New visa categories introduced for skilled workers, university graduates

2 Aug 18

CHILE

IMPACT – MEDIUM

What is the change? The Chilean government introduced new visa categories this week, part of its efforts to overhaul the country’s immigration system.

What does the change mean? Authorities are accepting applications for temporary opportunity visas (for foreign nationals undertaking paid work or conducting business activities), temporary international orientation visas (for foreign nationals with postgraduate degrees from elite universities abroad) and national orientation temporary visas (for foreign nationals who earn postgraduate degrees from accredited Chilean universities). The categories were created to help Chile attract high-skilled foreign workers and give them opportunities to apply for permanent residence.

  • Implementation time frame: Immediate and ongoing. The changes took effect Aug. 1.
  • Visas/permits affected: Temporary opportunity visas, temporary international orientation visas, national orientation temporary visas.
  • Who is affected: Employers and foreign nationals applying for any of the new visas.
  • Impact on processing: Processing will take roughly 45 days, the same amount of time as other consular visas.
  • Business impact: The new visas are generally expected to help Chilean businesses recruit highly skilled workers and postgraduate degree earners from top universities abroad and in Chile.

Background: Chile announced plans to introduce the new visa categories in April. Applications are now being accepted for:

  • Temporary opportunity visas. These visas are for foreign nationals undertaking paid work or conducting business activities in Chile. They will be valid for 12 months and are extendable once, whereupon the visa holder may then apply for permanent residence. Applicants must apply for this visa from outside Chile. This visa replaces only the temporary visa for labor intent, which allowed foreigners to switch from a tourist visa to a temporary residence.
  • Temporary international orientation visa. These visas are for foreign graduates with a postgraduate degree from a university ranked in the top 200 worldwide according to the QS World University Rankings. They will be valid for 12 months and are extendable once, whereupon the visa holder may then apply for permanent residence. Applicants must apply for this visa from outside Chile.
  • National orientation temporary visas. These visas are for foreign nationals who earn a postgraduate degree from accredited Chilean universities and wish to work in Chile. They will be valid for 12 months and are extendable once, whereupon the visa holder may then apply for permanent residence. Applicants must apply for this visa from outside Chile.

BAL Analysis: The new visa routes are designed to attract highly educated foreign nationals and other skilled workers and to provide flexibility for those who wish to seek permanent residence in Chile. The introduction of the new categories is one of several immigration changes Chile has made so far this year. The country has also introduced tech visas aimed at attracting innovation, established new humanitarian visa routes for Haitian and Venezuelan nationals and launched  a campaign to legalize the status of approximately 300,000 undocumented immigrants.

This alert has been provided by the BAL Global Practice group and ContactoChile i.r.s. For additional information, please contact your BAL attorney.

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