On August 1st, 2018 the Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued Official Notice #210 which concerns the terms and conditions for granting the new visa, specifically named the “visa of opportunities”. This Official Notice comes just months after the new immigration regulations came into effect in April, 2018. This notice establishes the new requirements that immigrants must meet in order to live and work in Chile. This is in accordance to the new immigration policy, which aims to “highlight the real reason” that immigrants have for coming to Chile. The intent is to avoid both periods of migratory irregularity and immigrants becoming victims of labor and other abuses.
The new visa in question will continued to be held to the standards of the current legislation, by Decree Law 1904, of the year 1975 which establishes the rules of immigrants in Chile, and be the Decree 597, of the year 1984 which establishes the immigrant regulations. The new visa is called the “opportunity visa” and will be divided into two separate categories: (i) Category of workers and (ii) Category of entrepreneurs. Both types of visas will be awarded on a point scoring system according to the following criteria:
- The region of Chile in which the applicant will live and carry out work. The most extreme regions in Chile will have the highest point score (30 points). The most densely populated regions of Chile; specifically the Metropolitan, O’Higgins, and Bio Bio regions will have the lowest point score of 0 points.
- Educational training. This refers to the number of years of studies completed by the applicant. The applicant can reach a maximum score of 15 points and a minimum of 5 points.
- The applicants must certify their proficiency in the Spanish language. They must be at an intermediate level (B1), according to the corresponding certification of the international exams SIELE or DELE. This will earn the applicant a maximum score of 15 points.
- Age of the applicant. The applicant can receive a maximum of 10 points for being between the ages of 25-44 years old. They can receive a minimum score of 5 points for being between the ages of 18-24 years old and 65 years or older.
For the applicants who apply for the specific category of workers, the criteria of “occupation” will also apply. This refers to the professional experience that can be certified through a university degree or certificate that must be legalized or apostilled in the country of origin and in Chile. With regards to the above mentioned criteria, there are those that can be established as applicants with a “priority occupation”. This is namely for professionals or technicians in the health (applicants within certain medical specialties will receive higher scores) or digital transformation industry (specifically referring to computer science, cybersecurity, and robotics). This rule also applies to those who are elderly care professionals or technicians and those in the areas of sustainable development and intergenerational responsibility (which refers to the areas of water resources and natural resources). The above mentioned “priority occupations” can receive up to a maximum of 30 points.
For the applicants who apply for the specific category of entrepreneurs, the following criteria applies: The applicant must prove that they have a minimum 2,400 Chilean UF (equivalent to USD 106,210), submit a business plan that indicates the location within Chile in which the investment will be made and the applicant must prove that the first initial investment was actually made in Chile before their visa can be stamped. For those who plan to obtain this type of visa, they must reside and do business in the region which was stated in the original business plan submitted. If the applicant moves or does business in a different region, they must apply for a different type of visa under the name of “visa subject to contract”.
To apply for the opportunity visa, foreigners must do so through the electronic Consular Care System (https://tramites.minrel.gov.cl). Through this online portal the applicant must submit a certificate of criminal record from their country of origin and/or of residence, in addition to the other requirements also detailed in the online portal. These requirements are a part of Decree 172 from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs from the year 1977, which replaces the text of the consular regulation.
From now until November, 2018 the Ministry of Foreign Affairs will grant a maximum of 3,000 opportunity visas for the category of workers and 1,000 for the category of entrepreneurs.
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