I INTRODUCTION TO THE IMMIGRATION FRAMEWORK
Law No. 18.250 dated 17 January 2008, and its implementing regulations in Decree No. 394/09 dated August 2009, clearly establish that:
The Uruguayan state acknowledges as an inalienable right of migrating people and their relatives, without prejudice to their migration status, the right to migration, the right to reunification of family, to due process and access to justice, as well as equality of rights with national citizens, regardless of sex, race, colour, language, religion or creed, political opinion or otherwise, national, ethnic or social origin, nationality, age, economic situation, wealth, marital status, birth or any other condition.
The legislation in question states that immigrants will have equal treatment with Uruguayan citizens with respect to employment.
The Uruguayan state, in turn, binds itself to adopt the measures necessary to ensure that immigrants are not deprived of any of the rights covered by the labour legislation because of irregularities in its continuance or application.
With regard to the categories of residents, foreign people can be admitted to enter and stay in the national territory in the categories of non-resident and resident. The resident category is then divided into permanent and temporary residents.
A permanent resident is a foreign person who enters the country with the intention of staying indefinitely, and who meets the legal conditions for doing so.
Pursuant to Article 74 of the Constitution, children of Uruguayan people are granted with citizenship just by the fact of ‘approaching’ (i.e., having a domicile in) the country.
A temporary resident is a foreign person who enters the country for a certain period. The citizens of the Member States of the Southern Common Market (Mercosur) and associated states are eligible to apply for temporary or permanent resident (or both) status.
Citizens and people with permanent or temporary residence may enter and exit the national territory as many times as they wish, it being enough to prove their status in the way established by regulations.
A non-resident is a foreign person who enters the country with no intention of staying either indefinitely or temporarily in the national territory.
Upon the expiration of authorised residence terms, foreigners must leave the country. In certain cases, the National Immigration Office may extend the length of stay if acceptable reasons are provided or if an immigrant requests a change of migration category before the expiration of the relevant term.
Foreign people allowed in one of the above-mentioned categories may request to be changed from one migration category to another, provided they meet the requirements established by regulations for those purposes.
Uruguay does not require a visa from citizens from any of the countries in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, or from the majority of the South American countries.
Generally, admitting foreigners into the category of permanent resident is supported in Uruguay by a migration policy interested, on one hand, in the planning of selective migration and, on the other, in promoting and facilitating the entry of immigrants with capital that would be used in activities that encourage economic, social and cultural development.
i Legislation and policy
Law No. 18.250 introduced new elements to the Uruguayan immigration legislation, thus refreshing it considerably.
Prior to the approval of the Law, a decree approved in 1947 that regulated the entry and residence of foreigners comprised the whole existing regulatory framework; however, it did not contain provisions for applying migration policy criteria to residence applications by foreign nationals who had already entered Uruguay.
With regard to entrepreneurial ventures, there are exemptions allowing immigrants to bring assets necessary to the intended activity. Furthermore, Law No. 16.340 of 1992 provided for the granting of benefits to foreigners in retirement abroad who settle in the national territory and make investments as described in said rule.
In relation to this, the Investment Law No. 16.906, within the scope of Law No. 18.083, dated 18 January 2007, with its amending and concordant regulatory decrees, granted tax advantages to foreign investors establishing business ventures in Uruguay.
For the purposes of the regulations in force regarding immigration, a ‘migrant’ is any foreign person who enters with the intention of residing and settling in the territory, permanently or temporarily.
