Also read: Expat Guide To Living La Vida Loca – Part 1
There has to be a reason why Mexico is quickly becoming one of the most popular Expat locations on the planet. With over 2 million Expats already living in this amazing country we all want to know, “what’s the secret?”. Well, in part 2 of my Expat Guide to Living La Vida Loca, I will be sharing with you the lowdown on jobs, housing and medical care in Mexico, so you too can make your move.
Contrary to popular belief, Mexico has one of the strongest economies in the whole of Latin America! It is a place for budding entrepreneurs, artists, and the business minded to create successful companies and careers. That said, entering this growing economy isn’t always easy for a foreign person, and it usually goes hand in hand with a lot of strenuous, frustrating visa applications.
To live and work in Mexico you need to have the correct visa. Although there are many foreigners working in Mexico illegally for ‘cash-in-hand’, the consequences of being thrown out of the country, and banned for 10 years, aren’t worth the associated risk. However, with a little planning and research one can get their foot in the door without any issues.
1. Being Sent Over To Mexico By Your Current Employer
Does your company have a branch office in the country? This is probably the most common and easiest route to a job in Mexico. Your current employer will usually pay for, and fill out the necessary documentation, so all you have to do is grab your visa, hop on a plane, and enjoy your new life in Mexico.
2. Working In Hospitality
Mexico being the beautiful country it is, there are many tourist zones throughout the entire country. This means that there are an abundance of hospitality jobs, such as; bar work, reception, waiter, hotel staff, and entertainment. If you are snapped up by a hotel, then they will usually pay for and arrange your work visa for the duration of your contract.
3. Skills Otherwise Not Found In Mexico
As the country is still developing in terms of it’s economy, there are still areas of industry that lack expertise. If you’re a skilled professional in areas such as engineering, communication or roles in the technical sector, you may be able to secure an invitation from a Mexican company. You are also going to need to be conversant in Spanish for these kind of roles.
4. Starting Your Own Business
This option is probably one of the most difficult, but the most profitable. The difficulties come from the outrageously long and confusing application process to acquire the necessary documentation. A way to overcome this obstacle, which a lot of Expats now do, is to retain the services of a local attorney or business person skilled in these matters.
5. Being A Creative Soul
Believe it or not, there is actually a lot of work, and a dedicated visa, for anyone wanting to come to Mexico to work with their art-form. Be it a musician, a painter, a singer or a poet, there is a visa that can help you live and work in Mexico, so long as you are bringing something new and profitable to the country. So all you aspiring rockstars don’t need to hang up those leather pants just yet.
Housing in Mexico is fairly cheap compared to most other countries, be that for renting or buying. In Cancun for example you can get a nice, newly built, 2 bed apartment for $100,000. However, the quality of housing available, and the cost vary dramatically depending on the city, or even the neighbourhood you choose to live in. This is the same for crime rate and cleanliness. It all depends on the area you choose. I would recommend speaking to other Expats who live in the city you want to move to, or even to local real estate agents, to find the right neighbourhood for you.
There are two ways to find housing in Mexico; using a real estate agent, and going it alone. The first is more expensive, but using a real estate agent will allow you to find the best areas to live quickly and easily, and they will be able to speak Spanish on your behalf. However, I believe the best option is to do the search yourself. This could mean walking the streets and making phone calls, searching online, or looking through the local newspaper. For this option you will need to have a good grasp of Spanish, or know someone who does, but the result will save you money.
A few things to remember when looking for housing in Mexico are:
- The rental market in Mexico is largely unregulated, meaning your landlord can raise the rent at the drop of a hat, and the tenants will have to pay it, or be kicked out. I’m talking things out on the pavement and locks changed.
- Each person with a Visa to live/work in Mexico can only bring household items into the country on a duty-free basis once. So be sure to choose the things you want to move with very carefully.
- Contracts are usually in both Spanish and English, however, in court only the Spanish version will be considered binding. Be sure to double check this version, and make sure it matches up exactly to the English one.
One of the most important things to consider when moving to a new country is the level of healthcare, and luckily, in most cases the levels in Mexico are very good. That’s not to say there aren’t plenty of back room doctors, dentists and surgeons, who have little to no training, but they are very easily spotted, and avoided.
Most doctors and dentists in Mexico actually completed part of their training in the U.S, and many American doctors have studied in the larger cities of Mexico, such as; Monterey, Guadalajara and Mexico City. Every notable city in Mexico will have at least one, if not two, first-rate hospitals, and they will usually be much cheaper than in your home country.
There is an option in Mexico to pay for health insurance, and some jobs will come with this benefit. However, most of the prescriptions in Mexico will be around half the price of your home country, and a general trip to the doctor will only set you back around 400 pesos.
If you missed part one of my Expat Guide to Living La Vida Loca, you can see it here, and find out about the language, cost of living and weather in Mexico.