Uruguayans return to find expensive country, and little work.

Posted: November 25, 2012 in Foreign residency, Life, News
Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Uruguayans return to find: expensive country, and little work.

Original article here on El Pais. Thanks to Beelzebob for the link. Awful translation by yours truly with help from The Google.

Gustavo came to stay, but only for seven months in Uruguay. Claudia took a year because she could not afford to buy a ticket to return to Canada. Returnees say they arrived with “false expectations,” and many decide to leave.

“The reality slaps me. Wakes me from this patriotic dream that I had. What was I thinking when I? (…) Today it starts all over again, my second migration (…) Uruguay has perfect sunsets on the Rambla, and then you have a barbecue with friends, mates, the stars of Cabo Polonio, it can be an enjoyable vacation.” This is one of the messages posted on her blog; it summarizes the feelings of many Uruguayans who returned to the country from abroad and clashed with a reality that was not what they expected.

They say that the consulates lied because the country is not better, as they were assured. “What has improved? You might find a job but you have to work three jobs to pay the rent, bills and eat” says Claudia, who lived in Canada for ten years and then came to Uruguay, where she says she is “just surviving “.

“As survival here is appalling, I am making plans to leave,” she says.

Claudia works in a mall, earns $10,000 (USD$500 per month), lives in a “horrible” pension apartment because, she says, it is all she can afford on her salary. She regrets that she made the decision to return. “This is not my country, my country is Canada that gave me everything and opened my doors. Uruguay gave me nothing,” she says with absolute coldness.

The housing and wages are the two major difficulties faced by returnees who come to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. “For income, the Housing Ministry will ask for a deposit of $60,000 and that your balance is above who knows how many thousands of dollars. It’s Ridiculous,” says Claudia.

Gustavo spent seven months in Uruguay, after living eight years in Spain, and was able to rent an apartment from a former neighbor. “As I lived in that building for my whole life and the owner knew me, I was able to rent it, but it did not meet any of the standards that the State promised me,” he says.

Gustavo returned to Uruguay in January. He left Barcelona because he said his country was “very nice and very good to work in.”

“Then I found everything horrible. Aggressive people, dirty city, a lot of crime, and all expensive. It’s a very expensive country to live in. Food in Barcelona is half cost. You take 50 euros ($ 1,300) to the store and you leave with the car full, “says Gustavo.

His contact with the State was asking for help with housing. And the answer was the same that Claudia received. <the following untranslatable due to some weird bureaucratic Uruguayan thing which makes my brain derail, something about the Montevideo Intendencia and possibly an inheritance?>

“In the Administration, I was told that if the estate had no money, my wife should put a notice in the newspaper offering to work. That was all the advice,” he says.

The inheritance did not last long and the only job he got was as a watchman in a building, which received $ 11,000, less than he needed to pay his rent. Gustavo does not regret having returned to the country. “What happened to us was something we had to do to see for ourselves, and unfortunately Uruguay is lacking in many things. We arrived in late July, and we are here today, installed with all the things necessary for life,” he says.

ORGANIZATIONS. Organizations or groups returned to the country say they have made progress but are missing a lot because Uruguay has no return policy. “There is goodwill but that is not enough. The only place that does anything is the Foreign Ministry, which basically solves emergencies” commented the organization “Retornados a Montevideo” which represents 700 people.

The organizations recognize that the advice we must give today to the Uruguayans abroad is, “if you do not have jobs and money to afford safe housing, do not come.”

“From what we can see, most are leaving; and as many turn to go, because the advice we have to give, some people are angry because they don’t want to hear that in this country”, they say.


“It’s hard to leave but harder to be back in Uruguay, I spent five months and still have no job”


“Whoever says that Uruguay is well, lies; work there does not offer salaries to live”


“This is not my country, my country is Canada that gave me everything. Uruguay did not give me anything”

Web retornados

“Today begins my second migration without the pebble in the shoe to look back and think of Uruguay”


“Living in Uruguay is very expensive. The city is unsafe, dirty and full of aggressive people. I found another country”


“Outside we used to get the basics covered very quickly and with less work”


The capital that saved him


He went to the U.S. with his wife in 2000 and returned to Uruguay eleven years later because he could never get their papers. “I could bring savings and the car, so I took another way to get here,” says William. He bought shares in a cooperative ambulances and so far works there. His wife, however, has no job. The member of the organization “Volviendo al Uruguay” recognizes that if he got his papers he would go back. “Two months ago my daughter told me ‘you never told me why you came here, I miss everyone`. It killed me. ”

Seven fateful months


After spending seven months in Uruguay and returning to Barcelona in July, Gustavo Lopez says he is newly installed in the motherland. “I have my apartment with all my stuff,” he says and claims that the “boom” of Uruguay is a terrible crisis for any European. “Now we are in crisis and I am now as I was before I left,” he says. He insists that Uruguay is a very expensive country to live and that following their experience contacted dozens of people wanting to emigrate again.

El País Digital
  1. Chris says:

    I cannot believe the government would lie. That’s just so unlike them.

    Unfortunately for those of us that wish to go to Chile or Paraguay, we have to wade through the Argentinean immigrants and Uruguayans.

  2. Hrm…Uruguay sounds strangely like Bermuda. High cost of living, arrogant, closed-minded, aggressive people, stagnating economy, ridiculous government bureaucracy that doesn’t make sense…

    …But hey, at least the scenery is beautiful!

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