Can I get work without being able to speak Spanish at first?

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Adski76
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Can I get work without being able to speak Spanish at first?

Postby Adski76 » Wed Jul 04, 2012 6:01 am

Hi, I am from London and am looking to move to Lima, possible around the Miraflores region with my Peruvian wife. I was wondering a few things that I hope you might be able to help me with.

1- If we moved would I gain a automatic work visa being a peruvian spouse?

2- I currently am unable to speak Spanish (but will start learning shortly), what are the chances of being able to find work? I am a qualified squash coach and have also worked within facilities management for 5 years.

3- What is the average living costs for this area (how much would we need to earn in US Dollars to have a ok lifestyle)

Any help would be greatfully received

Adam


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Re: Can I get work without being able to speak Spanish at first?

Postby sunflower » Wed Jul 04, 2012 12:48 pm

Being married to a Peruvian you can apply for a Visa Residente Familiar para el caso de casado con peruana. See here http://www.digemin.gob.pe/servicios_inm ... entes.html. You get a so called Carné de Extranjeria with which you are allowed to work. It's not the same as applying for a work visa.

Depending on your profession and expectations it might be hard finding a good and well-paid job. Not speaking Spanish makes a difficult situation even worse. Sorry! Even though a pro in his area it took my husband around 1 1/2 years finding a job that pays all our bills. And this is nothing unusual. A few friends of mine had or have the same problem. Good education, diplomas and certificates, but no job for a decent amount of money even though they speak Spanish and have their documents in order. An option to bridge the time before finding something adequate is always teaching at a language school. Other option try finding a company back home that is willing to send you to Peru.

Miraflores is unfortunately one of the more expensive areas in Lima and prices went up a lot in the last years. While everybody always tells you how cheap everything is here, as soon as have to make your living of your Peruvian earned money, things might depending on your standard get tricky. If you are alone or just with your wife you can live decently probably from around US$ 1500. You can manage with less, but you surely can burn more.
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Re: Can I get work without being able to speak Spanish at first?

Postby chi chi » Wed Jul 04, 2012 12:57 pm

Without speaking spanish, it will nearly be impossible to get a job. There's a high unemployment and for every jobopening, 100's or even 1000's are applying.
Also people work much more in Peru. Forget the usual 9 to 5, monday to friday rota. It's not unusual having to work 7 days a week, 12 hours a day.

Miraflores is the most expensive area to live in Peru. Only the richest people can afford to live in that area. Compare it to Mayfair in Londen.
In Miraflores you will also pay much more for everything. From buying a brocoli at the supermarket to renting a flat.
But you can live a much better lifestyle for less money if you live in districts like San Miguel, La Perla, Chorillos. Rents will be a fraction of the Miraflores costs and food and other items will be much more affordable.

The official minimum wage in Peru is 750 soles a month but many people get paid far less than the minimum wage.
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Re: Can I get work without being able to speak Spanish at first?

Postby dushivrouw » Wed Jul 04, 2012 2:45 pm

Hi
I can tell you the experience of my husband, he is Dutch and after 1 year he found a job in contruction and the payment is around S/.2 000/month because he had experience of 8 years with that kind of job in Holland. He didnt need degree or diploma from Holland. Here was more important his knowledge.
We live in La Perla not too expensive and close to everywhere, no too noise or crowded, close to the main avenues ( Av La Marina, Av Faucett, Av. Venezuela).
Ahh.. after 1 year my husband cant speak Spanish as well even i tried all the methods to he studies but nothing works. He learned more being with more peuvians who dont speak Spanish because with me he just speaks English. Anyway, he speak only the necessary for his work.

Good Luck!!
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Re: Can I get work without being able to speak Spanish at first?

Postby SilverbackPeru » Wed Jul 04, 2012 10:58 pm

Unfortunatly mate its going to be very very difficult for you if you can´t speak spanish to find a job in Peru and you will have a lot of problems getting by. I would maybe suggest you save up a bit of cash before moving here and try to start up your own business of some sorts ( maybe importing something into Peru) or have breaks in Peru and just do crash courses in spanish and get it learned asap before you move here. You should be able to get by teaching English if you have the qualifications. Maybe look into those skills before you move here. Teaching should bring you in at least $700 a month. You should be able to get by on that ok i guess but you won´t have the same quality of lifestyle as you do back home. Also i think the hours will be a lot longer as well depending on your skills, if its just a basic management that you do expect to put about 10 hours in a day i would say.
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Re: Can I get work without being able to speak Spanish at first?

