Moving to Argentina
Argentina is the second largest country on the South American continent, and a destination that continues to pique the interests of expats looking to move abroad.
With an area 11 times the size of the UK but a population of around 43 million, the country can appear 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 a sub-tropical zone in the north to an Arctic climate in the south; the topography is equally varied.
The eastern coastal regions give way from vast grassland plains, or pampas, to 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 although 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 one of the largest foreign debts ever recorded. Though the Argentine economy has largely recovered, jobs for expats are still scarcer than in other locations.
On the upside, this has 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 – soybeans are 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 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, expats will find the opposite, and a sparsity of English speakers.
The size of the country makes it difficult to give a uniform appraisal of the opportunities for expats. Generally speaking, however, the low cost of living – roughly a third of that in the US and as much as a quarter of that in Europe – has made Argentina a great place to retire.
Employment opportunities for expats are limited, outside of being assigned by a large multinational corporation, although there are also growing opportunities for English-language teachers. If expats do consider moving to Argentina, a good working knowledge of Spanish (or a translator) is a must.