The wife and I really want to move to Uruaguay and start a new life there. We are currently living in South Africa. What would be the first steps for us to take before we take the gamble and leave our jobs here?
the most important issues: 1. is job you are seeking available in Uruguay 2. is cost of living in Uruguay compatible with your monthly budget 3. do you want to live in Montevideo, coastal area like Punta del Este or interior 4, do you want to rent or buy property
I would say one of the most important things is language and will you like it here. Come for an early morning extended vacation, live in a house, and see what life is like. You must speak or learn Spanish just to live here
Then see what life will cost you where you want to live and see if you can you afford it. Punta del Este is lovely but the most expensive place in the country.. also can you show me enough income to get accepted by immigration to apply for residency assuming no local job?
as UPP states and I agree, the #1 thing is finding a job. Depending on your industry and age you may not be able to find a job here. This is not a large country so there are not many good jobs available and many "good jobs" do not pay a living wage if there is only one person working in the household. And the issue is compounded if you have children. if you are seriously considering Uruguay that is awesome, it is an amazing country. Please give us a bit more information about your circumstances so that we can give you specific help or put in touch with the people that can. :)
Thanks for all your responses. The job thing is my number one concern. My wife is in sales and I work in retail management, and they not the best paying jobs as it is...In South Africa anyway. Ultimately we would like to have our own small business in the food industry. The language we will definitely learn as we would really like to be a part of the community, it might take a while but we not planning on leaving in the next year or 2 so we have some time to learn. We don't mind living more inland as I know they are much cheaper than the coastal towns. We are not very extravagant people and are just looking to live a simple life in a small town. We don't have any children and aren't planning any. Just our dogs which we will have to bring as well. The more info we have now helps us prepare and decide on the way forward so thanks again for any assistance in helping us find out if this is at all possibility for us.
Hi. I think it is not going to be easy to find work for both of you although not impossible. I encourage you to do some exploratory trip. I'd travel to argentina, paraguay, chile and colombia. You might find south america is for you but not uruguay.
Although I mostly agree with this - I know the writer, he is writing from a US perspective as well as someone in his sixties. There are younger folk especially from other Latin American countries who come here and do OK. They are used to living on a low income and seem to get by. Many' of the recent immigrants are from Venezuela so I am sure they find here a big improvement, whether they have found work, I do not know.
As usual on the Expat site, great comments. I'll add just a few. One is about the exploratory trip here. We did that in 2011 for one month, and as one commenter suggested, toured to many locations.
We rented a beach cottage in Jaurigiberry a few hours from Montevideo for about US$1000 per month and that was a base of operations for us, as we toured around. We stayed at the very cheap (about US$45/day), but fantastic Palacio (family run with outstanding service) while in Montevideo.
We drove all around Uruguay in a rent-a-car to get a sense of city (Montevideo) and country (Tacuarembo, Minas, Trienta y Tres). We had actually started out in Buenos Aires initially.
After the touring we had a sense Uruguay was the place for us. Now, we have been routinely living here 6 months of each year.
Would recommend that approach highly because you want to love or have a high regard for a place if you are going to make a life there. At least that is what happened to us. We began to love Uruguay and the generous, fun-loving Uruguayans. We feel Uruguay is a special place.
Regarding opportunity, I agree that language is essential. At least, if you decide to move here without the language, find a way to get to know and connect with bilingual Spanish-speaking allies. That would be important once you have made the exploratory trip and still want to proceed further.
With Spanish this is a land of opportunity in small business! With Spanish and an entrepreneurial initiative I believe the sky is the limit here. Just look at how well Uruguay has been doing economically while their neighbours in Argentina and Brazil have been floundering. Uruguay has been solid as a rock! Many businesses in the service/construction sector are flourishing.
As per other comments about jobs, that is a different area all together than entrepreneurial enterprises. Good and good paying jobs hard to come by from all the sources I have seen. Working for wages tough here, as it is globally, though as elsewhere healthcare and working in administration and government tend to have better wages and conditions. But then, those positions are difficult to access for non-Uruguayans, as would be expected.
Good luck with all your exploring. I do have a question in closing. Why move from South Africa?? What are the difficulties there that you think you may not experience here?
2) The article is not about my feelings about Uruguay. It addresses a frequently-asked (in English*) question. And does so from the perspective of someone with resources to live almost anywhere, who has chosen Uruguay for almost ten years.
The situation in South Africa is horrifying. I know several South Africans living here who could provide more specific insights about their challenges making a living in Uruguay, but they don’t appear to be participating in this forum.
*Younger folk from other Latin American countries and Venezuelan refugees don’t need to – and wouldn’t – ask in English-speaking forums such as this and the Facebook group (for whom I wrote the article).
Desk/service jobs that are english speaking or tolerant of poor Spanish will be hard to come by and that's the bias of many of the opinions you'll find on the web about employment in UY. But, if you have a trade and a good set of tools, you may find getting a job or creating your own about as hard as starting a small business in many countries. Word of mouth about your talents is very important here.
Nafta (gasoline) went up in price not long ago and now LP is going up 7,8%, as well as increases in OSE and UTE. This 7.8% figure is said to be the inflation rate, but the wages are not increasing at this rate. The workforce in Uruguay is staring down the barrel of a global economy and are paid third world compensation as jobs fly to Asia. This does not bode well for immigrant workers or for social stability and tranquility. The two things Uruguayans tell me that they consistently worry about are rising cost of living and rising "inseguridad". "Estamos Fritos!!" The gap between wages and inflation cannot continue to widen if we are all to have a semblance of Tranqui' in our day to day lives. Uruguay is economically more stable than its' neighbors, but unfortunately, is nowhere near immune to fiduciary incompetence.
Sorry but where are we immune to fiduciary incompetence? Surely not in the USA these days.
In UY more than half the population either works for the Gov’t or is covered by a union and they all get cost of living increases. Actually supposedly far more than that all get those increases with even domestic help getting routine cost of living adjustments. Like rent increases, salary increases are built in. As is the Social costs of BPS, an extra month’s salary a year and other things like low cost health service that minimum wage workers in the US could only dream about.