The Uruguayan state allows immigrants the rights and privileges established in the Republic’s laws and in the international instruments ratified by the country. The following are excluded from the regime of entry, residence and exit from the country:
a diplomatic and consular staff from foreign countries accredited in the Republic;
b people coming on official missions from foreign states or international organisations;
c foreign staff with diplomatic immunity and privileges of international organisations with offices in the Republic, duly accredited;
d foreign technical and administrative staff sent to render services in diplomatic or consular missions, or of international organisations that have diplomatic immunities and privileges;
e relatives and foreign service staff of people previously mentioned in (a) and (c) who have diplomatic immunities and privileges;
f diplomatic and consular staff from foreign countries and international organisations temporarily residing in the national territory; and
g those determined by the government because of special and legitimate circumstances.
ii The immigration authorities
The main authorities involved are the Ministry of Interior and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The Ministry of Interior is in charge of the management and control of immigration, according to the provisions of Law No. 18.250, its powers being:
a to authorise the places through which people can enter or exit the country;
b to grant and cancel the residence status of foreigners as set out in the Law with the exception of those cases regulated under Law No. 19.254; and
c to expel foreigners according to the grounds provided in the Law.
Moreover, the Ministry of the Interior may, by legitimate resolution, delegate to the National Immigration Office any of the aforementioned powers.
On the other hand, the National Immigration Office is a national agency, administratively autonomous but under the authority of the Ministry of the Interior, and with the following powers:
a to control and supervise people’s entry to, residence in and exit from the country, in compliance with legal and administrative regulations in force, as well as to declare as irregular the entry or residence of foreigners if they are unable to prove their immigration status in the country;
b to reject foreigners when they attempt to enter the country;
c to demand travel authorisation of Uruguayan or foreign underage persons who have their domicile or principal residence in the country;
d to register people’s entry into and exit from the national territory, and record the corresponding statistics;
e to control the residence of foreign people in relation to their immigration status in the country;
f to grant and cancel a temporary residence permit and authorise its extension;
g to grant the extension of residence to those who may have entered the country as non-residents;
h to authorise a change of residence category for foreign people who regularly enter the country as temporary residents or non-residents;
i to regularise the status of immigrants when necessary;
j to inspect international means of transportation of passengers and crew members to verify the fulfilment of regulations in force related to the entry into and exit from the country;
k to apply the administrative penalties corresponding to those breaching migration regulations as provided in Law No. 18.250, and to collect the relevant fines;
l to receive and propose the taxes that may correspond to the services rendered; and
m to provide measures for the of expulsion of temporary residents and non-residents when required by the Ministry of the Interior.
In turn, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, through its central office in Montevideo or its consulates, has the following powers regarding migration:
a to receive, control and assess the applications for entry to the country that may be processed abroad, then to forward them to the National Immigration Office for their execution according to the regulations passed for those purposes;
b to grant visas of entry to the country in the categories provided in the regulations;
c to promote the policies and programmes of the Uruguayan state regarding immigration; and
d to grant and cancel the residence status of a specific category of foreigners: spouses, partners who have lived with the person who becomes a permanent resident, following a court judgment, parents, children and grandchildren of Uruguayan citizens, and Mercosur citizens and citizens of associated states, pursuant to Law No. 19.254.
Two entities with indirect participation in the application of migration legislation stand out in Uruguay’s administrative institutional structure.
By means of Law No. 14.312 dated December 1974, the National Employment Service was created within the Ministry of Labour and Social Security, to which is assigned, inter alia, the function of ‘Advising on the programming and execution of migration plans of necessary workers, according to the situation of the labour market and employment balance in the territorial aspect’.
Subsequently, Law No. 14.489 of 1975 created the National Human Resources Office, which incorporated the National Employment Service with its assigned functions.
Another entity of note in relation to migration is the National Institute of Colonisation, created by Law No. 11.029 dated 12 January 1948, which is an autonomous entity with legal personality. Chapter VI of Law No. 11.029 discusses immigrant colonisation. Section 7 defines several categories and, according to nationality, classifies immigrants as:
b groups of settlers coming from abroad who are specialised in some agricultural or agro-industrial activity; or
c mixed groups, where the number of immigrants does not supersede the number of natives or residents that make up the colonies.
