Pros and cons of immigration to Montenegro
The pros of living in Montenegro & cons of moving to Montenegro,
When you ask anybody what are the pros and cons for life in Montenegro, be prepared for subjective judgment. Moreover, if you ask me the same question 5 years ago or in 5 years, the answers may be completely different. It all depends on what you need in this period of your life. Often minuses are pumped into pluses and back. And you know, any plus can be turned into a minus and vice versa. This is life. Think wider, there is not only black and white)
Advantages of living in Montenegro
11 “for” immigration to Montenegro
⭐️Ecology. There are no factories and harmful production in the country. Clean Air. The water in the sea and rivers is clean also.
You can use tap water for cooking. Some people drink tap water, but there are nuances.
*Tap water has a lot of salts, so I don’t recommend drink it without purification. The air is not clean all year in all cities. There is a problem of smog in winter in northern Montenegro due to stove heating. In 2022, the problem of stove heating and air pollution has become critical in a number of cities, the state is taking measures.
⭐️The Sea. It is very important. Firstly, for the health of the body and lungs, and secondly, for mental health.
The Adriatic Sea is very beautiful, the water is clear and deep turquoise in color.
*During the high season there are a lot of tourists, so the beaches are overcrowded, and the water on the most popular beaches can be “overwhelmed”. In winter, storms throw a lot of garbage ashore, often it is not removed immediately. It all depends on what the weather will be like next. When the weather stabilizes, the beaches will definitely be cleaned.
⭐️Mentality. Until I lived in Asia I didn’t think that it could be so important. After three years in Thailand, I realized that a smile can mean a lot: sincere joy or fierce hatred and contempt, often based on nationalist views (unfortunately). It sounds wierd, because we all know that Thailand is a country of smiles, but, as people say, there is a nuance. We have a lot in common with Montenegrins in mentality.
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⭐️I like Montenegrins. I didn’t understand them right away. When it turned out, I liked them even more. Serious on the outside, but kind on the inside. Montenegro taught me that people can selflessly help. Without the intent that it will be necessary to “pay” for help later, but absolutely openly, even without thoughts of self-interest. Of course there are some bad stories, especially during the high season in resort areas. But I’m lucky with good people. I hope that this will continue.
⭐️ Close to Europe. We often travel by car, this type of tourism is more comfortable for us than airplanes. It takes only 6 hours to go to Greece, and 8 hours to Venice. In 2019-2020, we traveled throughout the Iberian Peninsula: from Montenegro through Italy and France to Portugal, down to Gibraltar and back along the Spanish side. In 2022, we repeated the journey. It was delicious, cool, but long — each trip took about 2 months.
Before that, we went to Prague a couple of times, to Georgia through all of Turkey, not to mention the numerous trips to Greece, Albania, Bosnia and Croatia.
Many low-costers fly from Montenegro, for example, Wizz Air or Ryanair. Many destinations for only 20 euros per ticket.
⭐️Simple legalization. Montenegro is not yet a member of the EU, so it is easier to legalize here than in any country from the EU. Plus low taxes.
You can register a company if you plan to make business here, and on the basis of the company make a residence permit. You can get a residence permit for real estate ownership. You can apply for a residence permit for family reunification if one of the family members has already received a residence permit. Recently, Montenegro has added an option for digital nomads — nomad visa. There are also other less popular ways to stay legally in the country for a year without having to leave or renew your visa.
⭐️ Mild climate. There is a very mild winter on the coast. Near the sea it is rarely less than 0. In the spring, as such, there is none, summer comes almost immediately. And in summer, despite the heat, the sea breeze allows you to take a break from stuffiness. If you want snow and real snowdrifts, after 3 hours it is easy to find yourself in a winter fairy tale.
⭐️Security. I see people leaving cars with keys inside, which is crazy for us. Crime is low. I can calmly walk down the street after midnight alone and feel safe. As in any tourist cities, thefts can occur during the high season.
⭐️I like their Polaco. This is what I miss in my life. I am constantly running somewhere, if not physically, then mentally. Montenegrins, on the other hand, are in no hurry to live, enjoy, slowly stretch out the pleasure of life. They even drink brandy in small sips, and not a glass in one sip.
⭐️There are a lot of fruits that grow in any yard: figs, pomegranates, a huge amount of citrus fruits, tangerines in winter, just everything is littered with kiwi, grapes, berries, apples.
