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