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Blog on Global Immigration
[This is an Excerpt from the Global Mobility Book. You can find more about the book and purchase it here.]
Argentina is a federation of 23 provinces situated in South America. The autonomous city of Buenos Aires is its capital and largest city. It is the eighth-largest country in the world by size and the largest Spanish speaking nation. The estimated Population is 40,000,000 and it covers an area of 1,068,302 square miles.
Argentine legal system derives from Civil Law. The two principle pillars of the civil system are the Argentine Constitution (1853) and the Civil Code (1871). Argentina's Constitution, like that of most Latin American countries, is very explicit and it is the fundamental source of Argentine law. The Constitution entitles the Congress to enact the Codes concerning civil, commercial, criminal, mineral, labour and social security matters.
The national government is composed of three branches:
Legislative: The bicameral Congress, made up of the Senate and the Chamber of Deputies, makes federal law, declares war, approves treaties, and has the power of impeachment.
Executive: The president is the commander-in-chief of the military and appoints the members of the Cabinet and other officers, who administer and enforce federal laws and policies.
Judicial: The Supreme Court and lower federal courts, whose judges are appointed by the president with Senate approval, interpret laws and overturn those they find unconstitutional. There are two court systems, the Federal Court System and the Provincial Court System.
The Argentine Immigration Law n? 25,871 was enacted in January 2004 and it guarantees immigrants the right to equal treatment, non-discrimination and access to educational, medical and social services. The Immigration Law sets forth the conditions immigrants must comply with in order to enter and stay in Argentina under four different categories: permanent residency, temporary residency, transitory residency and provisional residency. The regulation of the Immigration law was enacted in May 2010 with decree 616/2010, providing an interpretation and a clearer explanation on how the Immigration Law should be applied by the Immigration Department. Visitors from many countries do not need visas to enter Argentina as tourists (transitory residency) so they can enter the country just presenting their passport at the border or airport checkpoint. Tourist visitors from Australia, USA and Canada are required to pay a ?reciprocity fee? when visiting Argentina as tourists but visas are not required. The authorised stay for tourists is up to 90 days and this term can be extended for another 90 days at the Immigrations Department. For most residencies or visas other than tourist, a formal filing must be submitted at the Argentine Consulates abroad or the Immigration Department, in order to obtain the appropriate residency visa.
Temporary residencies are established in provision 23 of the Immigration Law 25,871, where more than 12 different subcategories are set forth, including the employment residency. Temporary residencies are typically granted for an initial period of 12 months, and renewable thereafter in similar increments. Temporary residents have an unrestricted right to work only during the term authorised by the Immigrations Department. Employers who hire foreign nationals without the proper immigrations work permits are subject to fines up to US$ 20,000 approx. per employee as of the date of this article.
Argentine Immigration Law n?25,871 sets forth in provision 23 item ?A? the employment residency visas a ?temporary residency? subcategory.
The work visas or employment residencies petition scan be processed at the Argentine Consulates abroad with an Entry Permit issued by the Immigrations Department or within the Argentine territory if the applicant has already entered Argentina typically as a tourist or a student, since the regulations do allow petitioners to adjust their status from tourists to workers without having to exit Argentina, in this last case the filing is done directly at the Argentine Immigrations Department in Argentina without the intervention of the Consulates. The physical presence of the employee is required the day the petition is filed since biometric data (fingerprints) will be taken for the issuance of the National Identity Card.
Any employer willing to hire foreign nationals to work in Argentina and sponsor them for a work residency must first be registered at the Registry of Sponsors of Foreign Nationals (RENURE).
In all cases, applicants of work residencies need a ?sponsoring employer? willing to offer them a labour contract which will have to be filed at the Immigrations Department along with the proof of registration of the employer at the Registry of Sponsors of Foreign Nationals. Self-employed applicants are not eligible for employment residency.
Employers sponsoring an applicant for a work residency do not have to go through labour certification (prove that they are not displacing argentine workers) nor they have to prove that the foreign nationals have high levels of professional skills or qualifications needed by the Argentine labour market. There are neither restrictions nor quotas of foreign employees that companies or individuals can hire. Therefore the regulations are quite relaxed in this respect.
