Group of social organizations propose five reforms to draft migration law

April 9, 2019
Communications Colunga Foundation

One year after the presentation of the Government's new migration policy, a group of 18 social organizations, led by the Jesuit Service to Migrants (SJM) and Pro Bono Foundation they exhibited a set of five measures to be included in the bill that is being processed in the Interior Government Committee of the Senate and which they consider a priority to move towards an orderly, safe and regular migration; with a focus on rights.

In their proposal, the organizations emphasize the need to incorporate into the law a visa that facilitates the social and labor inclusion of migrants and is in line with the migratory reality. To do this, they propose to establish a temporary residence permit to search for job opportunities, to be requested at the border, which then allows the change of category within the country. They also suggest that if a person is in an irregular situation for two years and has a working relationship or financial solvency, they can access a category of temporary residence for extraordinary reasons.

"These measures are proposed based on a work of 18 years in the SJM and taking into account the international evidence, this to avoid falling into a process of regularization every 10 years but streamline administrative processes that allow better inclusion" said José Tomás Vicuña, National Director of the SJM.  

In this line, the organizations propose the reincorporation of the article that consecrates the no refund principle emphasizing that this is stipulated in various international treaties ratified by Chile, such as the American Convention on Human Rights. Another critical point that they highlighted as guarantees of due process and access to justice is that migrants with orders to expulsion they can claim administratively, which is prohibited in the current project, and they also request that a judicial appeal be established before the Court of Appeals with the possibility of appealing to the Supreme Court to argue against this sanction.   

"We must legislate effectively and efficiently, but recognize people as subjects of law. This will allow to leave less space for decision making in an arbitrary way, "said Carolina Contreras, executive director of Fundación Pro Bono. "Due process must be guaranteed for all persons, including those who have a valid expulsion order. They must be able to plead before the administration for a sanction of this connotation and go in a special way to courts before a sanction as radical as this one ".

In the field of social Security, organizations called to eliminate the requirement of 2 years of residence to access cash transfer benefits from the State, this requirement should be determined individually in each particular program if justified. In their proposal they indicate that, like Chileans, migrants in the country are quoting and paying taxes, contributing nearly 386 billion pesos per year for taxes, immigration procedures and fines (year 2017), while the cost of direct cash transfer programs is estimated at 17,744 million annually (year 2018).

"There are many programs that already have requirements and we propose to review them and determine in which it is appropriate to deliver the benefit and in which it is not. There are 35 programs, of which 7 already contain requirements that can not be accessed, 12 in which it would be unfair or discriminatory to prevent the benefit and 16 that could be subject to an evaluation, "said José Tomás Vicuña from SJM.

In labor matter, the proposal of the organizations focuses on the generation of a temporary work permit, of limited duration in time, which is granted immediately upon submitting the necessary background information to request a temporary residence permitting them to work. Likewise, increase to 50% the limit of foreign workers in companies with more than 25 workers and expressly allow the change of migratory category and access to the permanent residence of seasonal workers, and incorporate regulations that protect their labor rights.

The organizations that adhered to the proposal and that advocate a long-term and responsive migration policy that is relevant to the country's migration reality are América Solidaria, Hogar de Cristo, INCAMI, Evangelical Migrant Service, Public Space, Colunga Foundation, Fusupo, Fasic, Fernando Vives Center U. Alberto Hurtado, PRIEM U. Alberto Hurtado, Human Rights Center U. Diego Portales, Center for Migratory Studies USACH and Thematic Tables of the Senate.

Source: Pro Bono Foundation 

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