Peru is in South America, it is bordered by Ecuador and Columbia to the north, with Brazil and Bolivia to the east and Chile situated to the south. It is the 20th largest country in the world and the third largest in South America, after Brazil and Argentina. Peru is a country of diversity, and offers at least 8 different climates depending on where you are, including a climate that is desert like in some areas to lush and tropical, and freezing cold in other areas.
There are roughly thirty million people living in Peru, with a quarter of them living in Lima. Although Peru is a country rich in natural resources and wonderful tourist destinations, there are still reports that roughly between 27% – 31% of the population live in poverty. Peru is the 41st largest economy in the world, but there is a huge discrepancy between the rich and the poor. Things do appear to be on the up though, and unemployment is on the decrease with reports that it is now as low as 7.7%. The other good news is that as of 2012 Peru was reported to be one of the fastest growing economies worldwide.
Because of its diverse geography, Peru is blessed with a huge variety of natural resources. Luckily the mining industry in Peru is well regulated and has relatively straightforward mining laws, all this is good news for foreigners wanting to work in Peru.
According to a report by KPMG labour in mining is abundant and trainable; however there are some shortages of highly skilled workers in some fields. The report also said that in 2011, the mining sector had around 120 000 employees. It also said that the National Society of Mining, Petroleum and Energy (SNMPE) estimates that an additional 40 000 employees would be required to complete the mining projects and investments plans currently in progress. This could spell good news for those from abroad wanting to break into the mining industry in Peru as the mining sector is planning on opening some employment opportunities to foreign professionals and technicians. Peruvian law does however stipulate that no more than 20 percent of a company’s workforce can be non-Peruvian.
If you are an expatriate looking to work in Peru, getting a work permit may not be as difficult as it would seem, if you have a job. According to an article by Internations Connecting Global Minds, you have two options:
- 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. This will usually be valid as long as your contract goes for. You can apply for a working visa at the Dirección General de Migraciones y Naturalización del Perú (DIGEMIN), which is the Peruvian general directorate of migration and naturalization in Lima.
- 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 from DIGEMIN.
For more detailed information on what you need in addition to your work contract, the best thing would be to visit a Peruvian embassy or consulate near you.
The minimum wage in Peru in 2013 is approximately $235.00 per month. Your living expenses will obviously depend upon the lifestyle, but it is possible to live quite comfortably in Peru on a wage of around $500 per month. This is a far cry from those living in Canada, the States and many other regions. The mining industry is generally also an industry that pays well, so for expatriates, especially those with a skill that is in demand, they can expect to earn significantly more and live very comfortably in Peru.
However along with the good, there is always the bad. It is not all sugar and spice in Peru, and there is a certain element of corruption. It is not uncommon to see policemen collecting bribes, and corruption can be found at every level of society and sadly those in power often take advantage of those beneath them.
Also remember that there is a “hora peruana” which means Peruvian time. This means that Peruvians will often arrive at least one hour later than the appointed time. This is not regarded as being rude or offensive. It is important to remember that things in Peru can happen very slowly, so if you are a perfectionist and want things done immediately, working in Peru may not be for you. Never expect things to be done on time, or exactly the way they are intended to be. because you could be in for a lot of frustration and disappointment.
There is also a lot of poverty and along with poverty there is always an element of crime. However Peru has been reported to be safe so long as you follow the same traveller’s precautions as you would in any other country. You do however need to be alert and use your common sense, but the main safety issue in Peru appears to be petty theft.
If you are an expatriate earning a good wage, your money will go far further for food, rent, entertainment etc. than many other countries. Peru is also beautiful, diverse and interesting and the people are warm and friendly. They love to celebrate, no matter how small or big the occasion. They love to spend time talking, eating, drinking and dancing. Peruvians will not drink their own bottle of beer, but will rather share one at a time amongst everybody, filling small glasses over and over again.
The bottom line is if you are an expat with a desire to explore and experience new adventures, you could spend a lifetime exploring Peru.