Key Points
  • Chile has approved a law for a new immigration framework and to restructure visa categories
  • The new law creates a short-term work authorization process for foreign nationals
  • In-country change of status will no longer be permitted
  • The temporary residence category will expand to 13 sub-categories
  • A Temporary Residence Visa will be required for foreign nationals to live and work in Chile
  • The new law will allow dependents to work in Chile
  • Permanent residents will be able to stay outside the country for two years instead of one
  • Foreign nationals will have 180 days to regularize their status
  • The new regulations will be implemented over the course of a year
Overview

Chile’s Congress has approved a law that establishes a new immigration framework and restructures the country’s visa categories.

What are the Changes?

The immigration law will establish a new short-term work authorization process. It will also expand the options for Temporary Residence categories, and it will provide dependents with more opportunities for work authorization. Additionally, the law will create stricter rules for in-country change of status.

Chile’s new immigration law will create a new short-term work authorization process. To perform short-term work in Chile, foreign nationals must apply for a Special Work Authorization. They will likely be able to apply for the short-term work authorization in the country and through consular processing. The government will provide more details when available.

The new rule will also impact in-country change of status. Under the new role, foreign nationals who entered the country as tourists will not be allowed to change their residence status while in the country. Foreign nationals who want to work and live in Chile must stay outside the country while their work and residence applications are in process.

The category for temporary residence will also be expanded under the new law. Foreign nationals who want to live and work in Chile must obtain a Temporary Residence Visa (TRV). The TRV will now include 13 sub-categories for workers who are employed by a company or self-employed; individuals performing remunerated work, foreign nationals seeking work opportunities, seasonal workers, and more. The government will also create new TRV subcategories as needed. Under the new rule, foreign nationals in certain subcategories can work in Chile without requiring sponsorship from an employer.

Work authorization for dependents will change under the new rule as well. Dependent family members of foreign nationals with TRVs will receive work authorization automatically. Currently, dependents are not authorized to work in Chile if they have dependent status.

Chile’s new immigration rule will also affect permanent residence status. Instead of permitting residents to remain outside the country for 12 months at most, permanent residents can stay outside the country for up to two years while maintaining their permanent residency status under the new rule.

Lastly, the new rule gives foreign nationals with irregular status 180 days, starting from the date the rule is published, to regularize their status in the country. The new rule also allows them to obtain work authorization. Under the new rule, foreign nationals who entered the country illegally have up to 180 days to leave Chile without facing penalties, including deportation.

Looking Ahead

The Ministry of Interior must draft and publish the new immigration regulations, which is expected to take place over the course of 12 months. The law will go into effect at that time.


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