New immigration regulations
The Chilean government has just presented guidelines for its immigration policy and announced several new visa requirements. The bill for a new law, which had already been presented in Piñera's first term, will be reactivated soon in parliament.
At the same time, new rules were presented and will come into force in the coming weeks. According to the government, this responds to the high increase of immigrants, particularly from Haiti, Venezuela and Colombia.
According to official statistics, the number of foreigners in Chile has increased from 465,000 to more than 1.1 million in the last four years: an estimated 300,000 of them remain in the country without a valid visa.
The most radical measure concerns the ban on entering Chile as a tourist, seeking an employment contract and applying for a work visa. As of April 23, visa applications will be processed only by Chilean consulates abroad.* The new rules do not apply to applications submitted until that date.
In addition, the Visa por Motivos Laborales, introduced in 2015, will be eliminated. Instead, other permits will be created including the Visa Temporaria de Oportunidades, which must be applied for from outside of Chile, aimed at migrants from all countries seeking to work for up to 12 months, renewable once. The implementation date will be 1 August 2018.
More visas are also planned for master's degree graduates from the world's top 200 universities and recognized Chilean universities.
Check the official information in Spanish here.
* Update May 19, 2018
Other types of visas, e.g. the visa sujeto a contrato - which is bound to the employer - or the visa temporaria para profesionales - which enables university and technical college graduates to work in Chile - can still be applied for in Chile itself. More information on the Extranjería website.