Peruvians began settling in Australia in the late 1800s, with the 1901 census indicating just under 30 Peruvians in the country at the time. Migration from Peru to Australia remained low until the mid-1980s when the number of emigrants grew significantly. This coincided with political and economic unrest in the country at the time (see Politico-Economic Changes and Internal Conflict in ‘Core Concepts’). Arrivals have continued to rise in the 21st century, with 24.6% of the Peru-born population arriving in Australia between 2007 and 2011.
Migration pathways are generally only available to Peruvians from metropolitan areas who hold higher education qualifications, generally from the middle and upper class. Most arrive on skilled migrant visas or student visas. For example, just under half of the Peru-born are employed in a skilled managerial, professional or trade occupation. Moveover, according to the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (2018), there were just over 1,000 Peruvian students in Australia in 2017.
Of the total Peru-born in Australia, 75% identify as Catholic and 84.5% speak Spanish at home. Although Peruvian migration has not been as large as that of other South American communities (such as Brazil, Colombia, Argentina and Chile), the Peruvian community still flourishes through various social, cultural and sporting associations as well as broader Latin American community groups.