• New Reporting Requirement Introduced and New Steps Required to Avoid Deportation
  • July 9, 2018
  • The situation

    Foreign nationals and their employers now face extra administrative hurdles during their stay.

    A closer look

    The following are the main regulations issued:

    • New report requirement. Employers must file a new report within 15 calendar days of a foreign worker’s change to visa category or if there is a gap between the foreign worker’s visas. The report must be filed through the online government system, Sistema de Información para el Reporte de Extranjeros (SIRE).

    o Impact. Employers who fail to file such a report for the two new situations will be fined.

    • New steps to avoid deportation.

    o All foreign nationals. Foreign nationals without valid immigration status in Colombia will be deported unless they file an ‘agreement for voluntary departure’ to stay in Colombia past their valid stay period.

    • Agreement details. The foreign national must submit the agreement to MigraciónColombia and if Migración Colombia approves the application, it will issue a temporary stay pass (known as a salvoconducto). This pass is valid for up to 30 calendar days and allows the foreign national to legally remain in Colombia until their planned departure date.
    • Previous rule. Previously, foreign nationals could pay a fine to Migración Colombia to obtain a temporary stay pass to remain in the country and request a valid visa.
    • Impact. Obtaining a temporary stay pass is more administratively burdensome than the previous fine-only process.

    o Mercosur nationals. Nationals of Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Ecuador, Uruguay, Paraguay and Peru without valid immigration status must leave Colombia or face deportation. Migración Colombia can waive the fine associated with deportation if the Mercosur national proves that they have a pending resident visa process in Colombia. Deportation may apply even if the fine is waived.

    o Previous rule. Previously, Mercosur nationals could obtain a temporary stay pass from Migración Colombia that allowed them to reside in Colombia while they found an alternative legal status.

    o Impact. Mercosur nationals without valid immigration status in Colombia may now face deportation as an immediate consequence.

    Other information

    Migración Colombia reinforced the fact that employers must comply with the above visa processes, and stressed that it is an infringement to hire a foreign national without the proper permit/ professional license, as applicable.

    • The regulation also clarified that SIRE-report related penalties issued up to 90 days prior to the date Migración Colombia issued the fine are subject to change, based on Migración Colombia’s discretion.