Thursday, December 22, 2011

The Number of Expats in Merida

INM in Merida on Avenida Colon
In October, while renewing our visas at INM (Immigration), I asked one of the ladies working there how many expats (Canadians, Americans, Cubans, ......) actually live here in Merida/Progresso. She couldn't tell me exactly but she did say that they handle 50 scheduled or walk-in appointments a day, 5 days a week, 50 weeks a year in the Merida immigration office. That comes out to 12,500 actual appointments a year.
Now, everyone goes in for at least 2 appointments during the application/renewal process on the visas. The first is to turn in your paperwork and application. The second is to actually receive your visa, usually about 2 to 3 weeks later. So that would cut the number of people in half to 6,250 going into the INM office twice a year. Are you with me?

Now there is an immigration (INM) office in Progresso to alleviate the pressure on the Merida office. However, they are very lightly staffed and you have to live in Progresso or neighboring beach towns to use that office. I have been in that office twice, once with my attorney Fransisco, and they usually only have one lady working the front desk. I can't imagine that they get around to handling more than 10 people a day, judging from the workload of 50 appointments a day in Merida. The Merida office always has at least 5 or 6 people processing apps at any one given time. With that said, I am assuming that Progresso processes about 50 appointments a week, 2,500 per year. That would cut in half the number of actual people to 1,250 since everyone processes in-and-out on two appointments set a few weeks apart.
National Flags of Latin American Countries
Most of the expats in Progresso are retirees from Canada or the United States. They probably make up 95% or more of the traffic in that office. But the INM office in Merida is another story. I have been in that office four times now. And of the expats that I have seen in there no more than 25% of them actually look to be Canadians or Americans. Most of the time they look to be, at least to me, Spanish speaking immigrants from Latin American Countries like Cuba, Puerto Rico or Columbia.

So let's say, rounding up, that 30% of the 6,250 applicants processed annually through the Merida office are Canadian and American. That comes out to around 2,000 people. Then you have somewhere around 1,500 people being processed through the Progresso office of which about 95% or more fly the CAD or USA flag.

Then you have to factor in those expats that have already attained Inmigrado status through Immigration and are no longer being processed on an annual basis. My best guess on that number.......Let's say 1,000 of those people in Merida. I have never met an American or Canadian with inmigrado status so I think 1,000 is awfully generous.

That's 2,000 in Merida plus 1,500 in Progresso/Chelem plus maybe another 1,000 seasoned-veteran Inmigrados. I get somewhere in the neighborhood of 4,500 Canadian and U.S. expats in Merida/Progresso/Chelem/ or minus 500.

The expat community here is not very large in comparison to the overall population which is well over 1 million. You are talking maybe less than one half of one one percent of the population. I have .4% of the population, an incredibly minuscule fraction of the people.

Even amongst foreign expats, Americans and Canadians are a minority within an extreme minority. And if you are going to be involved with people here on a broad basis then guess what you are going to want to be able to do?  That's right....Speak Spanish. It doesn't mean you won't meet people that speak English. You will. But it is not the majority of people.

Just an insider's view not based on a financial agenda.


1 comment:

  1. Hio,
    I live in Florida and am extremely interested in Merida for a retirement home. If you can help with some of the questions that I have not found answers to on the internet I would greatly appreciate it.
    The biggest one for me at the moment is that I am very susceptible and allergic to mosquito bites. The pool in my home has a pool cage and if it were not for it I would be unable to go outside in the evenings, especially at dusk.
    OK, so my question is, are there pool cage companies to construct them in Merida?