Why We Chose Uruguay to Live
On several occasions, we’ve been asked these questions: “Why did you choose Uruguay to live in? Why switch from a first-world country like Australia to Uruguay?” To provide context, we need to go back to January 2020 when, living in Brisbane, we made the decision to leave the country and seek new opportunities. At that time, we held student visas valid until December 2021 and had our company, Press Start AU, established in that country.
In our case, thanks to Press Start (www.pressstartevolution.com), we were fortunate to have remote work opportunities regardless of our physical location; all that mattered was our internet connection (as the company had been operating this way for 14 years). However, upon realizing that our personal goals had already been achieved after a year and a half of living in Brisbane, and upon learning that the immigration policies for obtaining residency or citizenship were not aligned with our interests, and that we were not willing to pay large sums of money to the Australian government, we decided, with a world map in hand, to create a checklist of countries that could offer us what we were looking for.
Our search primarily focused on the following points:
1.A country geographically closer to Colombia.
2.A migrant-friendly country where the cost of permanent residency was not excessive.
3.A country where studying was not a requirement (since we both already have master’s degrees).
4. A country that offered us a high quality of life. While the response to quality of life is highly subjective, for us, part of that quality of life translated into security and the ability to live with the same rights as the local population.
5.A country that was politically and economically stable.
In the end, we had a list of three countries that met these conditions. However, when we added this last condition – a country with distinct seasons – only Uruguay remained on the list.
After watching documentaries, reading about Uruguay, and speaking with a contact we had in this country, we purchased our tickets in January to travel on March 27, 2020. As some of you may recall, by that time, the pandemic situation was becoming very challenging, and airports had already started closing from early March. This is why we had to advance our trip by 10 days to avoid getting stranded in Australia.
And so, we embarked on the last transatlantic flight from Sydney to Chile, finally arriving in Montevideo, Uruguay, on March 18. It’s worth noting that despite our research and watching documentaries, neither Luis (https://www.linkedin.com/in/luis1parra/) nor I (https://www.linkedin.com/in/johanna-merchanr/) had visited Uruguay before.
We have been pleasantly surprised over these years because what we saw and read about this country has proven to be true. In other words, beyond the government’s marketing efforts to attract people, the reality of what the country has offered us based on our search criteria has been genuine. We took a chance by leaving a first-world country for what we’ve come to affectionately call a second-world country, Uruguay.
It’s important to highlight that Uruguay is known for its political, economic, and social stability. This creates a stable business environment that is conducive to investment. Additionally, Uruguay has favorable policies for business development, providing security and confidence to entrepreneurs. Specifically in the technology sector, which is the niche Press Start operates in, Uruguay offers a range of fiscal and regulatory incentives to encourage investment. This includes tax exemptions and benefits for software companies like ours, from which we have benefited, as detailed in our blog where we discuss the challenges of starting the company in Uruguay (https://www.pressstartevolution.com/blog/press-start-expanding-its-horizons-in-uruguay/).
If you found our story interesting and would like to learn more details, feel free to contact us or follow us on our social media channels to stay tuned for the second part of this blog, where we will delve deeper into our experience with the five points mentioned earlier.