Moving to Uruguay



Uruguay is a Spanish speaking nation of over 3 million which is located on the Atlantic coastline of South America. The overwhelming majority of Uruguayans are of European ancestry. Spanish visited as early as 1516 but were unable to conquer the area from the native Charrua Indians for some time after that. The Portuguese were also competing to settle the area around present-day Uruguay.

Uruguay has recently made headlines for being the first country in the world to legalise marijuana. The South American nation limited cannabis purchases to 10 grams each week, in an effort to prevent illegal resales. Purchases of registered marijuana buyers will soon be monitored through cards linked to an electronic data. Authorities assured that buyers’ names will not be shared with pharmacy staff.

The Uruguayan government is a constitutional republic, which is currently headed by PresidentJosé Mujica. The executive branch of government is led by the president and a 13-member cabinet while the legislative power is exercised by a two-chamber General Assembly. The judicial arm is composed of the Supreme Court, the Benches and Judges. Uruguayans are the most satisfied citizenry in terms of how democracy works in the country, a recent Latinobarómetro survey revealed.

Despite its size, Uruguay has one of the best performing economies in the emerging-market world. It was the only country in the Americas that did not report economic slowdown during the global financial crisis. The unemployment rate in the Spanish-speaking nation is at a record low of 6.1%. The biggest employers, excluding the public sector, are in the construction, mining and energy sectors. Tourism, which contributes $800 million to the economy each year, employs more than 160,000 local and foreign workers. The high demand for skilled workers has led to government campaigns encouraging Uruguayan expats to return home and fill in the widening labour gap.

The nation of 3.4 million people is one of the top destinations in Latin America. Foreign students and retirees settle in the country primarily due to its low cost of living while foreign workers come from the wide range of job opportunities. Uruguay has the 6th highest quality of life in the continent, according to a 2005 survey. Expats enjoy excellent healthcare and premium quality of life at low costs.

More than half of the total population live in cities; expats are scattered in the capital Montevideo and beachfront resorts in coastal areas. The top cities both for tourist visits and relocation are Colonia del Sacramento, Montevideo, Punta del Este, the Rocha Coast and Piriápolis.

With or without legalised marijuana, Uruguay is a top choice for expats relocating abroad. In a Huffington Post interview, a British retiree in Punta del Este said: “We all dream about living in a resort area with a beautiful beach. But unless you're Donald Trump, or you know about a place like this one, you just can't do it. That's why I'm here. Life is good in Uruguay."



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