May 09, 2013

On April 24, 2013, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) issued an important new immigration law (DECRETO NÚMERÓ 834) that will change the majority of existing immigration regulations issued in 2004 and will abolish and/or consolidate several visa categories. The new regulations are scheduled to take effect on June 24, 2013.

What’s Changed?

MOFA’s final guidelines as to the application protocols and documentation requirements are not yet released.   However, as this is a comprehensive change in the law, please allow this brief to serve as an overview of the statute’s major highlights.

The existing six categories of work/residence permits will be consolidated into to three categories:

  1. Business NE
  2. Temporary TP
  3. Resident RE

Each category will be divided into new subclasses. General examples of the differences between the new, proposed subcategories are as follows:

  • Business (Negocios): NE-1 to NE-4

NE-1: To carry out commercial and business efforts, promote economic exchange and investments and to create a company.

NE-2: Temporary-stay business person in the framework of existing international agreements, such as Free-Trade Agreements (e.g., Pacific Alliance, to promote alliance of cross-border and international trade outlined in said agreements).

  • Temporary (Temporal or “Temporary      Work”): TP-1 to TP13

TP-7 (to replace the “TT” Work Visa category) Activities or occupations: partner or owner of a company or ….”for the exercise of offices or independent activities and the exercise of occupations or activities not foreseen in this Decree.”

TP-13: For foreign nationals wishing to enter the national territory in order to provide short-term (e.g., up to 180 consecutive days) technical assistance, with or without contract of employment, for public or private entities.

  • Resident (Residente): RE

Path to Colombian Permanent Residence can be sought in the following non-immigrant work permit categories (TP-3, TP-4, TP-5, TP-7,TP-9).

ACTION ITEMS FOR EMPLOYERS

For most companies, assignments will be based under the new TP categories (e.g., TP-13 for short-term, client-based technical assignments; TP-7 for traditional, longer-term secondments).

Currently, as the final regulations have not yet been outlined by the MOFA, companies are advised that changes to the existing “TT” and Technical Assistance Visa category may change with little to no advance public notice. Therefore, it is important for companies to discuss existing and upcoming assignments with their Colombian immigration supplier.

Pro-Link GLOBAL will provide additional updates as new provisions are made available.

Caveat Lector | Warning to Reader

This is provided as informational only and does not substitute for actual legal advice based on the specific circumstances of a matter. Readers are reminded that Immigration laws are fluid and can change a moment’s notice without any warning. Please reach out to your local Pro-Link GLOBAL specialist should you require any additional clarification. This alert was prepared by Glenn Faulk, Senior Manager, Knowledge Management. Pro-Link GLOBAL worked with our PLG | KGNM ISP in Colombia to provide you this update.

Information contained in this Global Brief is prepared using information obtained from various media outlets, government publications and our KGNM network of immigration professionals. Written permission from the copyright owner and any other rights holders must be obtained for any reuse of any content posted or published by Pro-Link GLOBAL that extends beyond fair use or other statutory exemptions. Furthermore, responsibility for the determination of the copyright status and securing permission rests with those persons wishing to reuse the materials. Interested parties are welcome to contact the Knowledge Management Department (km@pro-linkglobal.com) with any additional requests for information or to request reproduction of this material.