Decree No. 394/09 established the National Immigration Committee, which is specifically in charge of coordinating immigration within the Ministry.
iii Exemptions and favoured industries
Law No. 18.083 established exemptions for the tax on business activities, on the sale of agricultural property, and on carrying out industrial or agricultural activities.
These benefits are applied in general and automatically for all taxpayers, including foreign investors and workers with temporary or permanent residence in the country.
An investment is considered to be the purchase of property aimed at making up the fixed assets or intangible assets of a business.
Benefits for the installation of industrial parks have also been included.
II INTERNATIONAL TREATY OBLIGATIONS
The Constitution of Uruguay, which has been in force since 1967 (with minimal modifications), contains rules that refer directly or indirectly to immigration, in particular Sections 8 (on the principle of equality), 37 (specifically refers to the freedom of migration) and 73 to 76 (on citizenship and voting).
Section 8 secures the egalitarian treatment of natives and foreigners when establishing that ‘All persons are equal before the law, no other distinctions being recognised among them save those of talent and virtue’.
In turn, Section 37 establishes that:
The entry of any person into the Republic, his residence therein, and his departure with his property, are free, if he obeys the laws, except in cases of prejudice to third parties.
Immigration shall be regulated by law, but in no case shall an immigrant be admitted who has physical, mental, or moral defects that may injure society.
Uruguay has subscribed to the following international conventions:
a the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UN 1948);
b the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (UN 1966), ratified by Law No. 13.751 dated 11 July 1969; and
c the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families (UN 1990), ratified by Law No. 17.107 dated 21 May 1999.
In addition, Uruguay attended the following international summits and conferences:
a the World Conference on Human Rights (Vienna 1993);
b the International Conference on Population and Development (Cairo 1994);
c the World Summit for Social Development (Copenhagen 1995); and
d the Fourth World Conference on Women (Beijing 1995).
Section 34 of Law No. 18.250 establishes that ‘citizens of Mercosur’s Member States and Associated States shall have the status or category of temporary residents upon request’. This was complemented by Law No. 19.254.
This confirms the national trend of favourable treatment for residents of neighbouring countries. In relation to this, Law No. 17.659 dated 30 June 2003, regulates the agreement on residence, study and work permits for Uruguayan and Brazilian people who live on the local border.
Uruguay has also subscribed to:
a the American Declaration of the Rights and Duties of Man (1945);
b the Inter-American Charter of Social Guarantees (OEA 1948);
c the American Convention on Human Rights, or Pact of San José, Costa Rica (OEA 1969), ratified by Law No. 15.737 dated 8 March 1985; and
d the Additional Protocol to the American Convention on Human Rights or Protocol of San Salvador (1988), ratified by Law No. 16.519 dated 22 July 1994.
The national commitment to the International Labour Organization is reflected by the incorporation of the following international labour conventions:
a International Labour Convention No. 19 on equality of treatment (accident compensation), ratified by Decree-Law No. 8.950 dated 5 April 1933;
b International Labour Convention No. 21 on inspection of emigrants, ratified by Decree-Law No. 8.950 dated 5 April 1933;
c International Labour Convention No. 97 on migration for employment (revised), ratified by Law No. 12.030 dated 27 February 1953; and
d International Labour Convention 118 on equality of treatment (social security), ratified by Decree-Law No. 15.363 dated 30 December 1982.
Finally, in connection with international conventions on social security, the following stand out:
a Decree-Law No. 14.374 dated 20 April 1975, approving the Uruguay–Argentina Convention on Social Security;
b Decree-Law No. 14.474 dated 16 December 1975, approving the Uruguay–Paraguay Convention on Social Security;
c Decree-Law No. 14.895 dated 15 April 1979, approving the Uruguay–Brazil Convention on Social Security; and
d Decree-Law No. 14.803 dated 12 July 1978, approving the Inter-American Convention on Social Security.
Uruguay has also ratified the most relevant universal instruments on human rights. The domestic legal framework dealing with refugees is established by the Refugees Law No. 18.076, adopted in 2006.