Employers who wish to hire foreign nationals, as previously mentioned, must fulfill the registration at the RENURE and eventually immigrations could request the employer to prove sufficient economic capacity to pay the salaries of the sponsored worker. The salaries offered to foreign nationals by the employers must fulfill the minimum salary established by law or by the collective work agreements of the workers union.
It is required that all applicants submit their criminal records background check from the countries where they have lived during the past three years prior to the petition. Names recorded in these records must be complete and stated identically as the names in the applicants? passport.
Translation of documents that will be filed at the Argentine Immigrations Department must be translated by Official Public Translators of Argentina and legalised by the Association of Public Translators in Argentina, any other type of foreign and/or unofficial translations are not accepted.
Something that is worth mentioning is that the Argentina regulations allow the worker to start working right from the first day he or she entered the petition of work residency or visa at the Immigration Department assuming that the petitioner is already present in the Argentine territory. This means that while the file is under review and pending, until a decision has been made, the applicant receives a provisional residency called ?Precaria? that allows him or her to start working right away and to obtain a social security number called CUIL at the local Social Security office called ANSES. If the petition is denied, this provisional authorization will be revoked.
During the processing of the work visa, Immigrations randomly conducts inspections at the employer?s premises to corroborate that the worker is actually fulfilling on site the work relation that has been reported to immigrations with the petition. In the event of inspections it is important that foreign nationals have their proper documents with them: valid provisional residency, valid temporary residency and/or valid national identity card to prove their legal status.
Upon termination of the employment agreement either by quitting or dismissal, the employer has 15 days to inform the RENURE about this termination and the circumstances related to it under penalty of fines and other sanctions.
Sponsoring employers must keep their RENURE registrations up to date and have an obligation to serve notice to immigrations of any change in the work relationship with the worker such as dismissal or quitting. Failing to inform the Immigrations Department of any changes in the employment relationship can result in the cancellation of the registration as a sponsor.
In summary, the steps for obtaining a work residency are: (i) proof of registration of the employer at the RENURE (ii) employment contract (iii) foreign and argentine criminal background check (iv)a proof of domicile. The filing fee of a work residency done within Argentina at the Immigrations Department is about US$ 125/-.
Once filed the work residency petition, immigrations will issue the provisional residency that will allow the employee to obtain the social security number (CUIL) and later on to be registered as the employee of the company before the Tax Agency (AFIP). Once fulfilled the petitioner must inform Immigrations he or she is included in the payroll and duly registered at AFIP, so that Immigrations can grant the residency and after that issue the National Identity Card that will be received via mail in the declared address.
By resolution 1,171/2010 the regulations for foreign nationals who enter Argentina to conduct businesses or market research for investments. These Business Visas are considered to be the type mentioned under provision 24 item H of the Immigration Law.
The type of activities allowed by this Business Visa are making business, trade or financial negotiations and it also includes those entering the country in order to participate in exhibitions or fairs.
The term of stay for these business visas is two months tourist visas and one extension for a term of equal length is permitted, making in total four months stay for the petitioner.
The filing is initiated at the Argentine Immigrations Department Entry Permit Unit by a representative of the immigrant and when the entry permit is issued, the applicant must present him or herself at the Argentine Consulate in the country where he lives, to have his passport stamped. Each Argentine Consulate abroad has some specific procedures that change from Consulate to Consulate on how to apply resolution 1.171/2010, so it must be checked on a case per case basis. The inviting company or institution will be required to be registered at RENURE.
In general, the steps for obtaining a business visa are: ....
[This is an Excerpt from the Global Mobility Book. You can find more about the book and purchase it here.]
H?ctor Gabriel Celano, born in Argentina, graduated as a Juris Doctor from the University of Belgrano Law School. He participated in exchange programs at San Francisco State University where he completed his law studies. After working at top law firms in Buenos Aires, Mr. Celano founded "Celano& Associates", a young and dynamic law firm based in Buenos Aires that for over a decade has been helping immigrants and companies relocate, live and do business in Argentina. Mr. Celano is licensed to practice law in Buenos Aires Capital and Province Districts, he is licensed with the Argentine Supreme Court and he is a registered attorney at the Argentine Immigrations Department