As the capital and largest city in Uruguay, Montevideo is also the center of the country's economy, and accounts for over 60% of its total GDP. In comparison with other Uruguayan cities, Montevideo is very wealthy, and is home to nearly 80% of Uruguay's households earning over 100,000 USD per year.
Like the rest of Uruguay, much of Montevideo's local economy is based on tourism, particularly the Ciudad Vieja area in the old city. Whereas before many of the tourists coming to Montevideo were from surrounding South American countries, the development of the Carrasco International Airport is now bringing international tourists to the city and increasing the significance of tourism for the local economy.
The business and service sectors are also key elements of Montevideo's economy, and many large banks have headquarters in the city, including the state bank BROU, Santander, and RBS, which has led to the city being dubbed the Switzerland of the Americas.
Expatriates working in Montevideo usually do so in banking, tourism, or in the service sector. As in many South American cities, there is an increasing call for English teachers.
Uruguay is very welcoming to expatriates, so you shouldn't have any difficulty gaining a permit to work in Montevideo. Unlike some South American countries, expatriates do not need to invest in the country, prove that their skills cannot be found anywhere else in the country, or already have work secured in order to obtain a work permit.
To get a permit to work in Montevideo all you need is a residency permit. In fact, you can convert your tourist visa to a residency visa whilst already in the country, providing you haven't overstayed the time period indicated on your tourist visa, by applying to your embassy or consulate.
The processing takes between three and six weeks on average, and you are permitted to start working whilst your application is being processed. Compared to some cities, getting a permit to work in Montevideo is very simple and easy.
Expatriates living and working in Montevideo will be required to pay income tax on their earnings. The progressive tax system in Uruguay means that the amount of income tax you will pay increases with the amount you earn in a fiscal year. The rates range between 10% and 25%, and anyone earning less than 173,124 UYU per year does not pay income tax.
In addition, the income tax laws in Uruguay state that you will only pay tax on what you earn in the country and not on your worldwide income. Income tax is paid by expatriates living and working in Montevideo for more than 183 days in a fiscal year.