Postby americorps » Thu Jul 05, 2012 12:34 am

it is not easy, but it can be done.

Everyone told me I was a fool and I couldn't do it and not to come.

I ignored them and it has worked out just fine, so with determination, tons and tons of patience and a little luck and loads of flexibility and compromise to start out with... you can make it.

The key, be flexible and ready to be very patient and live with less until you work it all out.

Some of the jobs you might be able to find without speaking the language might be...

Teaching English
Working at an Embassy or Consulate
freelance writing
Call centers
And there are a number of companies that cater to expats where you can get buy.

NONE of them will earn you very much, at best a thousand dollars a month, except of course the Embassies but those jobs are very hard to come by.

I lived my first year or so here on about a thousand dollars a month teaching English, as a single man, and lived decent enough. Nothing extravagant, but I was not lacking for food, clothing, paying rent and the like. If your spouse is working as well, just be prepared to downsize .. meaning living in a smaller place or outside Miraflores.

I am NOT suggesting that this is the best option, it was hard and I did struggle to get settled that way, but it can be done.
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Re: Can I get work without being able to speak Spanish at first?

Postby sbaustin » Thu Jul 05, 2012 10:23 am

What are the chances of someone going to London and getting a job without knowing any English? I have no doubt that it can be done, that some jobs do exist, but you are limiting yourself considerably.

Take Spanish courses as soon as possible and learn as much as possible as quickly as possible and you'll see more doors open up for you no doubt.
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Re: Can I get work without being able to speak Spanish at first?

Postby chi chi » Thu Jul 05, 2012 12:02 pm

sbaustin wrote:What are the chances of someone going to London and getting a job without knowing any English? I have no doubt that it can be done, that some jobs do exist, but you are limiting yourself considerably.

Take Spanish courses as soon as possible and learn as much as possible as quickly as possible and you'll see more doors open up for you no doubt.


I moved to London when I was 18. Didn't speak any English at all and found a job at a 5 star hotel (the Hilton) as a commis chef the first day I arrived. Pay was good and worked 38 hours a week. Most employees spoke little English as well. 90% of the employees were foreign. The UK is (or was) another job market. There was a shortage of people.

Same in the US. No need to speak English. When I worked in restaurants in the US, most of my colleages spoke only Spanish anyway.

In Peru. It's different. Speaking Spanish is a must. Without that, you wouldn't even find a job washing dishes in a polleria.
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Re: Can I get work without being able to speak Spanish at first?

Postby americorps » Thu Jul 05, 2012 12:29 pm

chi chi wrote:In Peru. It's different. Speaking Spanish is a must. Without that, you wouldn't even find a job washing dishes in a polleria.



I am living proof that what Chi Chi has said is absolutely false. Well, perhaps if I wanted to wash dishes at a polleria it might have been hard, but I found many jobs that did not require Spanish when I landed. They exist, but it takes a lot of legwork and networking to find them. I volunteered at ACAP, for expat events, went to the English language churches all to meet people and network.

I do, however, speak Spanish now and I agree it is of the utmost importance and it will be VERY difficult.
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Re: Can I get work without being able to speak Spanish at first?

Postby chi chi » Thu Jul 05, 2012 12:36 pm

americorps wrote:
chi chi wrote:In Peru. It's different. Speaking Spanish is a must. Without that, you wouldn't even find a job washing dishes in a polleria.


I found many jobs that did not require Spanish when I landed. They exist, but it takes a lot of legwork and networking to find them. I volunteered at ACAP, for expat events, went to the English language churches all to meet people and network.
.


Sure, if you work for free you can easily get a job. But the OP won't be able to stay in Miraflores that way.

If he's not working now then for sure he can get unemployment benefit from his home country. In the meantime, he can learn Spanish and look for a job.

