With one of the fastest growing economies in Latin America, and with a diverse array of startups and multinational companies establishing offices in cities like Lima, there are certainly some interesting opportunities for expats seeking work in Peru. That said, there are barriers to being hired, most notably visa requirements. This article offers an overview of the practicalities and realities of living and working in Peru.
What to consider before making the big move
Visa Requirements for Working in Peru
In order to legally work in Peru, you must have one of the following work visas:
Worker Visa (Temporary or Resident) – A worker visa is designed for foreign citizens seeking work in Peru. This type of visa can be obtained either as a dependent worker for a Peruvian company, or as an independent contractor in the public or private sector. In order to apply for this visa, you will require a work contract, previously approved by the Ministry of Labor, or a contract for the provision of services.
Many expats who decide to relocate to Peru enter the country with a tourist visa and then change their migratory status (cambio de calidad migratoria) from tourist to worker. Foreign citizens who enter the country as tourists and want to seek work in Peru will first need a special permission to sign contracts, which can be obtained online. The Temporary Worker Visa is granted for one hundred and eighty-three (183) renewable days, and the Resident Worker Visa is granted for a period of three hundred and sixty five (365) days, renewable.
Designated Worker Visa (Temporary or Resident): This type of visa is designed for foreign workers who are appointed to Peru in order to provide a service for a Peruvian company or natural person, on behalf of their company abroad. In most cases, the company abroad, alongside with the Peruvian company or natural person, sponsor the designated worker visa.
This type of work visa used to be granted only temporary, for a period of ninety (90) days renewable for a term of one year. However, with the new Peruvian Immigration Law, a designated worker visa can be obtain as both, temporary and resident. The temporary designated worker visa is now granted for one hundred and eighty-three (183) renewable days, and the resident designated worker visa is granted for a period of three hundred and sixty five (365) days, renewable.
For detailed information regarding the visa requirements to travel and work in Peru, visit our article Visas in Peru. You can also call, write to or visit the Peruvian embassy geographically nearest to you.
Once you have figured out the visa and entry requirements, it is a good idea to start researching the housing, education and general standard and cost of living options that Peru offers before you commit to living and working here. The forum section on our webpage is a good place to begin.
Searching for Jobs in Peru
Peruvian Job-listings and Job Advertisements
How can you go about looking for jobs in Peru? A good place to begin is with worldwide employment-oriented search engines like Indeed and Linkedin. Even if you cannot find a job from abroad, this search will help you have a more realistic idea of what kind of job opportunities are currently available in Peru.
Make sure to check these sites regularly because new jobs are posted every day. You can also check our own Peru job-listings section on Expatperu.
Once you start living in Peru, there are other sources open to you. For example, national newspapers like El Comercio post job-listings every Sunday. The sources that are best for you will naturally depend on your field of experience and your qualifications, but perhaps the most effective source of all is by word of mouth. Many people will ask why you have come to Peru; take advantage of the opportunity to promote yourself and explain what type of work you are looking for and why. Perhaps someone will be able to recommend a business in the line of work that interests you.
Jobs for English Teachers
Many expats are flexible about their career options when deciding to live and work abroad. They wish to experience new fields of employment and new ways of living. One of the best ways of doing this is by teaching English. Many expatriates in Peru teach English at language schools and institutes. The more prestigious of these prefer staff to have some kind of teaching qualifications, which they might provide in-house after a training program, or external certification such as TEFL certificates (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) or PGCE’s (Postgraduate Certificate in Education). However, for a great many other institutes what counts the most is that you are a native-English speaker, and that you present yourself well. There is a wide range of institutes in Lima, some much better, and more reputable, than others. Try to hash out a specialty in order to set yourself apart from the crowd. For example, English for medicine, English for law, English for engineering or English for economics. Do some networking and ask other teachers about their experiences before accepting a teaching position.
Visit our article Teaching English in Peru for more information regarding obtaining a TEFL certification and a list of language institutes and international schools where you can teach English as a foreign language in Peru.