III THE YEAR IN REVIEW
The number of applicants for residence in Uruguay has increased dramatically, mainly due to the migration of Argentinean, Brazilian and Venezuelan citizens. Further, the Uruguayan economy has undergone a process of adjustment based on commercial expansion, and despite trends resisting this expansion, the economy continues to grow. The influx of foreign employees has led to an increase in the qualified work force, essentially composed by qualified and university-educated professionals. In addition, the transfer of employment in Uruguay from the secondary to the tertiary economic sector reveals meaningful changes in the development of the main labour market indicators.
These economic and financial changes, however, have had no significant impact on wages and jobs, and unemployment rates have not varied substantially.
Uruguay leads the most relevant rankings; for example, in recently published indexes Uruguay was ranked first in South America in the following areas:
a democracy – Democracy Index, Economist Intelligence Unit;
b size of middle class (percentage of population) – World Bank;
c lack of corruption – Corruption Perceptions Index, Transparency International;
d quality of living (Montevideo) – Quality of Living rankings, Mercer;
e prosperity (measures income and well-being) – Legatum Prosperity Index, Legatum Institute;
f security (for multinational executives) – Latin Security Index, Latin Business Chronicle;
g press freedom – Press Freedom Index, Reporters Without Borders; and
h peace (measures safety and security, conflict and militarisation) – Global Peace Index, Institute for Economics and Peace.
Strictly with regard to immigration, the establishment of the forest industry (especially internationally owned pulp mills and plantation companies) has entailed a search for skilled labour from not only countries in the region, but also European countries (e.g., Finland).
According to current information, Uruguay’s total population is estimated at 3.25 million and the number of immigrants exceeds 3 per cent of the population. The volume of Argentinians, Brazilians and Venezuelans recorded in Uruguayan censuses has been increasing over the past 20 years.
The immigrant population comprises 54 per cent women and 46 per cent men. Demographics show that it is an ageing population, with more than 50 per cent over 50 years of age. Nevertheless, in view of the heterogeneity of the immigrant group, the age characteristics of this population should be considered in the context of their national origin. In this respect, there are clear differences between immigrants from the Southern Cone and those from Europe: while fewer than one-third of the former are positioned at the older end of the age range, more than eight out of 10 Europeans are over 50 years of age.
The educational level of the immigrant population falls largely in the mid-range, although more than a quarter of this group has completed 10 years or more of study (i.e., they have achieved a high level of education). Furthermore, immigrants native to the region have a greater impact than Europeans in the higher and mid ranges of educational levels and a lower impact in the low-level segment.
Finally, Law No. 19.254 passed by the Uruguayan parliament in September 2014 represented a milestone: this Law gave the Ministry of Foreign Affairs the authority to grant and cancel the residence status of a specific category of foreigners: spouses, partners living with a person who becomes a permanent resident following a court judgment, parents, children and grandchildren of Uruguayan citizens, and Mercosur citizens and citizens of associated states. The legal term for granting permanent residence, in these specific circumstances, is 30 business days. Requests and applications under this Law have increased exponentially.
IV EMPLOYER SPONSORSHIP
i Work permits
According to the regulations in force, to start working (not to begin residence proceedings), a certificate, title or valid document issued by a competent authority of the foreign country, or residence certificate if that is the case, proving that the interested party is in an industry, profession or craft that allows him or her to live in the Republic with his or her relatives independently, without requiring social aid, and that he or she possesses adequate resources for these purposes, is required.
Limitations imposed on the activities that may be undertaken by foreigners do not arise from migration regulations, so it may be asserted as a general principle that there are none.
Work permits do not exist in the Uruguayan legislation. Foreigners are not obliged to obtain an authorisation of this nature to gain employment.
In Uruguay, employers are prohibited from employing foreigners who have settled illegally in the country for paid labour.
