The bill, presented in 2013 by the executive, was approved by the Chilean Chamber of Deputies on January 16 of this year and sent to the Senate for its second constitutional procedure.
The initiative proposes an update to the regulations currently in force on the subject, dating from 1975, regulating the entry, stay, residence and exit of foreigners to the country, as well as the rights and duties of foreigners, in order to deliver a safe, orderly and legal migration.
In the session of the Chamber of Deputies, the project was approved in general, focusing the discussion on the following points:
- Migratory category: Article 56 of the bill seeks to prevent foreigners who enter Chile as tourists from opting for a different migratory status in order to reside permanently in the country. Although there are opinions contrary to this article, it was approved, so those tourists who want to live in Chile must leave the country and start their procedures at a Chilean consulate abroad.
- Non-Refoulement: In its passage through the Interior Government Commission, an article was added that promoted the principle of non-refoulement in the law, preventing the expulsion of foreigners who claimed to be at risk of violation in their countries of origin. This article was rejected by the Chamber.
Although the bill passed its second constitutional procedure, this does not mean that it will enter into force within the short term. The Senate must study the bill, and this is done through various committees (currently in the Government, Decentralization and Regionalization Committee for its first report). After its passing through the commissions, the project must be voted by the Chamber, both in general and in particular, reviewing all the articles of the project. If the bill is approved without any modification, it passes to the President of the Republic to sign it as a sign of approval, providing for its enactment and subsequent publication in the Official Gazette.
In the case of modifications, additions or amendments, the bill shall be returned to the Chamber of Deputies for approval. If approved, the new version must be approved by the President, promulgated and published. If it is not approved, the chambers as a whole must generate a new bill that will be reviewed by Joint Committees.
To the above it is necessary to add that the Project currently has the following transitory articles:
Article Eight: Once this law has been published, the Ministry of the Interior and Public Security shall have a period of one year to issue the Immigration Regulations.
Article nine: This law will enter into force once its Regulations have been published.
If the bill is approved without any modification to its current content, it would mean that its entry into force is conditioned to the enactment of the Immigration Regulations, that is, the Immigration Act would enter into force at least one year after its enactment.
Article written by Matias Conejero, attorney from Vivir en Chile.