Speaking Spanish is not only necessary to get a job but also to avoid getting taken for a ride.
If people notice that you don't speak Spanish, you will get grossly overcharged from getting your shoes shined on the street to buying a bag of patatoes at the mercado. And taxis for sure give you 'a good rate'.
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Re: Can I get work without being able to speak Spanish at first?

Postby chi chi » Thu Jul 05, 2012 12:51 pm

americorps wrote:
Some of the jobs you might be able to find without speaking the language might be...

Working at an Embassy or Consulate



I think that speaking Spanish is one of the basic requirements if you want to work at an embassy or consulate of whatever country. On top of the national languages of the country where the embassy is from. How are you otherwise going the help people needing a visa or other things?

I applied 2 years ago for a part time job at the Belgian embassy and Spanish was a must. On top of that a good level of Dutch, French and German was required. And also a basic knowledge of English was required.

I can't imagine that if I want a visa to go to China that I first have to learn Chinese before going to the Chinese embassy in Miraflores. For sure, there employees can speak Spanish.
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Re: Can I get work without being able to speak Spanish at first?

Postby sunflower » Thu Jul 05, 2012 1:44 pm

chi chi wrote:If he's not working now then for sure he can get unemployment benefit from his home country.


This might be the case when you are from Belgium. In other countries like Germany for example you have to live in Germany to receive unemployment or social benefits. Just having an address there isn't enough, as you have to see your case worker at the job center quite regularly and show him / her your efforts of finding a new job.
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Re: Can I get work without being able to speak Spanish at first?

Postby americorps » Thu Jul 05, 2012 1:58 pm

Just for the record, Chi Chi, much of what you think to be true on this topic is wrong.

There are plenty of people here who work for a variety of organizations and agencies that do not speak Spanish. That is a fact. Further, I know several and many earn more than enough to get by.

It is not wise, advised or best and it makes life much harder, but you are 100% wrong to say it is not possible.

What you think you know about who works at embassies and consulates is wrong, what you think you know about how much non English speakers can potentially earn is wrong and ...

And what you think you know about availability of welfare and unemployment from abroad is wrong for most of the worlds citizens.

Where is your warning label?
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Re: Can I get work without being able to speak Spanish at first?

Postby tomasb » Thu Jul 05, 2012 2:26 pm

Hi,

I may be an anomoly but I don't speak and comprehend Spanish very well though I can read and write ok. I found a job fairly quickly in Cusco where my native English speaking and writing skills were important. It is within the travel industry and there are a lot of tour and travel agencies in Lima and Cusco who need native English speakers. You just have to hit the sidewalks and find out. Some of these companies need to communicate with North American, Oceania, and UK clients on a regular basis and most of the owners speak some English out of necessity as they deal with english speaking tourists all day.

However, a little Spanish certainly helps to negotiate taxis, restaurants, hotels, etc. but finding work can be done, it is just going to take some initiative and focusing on the right industries.

BTW, in the US it is quite true that in the kitchens and back rooms Spanish is now the predominate languages. English is not necessary. In fact, American owners and managers are learning Spanish in order to communicate with their workers.

And regarding collecting unemployment while in Peru -- for most states, if not all, in the US that would be against the law and contrary to the point of unemployment insurance.
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Re: Can I get work without being able to speak Spanish at first?

Postby Jalapenomel » Thu Jul 05, 2012 9:08 pm

I am learning Spanish, but didn't speak any Spanish when I got here. I have a full time job, and I found employment about 6 months after moving here. I did the teaching-English things for a while until I found a permanent position.

I also live in Miraflores, and it is more expensive then most parts. But I love it here, it's safe, scenic and very pedestrian.

Good luck!
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Re: Can I get work without being able to speak Spanish at first?

Postby chi chi » Fri Jul 06, 2012 3:18 pm

tomasb wrote:BTW, in the US it is quite true that in the kitchens and back rooms Spanish is now the predominate languages. English is not necessary. In fact, American owners and managers are learning Spanish in order to communicate with their workers.


Not only in the backrooms and kitchens. We were in LA and at most motels where we enquired for a room, no English or very little English was spoken at the reception. Also the supermarket staff all spoke Spanish.