The Decree dated 6 December 1960 already prohibited any employer from ‘hiring the services of any foreign person lacking adequate proof of authorisation to reside legally in the country’. It adds that ‘the proof required in the previous paragraph shall only be provided by presenting to the employer the national identity card of the foreigner seeking employment’.
Decree No. 392/980, dated 18 June 1980, repeats this statement in a different format, stating that:
Establishments shall not hire the services of foreigners lacking adequate proof of authorisation to reside legally in the country. Said proof shall only be furnished by the presentation of his or her national identity card, on which there are no observations regarding his or her residence in the country, or by any other identity document accompanied by a certificate issued by the National Immigration Office expressly stating that the interested party’s application for permanent residence is in process.
Barring a few exceptions, any activity related to dependence is allowed.
Workers coming from abroad who want to stay and work in Uruguay for a period longer than 180 days should obtain authorisation to enter as a temporary resident or commence proceedings for establishment or residence.
It is possible to carry out these proceedings at the Uruguayan consulate in the country where the person is domiciled, or in Uruguay at the National Immigration Office. The former option is, however, seldom taken and the majority of residence applications are processed by the National Immigration Office. Law No. 19.254 allows the processing of applications by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (specifically for cases regulated by this Law).
If a foreign worker chooses to commence these proceedings in Uruguay, he or she must submit the following documentation to the National Immigration Office:
a a certificate issued by the local company as a guarantee of the offer of employment;
b a declaration of where he or she will be domiciled in the country;
c his or her foreign identity card; and
d a certificate of good health issued by the Department of Public Health, specific to these proceedings.
Where a secure livelihood (usually termed ‘proof of income’), or profession is not provided by employment in a subordinate role, two stages are required: a certificate that evidences both what the foreigner has already invested and the fact that this secures his or her livelihood. It is not enough simply to have a bank account or a certificate of title to real property in the country.
He or she may start working by obtaining a provisional identity card (valid for one year) from the National Civil Identification Office, and thereafter other activities such as obtaining a driving licence or opening bank accounts.
In practice, the process of obtaining permanent residence takes, on average, 12 months. Applications under Law No. 19.254 take 30 business days.
With regard to the filing of appeals against expulsion, Law No. 18.250 states that: ‘Administrative decisions revoking permanent resident status may be challenged under the system of remedies set forth in Article 317 of the Constitution of the Republic, legal and other related provisions, and shall have suspensive effect.’
There are no rules regarding intra-company transferees.
ii Labour market regulation
Current regulations provide that no employer may hire foreigners who have irregular immigration status in the national territory.
The obligation on employers not to hire foreigners who lack authorisation to reside legally in the country was determined in the Decree dated 6 December 1960 on foreigners’ illegal entry into and residence in the national territory. Decree No. 392/980 maintained said prohibition on hiring illegal immigrants.
These regulations empower the National Immigration Office and its delegates to refuse any foreigner intending to enter the national territory in an irregular or illegal manner.
For the purposes of determining the date of entry in an immigration case, documentary evidence submitted by the interested party should be taken into account and, in the absence of such evidence, all relevant information that may contribute to deciding the matter should be taken into account. In the event of there being doubt regarding the date of entry, it will be presumed to have taken place before the year in question; providing evidence to the contrary will be the concern of the interested party.
Police finding a foreigner who has entered Uruguay in an irregular or illegal manner from another jurisdiction may arrest the foreigner and send him or her to the police headquarters of the department where the entry took place. Such an entry will result in a record of the circumstances of the arrest being drawn up, along with a record of the data on the family background and dependants of the foreigner.
For a long time, many permanent residence and change-of-category applications were authorised in practice, and proceedings to regularise the status of illegal foreigners continued to be facilitated. That has now changed and controls are much stricter.
In addition, obtaining a permanent job is not an absolute guarantee of continued residence if the foreigner breaches the migration legislation.
As mentioned above, since 1960 employers have been obliged not to hire any foreign person lacking adequate proof of authorisation to reside legally in the country; breaches of the labour regulations can be penalised by a warning, fine or business closure.
