Moving to Argentina
With an area 11 times the size of the UK but with a population of only 40 million, the nation can appear to be virtually untouched by the human hand. However, the extent of the space and bounds of the natural beauty are only truly appreciated by those that take the plunge and decide to relocate on a more permanent basis.
Expats moving to Argentina will find a diverse climate that ranges from the likes of a sub-tropical zone in the North to an Arctic in the South; the topography is equally varied.
The eastern coastal regions give way to vast grassland plains, or pampas – dry and unforgiving land; at which point the country butts up against the gargantuan Andes Mountain range on its western border with Chile.
Despite having one of the highest Gross Domestic Products (GDPs) in the region, corruption and mismanagement has meant that political and economic stability are still largely absent. Expats should be forewarned that though Argentina was once one of the richest nations in the world, its economy descended into a disastrous state in 2001 when the country defaulted on the largest foreign debt ever recorded. Though recovered, jobs for expats are still more scarce than other locations.
On the upside, this opened the way for a buoyant real estate market and the purchase, by foreigners, of large tracts of land. Since then growth has moved in a general upward direction.
The economy is agriculturally based – soya is the crop of choice in the northwest; cattle, leading to the production of Argentina’s prized beef, are grazed on the vast open pampas to the west of Buenos Aires; and thousands of acres of vineyards in the Mendoza Province contribute to the republic’s 500 USD million wine industry.
There are 22 semi-autonomous provinces in Argentina, answerable to the government in Buenos Aires, where approximately 10 percent of the total population of the country lives. An influx of Spanish, Italian and other European immigrants in the 19th and early 20th centuries has led to a cosmopolitan and culturally rich capital city. Outside of the main urban areas however, you will find the opposite, and a lack of English spoken.
The size of the country means that it is difficult to give a uniform appraisal of the opportunities for expats. Though, generally speaking, because of the low cost of living - roughly a third of that in the US, and as much as a quarter of that in Europe - it is a great place to retire.
However, possibilities of employment for expats are limited, outside of being assigned by a large multi-national corporation. If you do consider moving here, a good working knowledge of Spanish (or a translator) is a must.