Peru at a Glance
Working in Peru
The Peruvian Economy
The Peruvian economy is very market-oriented. With an estimated GDP of 325.4 billion USD (in 2012), Peru is the 41st largest economy of the world. Unfortunately, due to the great disparity between the haves and the have nots, Peru’s poverty level is 31%. However, the good news is that the rate of unemployment is steadily decreasing and is now at 7.7%.
Since Peru was one of the first South American countries to move from a military regime to a democratic republic, things have remained relatively stable. Additionally, most people working in Peru, as in neighboring countries Chile and Brazil, were not truly affected by the global recession in 2011. The country relies heavily on import/export, making it a haven for those working in Peru’s foreign trade industry. Peru’s most important trade partners are the United States, China, Brazil, Ecuador, Chile, and Colombia.
As of 2012, Peru is among the fastest growing economies worldwide. This can be attributed to the economic boom in prior years, as well as to the fact that Peru’s government has significantly contributed to keeping Peru economically stable, reducing debt and spending carefully.
Business Opportunities for Expats in Peru
Thanks to its diverse geography, the Peruvian economy is blessed with a wide variety of natural resources. From fish to gold and everything in between, expats thinking of working in Peru can be sure to find something of interest.
Moreover, tourism is a very popular field for foreign residents. From ecotourism in the Amazon rainforest to cultural tourism on Machu Picchu, from gastronomic tourism to adventure and beach tourism, those interested in working in Peru’s tourist industry have a lot to choose from.
If you are looking for employment in the capital city of Lima, you have many windows open to you, as it is also the financial capital of Peru, and one of the strongest in Latin America. Aside from the Lima Stock Exchange, there are various international banks in Lima, such as Citibank, HSBC, Grupo BBVA, etc. Try the Internet for useful websites or the local newspapers in large cities. Empleos Peru is a popular online job portal. However, it is in Spanish only.
The national currency in Peru is nuevos soles (PEN). The current exchange rate as of March 2013 is 1 sol = 0.29 Euro.
Working for a Peruvian Company
Most expats who plan on working in Peru end up in a foreign company. As Peruvian companies give precedence to Peruvian workers, an expat may have a more difficult time. As a rule of thumb, always look for work before moving to a foreign country. This will greatly facilitate your move in general and your visa application in particular.
However, if you would like to work in a Peruvian company, there are several guidelines to follow. You will need to send your work contract (signed and sealed!) to the Peruvian Ministry of Labor. In most cases, your future employer will take care of this.
Working contracts must meet the following conditions: Foreigners may not be employed for a period of more than three years (you can renew your contract later); the total wages of foreign workers may not exceed 30% of total wages the employer pays out, and there may only be a maximum of 20% of foreigners working in a Peruvian company.