Responsibility for transgressing the prohibition on hiring foreigners lacking legal residence status is presumed to lie with the employer, regardless of whether it is a natural person or a legal entity; the employer will be civilly and severally liable for misdemeanours declared against representatives, directors, managers, agents or employees.
iii Rights and duties of sponsored employees
Furthermore, foreigners falling under the category of permanent resident may obtain work, either as employees or independently, and are protected by the labour laws in force. Equally, a temporary resident may engage in work under the same conditions during the period granted for residence.
Foreigners falling under the non-resident category may not engage in any work outside the specific types of activity listed in his or her category.
Natural persons or legal entities hiring foreign workers as employees in the national territory must comply with the labour regulations in force, as applied to national workers.
In certain circumstances, the state may establish policies that determine limited categories of employment, functions, services or activities, according to national legislation and bilateral and multilateral instruments ratified by the country.
V INVESTORS, SKILLED MIGRANTS AND ENTREPRENEURS
While no specific mechanisms are provided in legislation, regulations exist that establish quotas and limitations depending on the field of activity, and these should be considered for the purposes of establishing eventual means of labour access for skilled or semi-skilled foreign staff.
In relation to this, certain rules contain quotas or exclusions for reasons of nationality:
a Law No. 10.459 dated 14 December 1943, Section 9 (hiring of non-specialised workers to work in public works);
b Decree-Law No. 14.305 dated 29 September 1974, Section 83 (the Aeronautical Code);
c Law No. 12.091 dated on 5 January 1954, Section 4 (captains or employers of coasters and crews);
d Law No. 13.833 dated 29 December 1969, Sections 25 and 27 (fishing craft);
e Law No. 15.387 dated 10 May 1983 (merchant vessels of national flag);
f Law No. 15.921 dated 17 December 1987, Sections 18, 20 and 44 (tax-free areas, rules on nationality staff working at companies and contributions to social security);
g Decree No. 454/88 dated 8 July 1988, Sections 32, 33, 55 and 57 (containing regulatory provisions of Law No. 15.921 on tax-free areas);
h Decree-Law No. 15.322 dated 17 September 1982, Section 80 (financial intermediation system); and
i Decree-Law No. 381/89 dated 16 August 1989, Section 10 (external financial intermediation companies).
Decree No. 104/967 dated 21 February 1967 establishes rules for the planning of the national migration policy of selective migration, and expresses in the whereas clauses that a favourable means of helping achieve certain conditions in the country to make development plans viable ‘is the incorporation to the national territory of skilled foreign workers, in fields where there is no offer of labour living in the Republic, or that the latter is insufficient’.
Decree No. 290/990 dated 26 June 1990 establishes a special regime for the permanent residence of any foreigner interested in migrating who has capital to invest in the territory in activities that serve the country’s economic, social or cultural development; such foreigners will enjoy technical services and certain exemptions.
An application for permanent residence under this regime requires evidence that the applicant has personal capital in the Republic in an amount equivalent to that necessary to generate, at the current rates for currency deposit accounts, the equivalent of the monthly interest on no fewer than six national minimum wages. The requirement of capital sufficiency may also be met by the purchase of government securities or analogous investments of an amount and character determined by the government. When the investment has not yet been made, this may be replaced by a security deposit.
Investment project development plans are subject to the approval of the Planning and Budget Office and the National Commission for the Development of Investments, which provides an opinion on their suitability and technical and productive viability. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, to which the National Immigration Office is accountable, delegates powers of intervention to the Ministry of Economy and Finance for the granting of exemptions. Any substantive modification of the project requires the approval of the Planning and Budget Office.
Because of the delays in obtaining approval for projects and the lack of economic incentives, as well as the drop in general importation fees resulting from the integration itself, the plan established by Decree No. 290/990 has had a negligible uptake. Furthermore, Law No. 18.250 does not expressly establish that this regime is valid, thus generating interpretative problems for the scheme.
