Most Uruguayans are descendants of immigrants. This quality reflects the country’s openness to immigration and the decisive contribution of migrants and foreign companies to its social and economic development, both in the past and at present.
Uruguay is a country with open arms to immigration. It is part of their DNA as a nation. Between 1860 and 1860, hundreds of thousands of Europeans arrived in the country, mainly from Spain, Italy and France. Years later, in the context of the Second World War, a new migratory flow came down from the ships to the gentle eastern shores of the Río de la Plata, bringing settlers from Central and Eastern Europe.
With mainly immigrant roots, Uruguayans stand out for being friendly and warm, willing to share an asado (barbecue) or the typical mate, and to try the customs and culture of foreigners with curious generosity.
Intercultural environments and respect for diversity are part of everyday life in the country’s capital, Montevideo, which for years has topped the Mercer quality of life index.
Nowadays, openness to new cultures and the arrival of immigrants has been reaffirmed as an essential part of its idiosyncrasy. This is according to the latest Latinobarómetro study, which highlighted Uruguay as the country in the region most open to receiving migrants. According to the survey, three out of four Uruguayans think that the arrival of foreigners is positive or very positive.
In the last five years, the flow of migrants welcomed in Uruguay has increased again.
According to IOM data, in addition to the historical groups from Argentina, Brazil and Spain, there is also the arrival of migrants from Venezuela and Cuba. The majority profile of this population is young people under 40 years of age, with a high or medium level of education, who arrive with the intention of settling in the country as a final destination to develop their careers and join the labor force.
The 2008 Migration Law establishes that residents arriving from abroad have the same rights as Uruguayans to access health care and education. Uruguay also allows entry into the labor market, only with a provisional identity card, which is managed digitally, facilitating insertion and hiring.
Although the country has the limitations of a market of 3.5 million inhabitants, Uruguay works for the entire world and, in some sectors, such as communication and information technologies, the availability of jobs reaches 2,500 per year.
The secular and free educational offer at all levels, an efficient national public health system, equal treatment by law for nationals and foreigners, in addition to the ease for companies to hire qualified national or foreign labor and training tools, conditions that make Uruguay a valuable destination for the more than 1400 international companies that currently choose the country to operate in the region and the world.