Translating and Interpreting
As well as teaching English, if you speak Spanish well, and you have an excellent ability to express yourself in your native language, you might be able to find work as a translator or interpreter. The upside is that you can usually work out of your home and manage your schedule, the downside is that translating work is rarely, if ever, constant. Interpretation work (translating the spoken voice) requires a high level of ability and usually people train years to do this in order to simultaneously interpret in conferences. However, there is now a new field that has opened up thanks to low-cost international telephony. Government agencies and businesses in the United States that wish to offer customer service in Spanish will contract interpreters who work on call to take part in three way telephone conversations.
Job Search Tips
Telephoning about a job offer will often get you a lot further than sending your CV via email, even if the job advertisement advises applicants to email their CV. Emails often go unread and unanswered, so the best option is perhaps to telephone the company to notify them that you have emailed your CV. Try to build a network of contacts that can refer and recommend you. Do not be shy about cold-calling a company that is not advertising, since jobs are constantly opening up, and if you make your presence felt and show initiative in your job search, you will be “top of mind” for the employers.
Other things you should know about living and working in Peru
Currency – The Peruvian currency is the Nuevo Sol. Currently, there are around 4.30 Soles to the British Pound and roughly 3.30 Soles to the US Dollar as of writing, however, exchange rates fluctuate constantly, so it’s always best to check the latest rates before making a transaction.
Wages – The current minimum wage in Peru is approximately $280.00 per month, which is a starvation wage. If you are bilingual and experienced, you might qualify for an administrative position at a Peruvian company. These will rarely pay more than $1500 per month. Teaching English with a language institute in Lima can earn you at least $5 to $10 an hour in-house, and up to $15 an hour if you are going to the students office to teach, but note that you will likely only teach a maximum of 4 to 6 hours per day.. If you are a certified teacher with experience, you can earn between $1500 to $6000 a month at an international school. Note that the top-tier international schools in Peru recruit at international job fairs, so keep these internationl events on your radar. Before accepting a job offer, make sure you are clear on how much you will be paid, when you will be paid, whether or not you will be put on the company pay-roll or will be paid off the books, and how long the job will last. Insist on a contract or a written letter outlying these points. Remember that wages here are notably lower than in industrialized countries, and the full time work week is 48 hours.
Living Expenses – Your living expenses will naturally depend upon the lifestyle you lead. However, unless you seriously like to splash out, it is possible to live comfortably in many parts of Lima on a wage of $800 – $900 a month. Keep in mind that if you live in areas like Miraflores and San Isidro, you might have to share your expenses with roommates. Visit our article Cost of Living in Lima for more information regarding living expenses.
Bank Accounts – In order to open a Peruvian bank account, you will need either a DNI (National ID Document) or a foreign resident card (Carné de Extranjería), plus a copy of your electricity or water bill. It used to be possible to open a bank account using your passport as a form of ID, but this isn’t an option anymore, so make sure to have a valid form of Peruvian ID before venturing to opening a Peruvian bank account. Keep in mind that some banks might charge a maintenance fee if you have less than X amount of money in your account.
Looking to invest in Peru? You might be interested in our article doing business in Peru.
The information on this article should be correct as of May, 2019.
Disclaimer: In practice, it is possible to work in Peru on a tourist visa, depending on the company and the type of job. However, Expatperu recommend complying with the official Peruvian immigration regulations and applying for a workers visa. Please note that the information in this article is offered only as a general introduction to Peruvian immigration regulations and not as an exhaustive guide to the intricacies of immigration law. The information should be correct as of April 2019, but immigration regulations change frequently and it is therefore essential that you do your own research rather than merely relying on this guide. Expatperu cannot be responsible for any problems that may result from failing to do so.
We’d like to hear from you. What advice would you give someone who is looking for a job in Peru? Share your experience in our forum: How do I find a job in Peru?