Moving to Uruguay
Expats moving to Uruguay will find themselves in one of the smallest countries in South America. With a national population of just under 3.5 million people, most of the country's citizens live in the capital, Montevideo.
Uruguay has traditionally been more affluent than other Latin American countries and doesn't experience some of the serious economic inequalities. The country's economy has shown significant positive growth in recent years and this has opened up more job opportunities for both locals and expats.
Most expats working in Uruguay are employed in the diplomatic or financial services. Montevideo attracts expats looking for work in the agricultural, construction and aviation industries, while coastal towns like Punta del Este offer employment opportunities in the services and tourism sectors. A significant number of expats also move to Uruguay to teach English.
Despite having a lower violent crime rate than its neighbours, street crimes are still common in Uruguay, particularly in Montevideo. Expats should keep a watchful eye on their valuables when outdoors and on public transport.
Healthcare in Uruguay is of a high standard and reported to be among the best in Latin America. Everyone is entitled to medical care via the national healthcare system, including foreigners. Most expats opt for private coverage through a private hospital or health co-operative.
Uruguay has a good education system and public schools offer free education from kindergarten to secondary school. Classes are taught in Spanish, and expats generally prefer to send their children to an international school. There are a number of these to choose from, mostly in Montevideo.
Spanish is the official national language of the country, but Uruguayan Spanish has some modifications due to the considerable influence of Italian immigrants over the years. Even expats who are able to speak Spanish may take a while to adjust to the dialect. Although most Uruguayans are able to understand English, they may not necessarily speak it fluently. Expats should attempt to learn at least some Spanish, particularly if doing business in Uruguay.
The reasonable cost of living, favourable tax laws, affordable and good healthcare and high quality of life have attracted many European and North American expats, particularly to the Punta del Este and Costa de Oro coasts. Expats who make an effort to learn the language and build a life in Uruguay will find a beautiful and hospitable country to call home.