To check out some things, my gf enquired at several businesses that had job vacancies and only Spanish was enough. Most job ads were written in Spanish only. Neither a visa to work was required. We visited several Peruvian friends whilst in LA and they all said that their are enough jobs. Even if you prefer not to speak English.

If the OP comes to Peru and doesn't speak Spanish then it will make his social integration difficult. Spanish is very easy to learn so he will learn it quick when he is here.
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Re: Can I get work without being able to speak Spanish at first?

Postby chi chi » Fri Jul 06, 2012 3:31 pm

americorps wrote:There are plenty of people here who work for a variety of organizations and agencies that do not speak Spanish. That is a fact. Further, I know several and many earn more than enough to get by.

It is not wise, advised or best and it makes life much harder, but you are 100% wrong to say it is not possible.


Americorps. For sure, if you want to sell caramelos on the coasters then spanish is not a requirement.
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Re: Can I get work without being able to speak Spanish at first?

Postby sbaustin » Fri Jul 06, 2012 3:33 pm

chi chi wrote:
If the OP comes to Peru and doesn't speak Spanish then it will make his social integration difficult. Spanish is very easy to learn so he will learn it quick when he is here.


Although entirely off topic, what you've just written isn't really accurate in my opinion. People in the USA that don't speak English do not socially integrate, they stay within their own community.

There are plenty of foreigners here in Peru that don't speak Spanish. They do not socially integrate either and like your example can find work in niche areas (like kitchens and motels) but it is small subset of jobs.
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Re: Can I get work without being able to speak Spanish at first?

Postby chi chi » Fri Jul 06, 2012 3:42 pm

sbaustin wrote:
chi chi wrote:Although entirely off topic, what you've just written isn't really accurate in my opinion. People in the USA that don't speak English do not socially integrate, they stay within their own community.


Where did I mention that they integrate?

I agree that they stay within their community but that's everywhere like that. In Europe, ethnic minorities live in the same areas.
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Re: Can I get work without being able to speak Spanish at first?

Postby sbaustin » Fri Jul 06, 2012 3:53 pm

chi chi wrote:
sbaustin wrote:
chi chi wrote:Although entirely off topic, what you've just written isn't really accurate in my opinion. People in the USA that don't speak English do not socially integrate, they stay within their own community.


Where did I mention that they integrate?

I agree that they stay within their community but that's everywhere like that. In Europe, ethnic minorities live in the same areas.


You implied it with your post about how in the USA there are all these jobs for non english speakers and here in Peru it is a requirement to speak spanish. Regardless, it sounds like we are in agreement.
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Re: Can I get work without being able to speak Spanish at first?

Postby rama0929 » Fri Jul 06, 2012 5:52 pm

chi chi wrote:To check out some things, my gf enquired at several businesses that had job vacancies and only Spanish was enough. Most job ads were written in Spanish only. Neither a visa to work was required. We visited several Peruvian friends whilst in LA and they all said that their are enough jobs. Even if you prefer not to speak English.


Yeah, hang out with the day laborers
Image

The reason a visa isn't needed to work is because they're under the table jobs, catering to the huge illegal immigrant population. Not a legitimate job in the bunch :lol:
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Re: Can I get work without being able to speak Spanish at first?

Postby chi chi » Fri Jul 06, 2012 6:02 pm

rama0929 wrote:
chi chi wrote:To check out some things, my gf enquired at several businesses that had job vacancies and only Spanish was enough. Most job ads were written in Spanish only. Neither a visa to work was required. We visited several Peruvian friends whilst in LA and they all said that their are enough jobs. Even if you prefer not to speak English.


Yeah, hang out with the day laborers
Image

The reason a visa isn't needed to work is because they're under the table jobs, catering to the huge illegal immigrant population. Not a legitimate job in the bunch :lol:


At least, they want to work and don't get involved in illegal activities. And as long they can send a Western Union giro to their family back home then they did what they came for.
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Re: Can I get work without being able to speak Spanish at first?

Postby Kelly » Fri Jul 06, 2012 7:23 pm

Let's remember this is a post about working in Peru, not about getting a job in the US. Please stay on topic.

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