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Working in Peru
Find out how to get a job and work in Peru
If being an expat in Peru has always been a dream of yours, don’t let the bureaucracy scare you away! InterNations GO! provides you with information on the Peruvian economy, work permits, how to apply for a job, taxation, social security, and business etiquette for expats.
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Employment in Peru
The Peruvian Economy: On the Road to Recovery
The Peruvian economy is very market-oriented. With an estimated GDP of 202.9 billion USD (in 2014), Peru is the 52nd largest economy in the world. Unfortunately, due to the great disparity between the haves and the have nots, Peru’s poverty level is 24%. However, the good news is that the rate of unemployment is steadily decreasing and is now at 6.8%.
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. 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. Peru’s government has significantly contributed to keeping Peru economically stable, reducing debt and spending carefully.
Finding Your Ideal Job 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 August 2015 is 1 PEN = 0.28 EUR.
Unusual: 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 the total wages the employer pays out, and foreigners may only make up 20% of the employees of a Peruvian company.
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Peru: Work Visas, Taxation and Etiquette
Two Ways of Obtaining Your Work Visa
Receiving a working visa in Peru is not as difficult as it may seem, once you have a job. You have two options for getting to this step:
- Enter Peru with a tourist visa, which is valid for either 90 or 183 days. (More information on tourist & business visas can be found in our article on moving to Peru.) Once you have a job lined up and have paid attention to the above requirements for working in a Peruvian or international company, you may apply for a working visa. It will usually be valid for the length of your contract. You can apply for a working visa at the Superintendencia Nacional de Migracioneswhich is the Peruvian superintendence for migration issues. .
- Enter Peru with a business visa (not to be confused with a working visa). The same applies as above, except that you only have a 90-day stay. It may be easier to acquire a working visa while you are already in possession of a business visa, since you are then able to network more easily. Again, once you have found a job, you must apply for a working permit.
For more detailed information on what you need in addition to your work contract, visit a Peruvian embassy or consulate near you.
Highly Relevant: Social Security and Taxation
As Peru is a developing country, its social security system is still in the developmental stages. Currently the rate of social security payments lies at 13% of gross earnings. A resident of Peru is eligible for social security payments in the event of unemployment or disability, or if he or she earns below minimum wage. In order to combat poverty in Peru, new social security laws have been implemented and are continuously being updated.
Everyone is required to pay taxes once he or she becomes a resident of Peru, i.e. after 183 days of living and working legally in Peru. Net taxable income is taxed at rates of 15%, 21%, and the maximum of 30%, which is also the amount required of non-residents. Taxes flow directly into the health and pension systems — private or public. Pension plans are paid out at the age of 60 after a person has been employed by a Peruvian or foreign company in Peru for a minimum of 20 years of contributions. In the case of early retirement at the age of 55, the retiree must have paid at least 30 years of contributions.
Peru has a double-taxation treaty with ten countries (Colombia, Chile, Ecuador, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, Mexico, South Korea, Switzerland, and Portugal) to facilitate overseas business and trade. If you are not a resident of these countries, please visit your country’s tax bureau in order to ensure that you pay your taxes accordingly.
How to Behave in a Proper Peruvian Manner
When living in a foreign country you should ensure that you acclimatize to that country’s etiquette, be it social or business-related. While you are working in Peru, it is important to be aware of the following tips when doing business with Peruvian colleagues:
- Keep in mind that there is a “hora peruana” (Peruvian time).This means that Peruvians will often come at least one hour later than the appointed time. This is considered neither offensive nor is it a sign of disinterest.
- Peruvians are not a fan of small talk in the office, and negotiations may often be quite competitive.
- Business decisions are made by the highest-ranking person in the office. Therefore, if you have a pressing issue, be sure to meet with the executives.
- Address people with “Señor” and “Señora” and their last name until you are on a first-name basis with them.
- Although this may seem like common sense, remember that business is conducted in Spanish. Therefore it is important that you either speak the language fluently or bring along an interpreter.
- Business cards are also widely used and much appreciated. If you want to make a good impression, it is wise to have them printed in Spanish on one side as well.
- Dress conservatively. Peruvian businesspeople value neat and elegant clothing.
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