the Latin American job market; Opcionempleo, which is the Spanish version of Careerjet; Trabajando, which features plenty of employment opportunities in Peru; and Los Clasificados, which has numerous job options that you can go through.
It’s also a good idea to get in touch with your home country’s Chamber of Commerce in Peru, where you may be able to obtain information about companies that are hiring international workers.
Visas And Work Permits
Temporary and resident visas are available for Peru. Nationals from South American countries can enter Peru with a national ID card. Citizens from the EU, North American countries, Australia, New Zealand and some Asian countries can enter Peru with their passports and reside for up to three months. Some additional countries may be included on this list, so do obtain the latest information from the Peruvian Embassy. Nationals of all other countries are required to have a visa, which they must acquire through a Peruvian embassy or consulate in their home country. Many expats enter Peru with only a tourist visa and then look for employment, and after finding a job, then try to obtain a work visa from the Peruvian general directorate of immigration and naturalization (Dirección General de Migraciones y naturalización del Perú) in Lima. The other option is travel to Peru on a business visa, which is valid for three months, during which time you can look for a job; you can try to get a work visa after finding employment.
Expats who intend to work as English teachers in Peru usually obtain a tourist visa, which is issued upon arrival in the country. These are valid for a maximum of 183 days, but it is important to inform the border official upon arrival that you would like your visa to be valid for the maximum amount of time, since the length of validity will be up to them.
Teaching English is one of the most popular job options for expats in Peru. Such jobs are available across the country, even in the smaller towns and villages. Local people who are able to learn English have a better chance of securing jobs in the tourism industry, and are also able to seek higher education. Expats can look for English teaching jobs in language schools, where the students are most likely to be adults and professionals. The classes are held in the mornings and evenings.
There are plenty of language schools in the major cities such as Lima and Arequipa, and it is possible to look for a job once you arrive in the country. One way to do this is to circulate your resume and rely on word of mouth. English teaching jobs are also available in schools. You can apply for these jobs before you leave your home country. International and private schools usually hire teachers for a period of two years under contract. Remember that the school year in Peru starts in March, so you need to apply well in advance of this. Many international schools begin employing teachers in September, while universities usually start looking for teachers in January. An international school will arrange for your business visa themselves, ensuring that you can work officially and legally in the country. Expats can also choose to work as private tutors and offer private lessons to students. Relevant postings can sometimes be found at local universities and schools.
Since Peru is still developing and a large part of its population lives in poverty, without access to proper education and healthcare, volunteer teaching is popular in the country. There are many institutions that work with local communities, and they require volunteers to provide English instruction. Such opportunities are usually available throughout the year, and expats who are already in Peru can easily apply for them. There are also some programs that cover the food and housing needs of volunteers. Some volunteer placement programs arrange for housing with a host family, through which volunteers can also pick up Spanish.
If you intend to work as an English teacher, you are likely to find the most options in Lima. Tourism is not as big in Lima as it is in other cities, but it is undergoing considerable development and there is a need for English teachers, especially in the professional field. One of Peru’s most popular cities is Cusco, which is located in the Andes Mountains. Since it lies in close proximity to Machu Picchu, much of the city is involved in tourism. English language instruction is in great demand here, as it paves the way for the locals to get lucrative jobs in tourism and hospitality. Cusco is home to a number of expats, and provides ample opportunity to socialize.
Expats looking for a more relaxed lifestyle may want to consider Arequipa as their destination of choice. It has some of the best weather in the country, and numerous international and language schools are located here. Working with university students is also a great job opportunity for expats. Peru’s colonial town of Trujillo has a sizeable community of university students due to its concentration of language institutes. English teaching job opportunities may also be available in schools in Peru’s rural areas.
If you are applying for teaching jobs as a volunteer, then fluency in English and an interest in teaching are usually all the qualifications you need. These positions don’t insist on a TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) certification. Language schools however do look for other qualifications – for example, a bachelor’s degree and a TEFL certificate. International schools also consider only those applicants with a degree and a teaching license. They also tend to favor teachers who have at least a couple of years of teaching experience. Another point to consider is that many international schools prefer to hire teachers who have a valid work visa in place already, since this indicates that they will be remaining in the country for a longer duration. They are also likely to pay higher wages in such cases.
Work Contracts And Working Conditions
Any employment contract in Peru must abide by certain conditions – the contract is valid for a maximum of three years, and it can be extended or renewed after this date based on mutual agreement between the employer and employee. International workers can constitute only 20 percent of the workforce of a Peruvian company and their total income cannot exceed 30 percent of the total income paid out by the employer. The working week in Peru is legally set at 48 hours. Employers pay social contributions at a rate of 27 percent of the employee’s monthly income. A disparity between the wages of men and women unfortunately exists in Peru.
Expats must keep in mind that in Peru, companies are also required to make known their exact income, expenses and payroll to the tax office. They also need to disclose their employee details to the immigration authority. As a result of this combination of regulations, there is a likelihood that Peruvian companies may avoid hiring expats. They may prefer to hire local people who are willing to work for lower wages.
Expats who are successful in securing employment in a Peruvian company may find that they are putting in more hours of work for a lower wage, and also fewer benefits, than they may have been accustomed to in their home country.
It is essential to gain clarity on all aspects of a job before signing a contract with your employer. Expats employed in English teaching jobs may be eligible for a month of vacation. Those who work at schools are likely to get more than that. Some places of work may require you to sign one contract with the ministry of labor, which will be in Spanish, and another with the employer, which will be in English.
Upon leaving your job or completing your work contract, ensure that you receive recommendation letters. You should also obtain a constancia de trabajo, which is a certificate that states that you have worked with the company, and specifies the duration of employment.
There are some expats who move to Peru with the aim of starting their own company. If this is your intention, remember that a local silent partner must own a marginal percentage of the company. You need to then assume the post of general manager and have your work contract approved. You can then put in your application for a work visa. It is advisable to consult a Peruvian attorney or notary before beginning the process.
As well as being the official language of the country, Spanish is also the primary language of business in Peru. However, most Peruvians, especially in the cities, speak English fairly well. Of course, expats who speak Spanish will likely find that they are at an advantage in the work environment. Peru is a country of hardworking people, but they are also family-oriented and take care to ensure that work does not excessively eat into time spent with family. Peruvian people are not sticklers for punctuality, and business meetings often begin late.