⭐️Diversity of nature. This is magic: sea, rocks, beaches, sand, mountains, lakes, canyons, forests. The country is really very beautiful and small: you can drive to any place in 3-4 hours maximum. It’s hard for me to explain how beautiful it is here. It must be seen with the eyes. For a person who has been living here for more than 8 years, I can note that even though the eye is lathered, but still, every time I look at these mountains, at this sea, I think: “how insanely beautiful.” These pink sunsets are just love.
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Cons of Moving to Montenegro
8 Cons of Immigration to Montenegro
So, what is missing, what might not be as cool as we would like?
⭐️The country lives only on tourism. There is no production, which negatively affects the stability of the country’s economy, jobs and GDP. Tourism is good, but at the moment there is a high seasonal skew in Montenegro — a huge number of tourists in the summer, almost none in the off-season and a small number of tourists in the winter. With each season, prices for services grow, but the quality of services does not keep up with them. In recent years, Montenegro has been trying to increase its recognition in the world of tourism and attract tourists to coastal cities, including in winter for the Christmas holidays and the New Year. In 2022, I noticed a big difference (for the better) with what I saw 7 years ago when we moved.
⭐️ Products and seafood. Many tourists note good and fresh products, but there are nuances.
Agriculture is very poorly developed in Montenegro. Why? Because there is not much land, there are many mountains, everything is more difficult with land for growing vegetables. Therefore, most of it is brought from neighboring countries. For example, pork for prosciutto is purchased in Albania. In winter, vegetables are very poor, but every year I see positive changes in selection and freshness.
There are many small households: meat, cheese, eggs, chickens, lambs, goats. Finding duck meat or rabbit meat is almost impossible. We periodically go to Croatia to buy groceries: salmon, duck, black pudding, parmesan, wine, snails, anything else. For example, in addition to products, there is H& M (which is not in CG) or large candles for the home, yarn, and cosmetics. Croatia is in the EU, so the prices for many products are much lower than in Montenegro.
Seafood is a different story. At first glance, it seems that the prices for seafood are very high. Fishermen talk about the lack of industrial fishing and the small size of the Adriatic Sea. For example, a gilthead bream from a cage (artificially grown) costs 7-9 euros per kg, while a wild one costs 30-35 euros. Shrimps from 15 to 18. Alas, everything is so. It cannot be compared with Portugal and Spain. It would seem that the country is located on the sea and seafood should certainly be cheaper than meat. There is no industrial catch here, only a few farms for artificial cultivation. Mussels and oysters, sea bream and sea bass are bred here. Everything else is the catch of fishermen and there is not much of it, barely enough to serve restaurants during the season.
⭐️The country is very small with a small population. Hence the low demand and limited supply of goods and services. Due to the low level of the economy, the population has low salaries, which means there is no way to generate demand for the development of many services and goods. What you might be used to in big cities—taxi apps, delivery apps, order processing speed, and variety of choices — hasn’t arrived yet. Although covid has made a lot of positive changes in the market, it is still very far from the service of big cities.
⭐️It follows from the previous one. Lack of variety in products, things, quality of services. We try to shop or bring something important from other countries. We are also mentally prepared that in the event of a breakdown of equipment, we will have to transport it to another country. But, for example, you can perfectly buy apple or xiomi equipment in Montenegro with a local warranty.
⭐️Medicine. It must be admitted that after the collapse of Yugoslavia, all production and medicine remained in Serbia. There is a practice when narrowly qualified doctors from Serbia fly in once a week for an appointment in ChG. A small part of the solvent population excludes the possibility of developing good paid medicine. But not everything is as bad as it might seem. If you pay taxes here and have received a residence permit, you are entitled to free healthcare. Yes, it is long and complicated, but this is the essence of free medicine. Therefore, in hospitals, you will mainly meet elderly people who have time to sit in queues and do not have money for private medicine. But in emergency cases, having such insurance is super.
⭐️Digitalization. Very low level and very high level of bureaucracy. So far it’s all sad. In 2022, with a huge influx of people wishing to get a residence permit in Budva, the situation reached the point of absurdity. The queue had to be occupied at 3 o’clock in the morning, so that by 8 o’clock, when the MUP opens, get a number! It was a queue for a number. At the same time, if you did not receive numbers before 40, then there were no guarantees that you would have time to submit documents. The issuance of cards is greatly delayed, but there is no way to check online whether the card is ready or not.