Finally, Law No. 16.340 dated 23 December 1992 grants benefits to retired foreigners and pensioners who have acquired that status abroad and have obtained permanent residence in the country. Section 2 establishes the entrance requirements to be processed at the National Immigration Office and Section 3 establishes the benefits; however, Section 5 clearly establishes that foreigners protected by this regime may not practise any kind of paid activity as an employee, unless granted permission by the government. By construing this last rule according to categories, the foreigners may be employers or independent workers.
VI OUTLOOK AND CONCLUSIONS
Law No. 18.250 and its implementing regulations introduced relevance to obsolete migration legislation. However, of greatest significance has been the change in the authority with competence for Mercosur citizens, from the Ministry of the Interior to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
This was the result of a change of direction in government policy, in addition to a favourable situation boosted by the world crisis. In Uruguay, the economy enjoyed superlative growth, assisted by the continuation of an economic policy that commenced a decade ago; and this was clearly reflected in immigration trends in the country.
As mentioned in Section III, the number of applicants for residence in Uruguay has increased dramatically, mainly due to the migration of Argentinean, Brazilian and Venezuelan citizens, and the influx of foreign employees has led to an increase in the qualified workforce.
European and North American citizens continue to contribute to the economic development of the country, especially through investment in real estate and in the services sector. Furthermore, there are a great many individuals and families from developed countries, which together constitute a wealthy sector in Uruguay. Asia has proved to be a main source of future immigration into Uruguay, as Chinese multinational companies are setting up in the country.
In the industrial sector, on the other hand, the entry of European, Japanese and Brazilian capital has brought increased development, manifested in the arrival of a skilled workforce from abroad to help realise these advances, and in the national debate regarding the level of technical education in Uruguay.
For Mercosur citizens and citizens of associated states, applications to obtain permanent resident status have been shortened and delays reduced. The number of applications has increased substantially. This represents the coming to fruition of the policy publicly announced by the government.
Argentina relevantly led the ranking for immigration into Uruguay during 2020 and the trend continues during 2021.
Last but not least, it must be remarked that the Uruguayan Government issued several decrees prohibiting the entrance to the country due to the COVID 19. However, the same decrees included exceptions by which certain foreigners, fulfilling certain conditions, may be accepted to enter the country. This situation seems to continue at least the entire first half of the year in course.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
FORMENTO Legal & Strategic Consulting
Federico Formento is the Director and Managing Partner at FORMENTO Legal & Strategic Consulting, and was the first attorney in Uruguay to start handling immigration affairs from a corporate law perspective. Formerly, Federico was a partner at Andersen Tax & Legal in Uruguay, formerly Fischer & Schickendantz, the first firm in Uruguay to become part of a global law firm.
Both a lawyer and a notary public – a specialised real estate attorney – he manages the firm’s corporate law department (including the immigration and residence unit) and co-manages the foreign investment consulting unit, advising both multinationals and individual investors mainly on residence, real estate developments, acquisition of local companies and privatisations.
Currently, Mr Formento specialises in business and immigration law, mergers and acquisitions, private equity deals, major real estate and agribusiness developments, both commercial and residential. He has advised on more than 400 residence procedures, assisting both individuals and multinational organisations that specialise in immigration. Moreover, he has collaborated on major publications such as the World Bank’s Doing Business report and Consultor (a Uruguayan business law magazine), and has attended several conferences in Uruguay, Argentina, Ecuador, the United States, Canada, Mexico, Panama and Spain relating to immigration and real estate.
Mr Formento graduated from the University of Montevideo school of law in 2004. In 2005, he obtained a master’s degree in business law and, in 2009, a master’s degree in real estate law, both also from the University of Montevideo. Mr Formento lived abroad for several years, in Brazil, the United States and Israel. His overseas work experience spans the United States and most of South America. He is fluent in Spanish, English, Portuguese and French.