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Foreign workers in Chile

We present here a guide for foreign workers who need to know about their labour duties and rights.

The Resident subject-to-a-contract status is given to any foreigner who comes to Chile to develop work activities. Such status is also given to his or her spouse, parents and children of both of them or of one of them, as long as these do not receive a salary for their work and live under the sponsorship of the person who is holding the visa.

If a foreign worker wants to work in Chile, he or she has to previously prove their legal residency or continuance in this country, and they must be properly authorised to work. This can be done by signing a work contract.

These are the requisites to work in Chile:

  1. The company, institution or person that hires the foreign worker must have a legal address in Chile.
  2. The work contract must be signed before a notary, by the employer and the employee or whoever represents the latter.
  3. In the case of professionals or skilled technicians, they have to produce a degree, properly certified in their country of origin.
  4. The activities to be performed by the foreign worker must not be considered as dangerous or risky to the country's national security. In case of doubts as to this point, the Ministry of National Defence will be called upon to issue a report.
  5. The hiring of the worker and the contract must comply with al the pertaining legal and labour measures, as well as the ones established by the aliens register office (Extranjería) so as to obtain a visa subject to a work contract.

Minimum requirements for a work contract

  • Place and date when the contract was signed (must be signed before a notary).
  • Name, nationality and address of both employer and employee.
  • Task(s) or mission(s) to be developed in Chile.
  • Schedule and place where the work will be carried out.
  • Amount of remuneration, which cannot be inferior to Chile's minimum wage and may be paid in Chilean or foreign currency.
  • Duration of contract (since when and until when the labour relationship will last).
  • Date of start of activities.
  • Travel clause which stipulates that the employer accepts to pay the worker and his/her family members, at the end of the contract, for a return ticket to his/her country of origin or to the country agreed by the parties, as set out by the Law. This employer's obligation will exist until the foreign worker leaves the country or is given a new visa or obtains a definitive continuance.
  • Clause of pension scheme by which the employer obliges himself to make the necessary arrangements in order to ensure the worker pays the moneys that will go into his future pension, unless both parties have recourse to Law 18156.
  • Clause of income tax, by which the employer obliges himself to be liable for the payment of the income tax corresponding to the foreign worker's remuneration.

The foreign worker can start to work once he/she has obtained the certification of his/her residency in Chile or the special work permit for foreigners whose visa is being processed.

Duration of work contract for a foreign worker

The visa for a resident subject to a contract, due to the Aliens Register Office's (Extranjería) requirements, cannot be inferior to one year, and it may last for up to 2 years. The visa may be extended for equal periods.

When the foreigner has a visa subject to contract and the labour relation comes to an end by any reason, the residency expires. In order to regularise this situation it is compulsory to find a new employer, and to ask the Aliens Register Office (Extranjería) for a change of employer in the foreign worker's subject-to-contract visa.

Documents which are required for a change of employer

Settlement of previous contract or court appearance certificate or proof from the Labour Inspectorate. This is a letter (and a copy), either handwritten or typed, by the employee where he states that his ex employer decided to put an end to the labour relation.

New work contract, which has to comply with all the requirements mentioned above.


The stay of foreigners who work in Chile is regulated by both common and general rules on the issue, as stated by Law Decree 3500 (Decreto Ley Nº 3.500).

Law 18156 (Ley Nº 18.156) confers the possibility to not make payments towards the pension funds of the foreign worker whenever these conditions apply:
- Companies sign contracts with technical or professional foreign staff.
- The foreign worker has joined an administrator of pension funds abroad.
- The work contract contains a clause related to belonging in a pension scheme abroad.

In the event that the foreign worker does not make payments towards his pension in Chile, he or she will not be able to access the benefits of the Chilean system, except in the case of accidents at work or diseases related to the nature of the work performed, as the employer is to pay for these eventualities.

Monitoring of contracts for foreigners

The monitoring of the rules contemplated in the Regulations of the Aliens Register Office (Reglamento de Extranjería) is to be carried out by the Ministry of Home Affairs (Ministerio del Interior) through the Department of Foreign Affairs and Migration (Departamento de Extranjería y Migración).

The monitoring of the labour, pensions, hygiene and safety provisions in the Code of Work (Código del Trabajo), including those referring to foreigners and complementary laws, are under the responsibility of the Labour Direction (Dirección del Trabajo).

The Labour Direction's mission is to protect all workers without distinction, whether they are Chilean or foreigners.

Special situations of foreign workers in Chile

A subject-to-contract visa can be given for free and not needing to have a written work contract in theses cases:

  • When there are artists, scientists, teachers, writers and, in general, people who are highly relevant in the world of culture or when their prestige is acknowledged by everyone.
  • When those people are sponsored by public or private institutions which have well-known funding.
  • When their activities are carried out with aims of charity, education or spread of knowledge.