⭐️ We live in Budva and we don’t have an address. We don’t have an address for our house. We are in the village. Really, there is no address of our house! AS? How the fuck do I order a package from Aliexpress? Budva has not been a village for a long time, can I enter addresses like normal people? This is a direct cry from the heart, because we have to order parcels to the postal address. We have to explain to couriers in words where to go, but since there is no address at home, drivers often make mistakes and come to the wrong place.
⭐️Idiot driving. When you are driving in Europe, the behavior of your neighbors on the road is quite expected. In Montenegro, this is not the case. You cannot drive in your lane, even if you have the full opportunity to do so. Because some idiot will definitely start overtaking you in the forehead. Here, don’t go to the fortune teller. I especially like to be horrified by such situations on serpentines, well, just a face-hand.
You can talk on this topic endlessly, probably, these are the main minuses and pluses.
When moving to Montenegro, it is important to understand that this is a small country with low development. If you are used to constant traffic and megacities, I don’t think you will get along here.
Frequently asked questions about immigration to Montenegro:
Will I be able to find a job in Montenegro?
There is little work. You can find a job in tourism (which has a strong seasonality), or work with Russian speakers who live here. Yes, the Russian-speaking diaspora is large, but nevertheless it is scattered throughout the cities. In 2022, of course, the number of permanent residents from Russia, Ukraine, Belarus has changed a lot, which led to an increase in demand for quality services, which in turn provoked the opening of a large number of businesses.
If you want to work in the local market, in local companies, then the language is required.
If you managed to succeed in your homeland, then most likely you can do it here. But if everything is bad in your homeland, do not think that everything will be trampled here — it does not happen. Another country, other customs, traditions and other bureaucracy. There are no necessary friends, acquaintances, understanding of processes and how everything works here, which means that all processes will go slower than it might seem initially.
Is it difficult to learn Montenegrin (Serbian) language?
Many people immediately understand it at the everyday level. It is very similar to Russian, many words are exactly the same. For example, summer is summer, sea is sea, sky is sky. However, many of the words are completely different. As in Russian, there are cases and declensions. And also the verb “to be”, as in English. There are a lot of exceptions. The language is very rich. There are words that are not in Russian at all. However, learning is quite easy. If you teach, and not kick the bulldozer, then quickly learn. If you communicate a lot with locals, then all the more quickly.
How is medicine in Montenegro?
They say that medicine is so-so here. (To be honest, where is not so-so free medicine? Free without the obligation of huge insurance premiums). If something is serious, then it is better to be examined not in Montenegro, the number of highly specialized specialists is limited here. There is a slight development over the past 5 years in this area, but still not very good. Many doctors fly in from Serbia. It is also important to remember that the coast is a resort area, a zone of “villages” — small towns. If you do not have the right to state insurance, then be sure to do it yourself (tourist). We are officially employed and pay taxes, therefore we are entitled to free medical care.
Can I drive with a Russian license?
By law, it is possible, but not for long. But, so far, no one is nitpicking and everyone is driving with a Russian license, including Russian license plates. There is some nuance in case you drive a car on Montenegrin license plates without a rent-car agreement with Russian rights. In the event of a stop, the police may also demand a residence permit from you, and in case of refusal to provide it, try to issue a fine (or ******** ****** to let you go). To be honest, there is nothing about this in the laws, but here you have to defend your rights, ask on the basis of what article you are fined, try to prove that this is not in the law, etc. If you know the language, then there will be no problems. But if you do not know the language, then everything is very difficult.
What’s with the kindergartens, schools?
There are kindergartens, there are schools. There are several accredited Russian schools with excellent teachers. I don’t really know the details. Children are loved here. I know that many children go to local schools, no bullying or discrimination from teachers.
Which city to choose for living in Montenegro?
If you don’t want to live by the sea, then, of course, Podgorica. This is the capital. If on the sea, then look towards Tivat or Bar, or Herceg Novi, or Budva. I do not recommend Kotor, because it is very hard there in winter because of the climate. The mountains catch all the clouds, it is more humid, wet, rainy, dank, mold is actively developing. Be sure to choose an apartment on the sunny side, otherwise you will freeze in winter and pay beshbablo for heating, because there is no heating here. Ideally, if the apartment is in a house where neighbors constantly live, especially under you and on the sides.
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