Work in Chile

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Information on Finding a Job and Working in Chile

Reviewed by Kathleen Peddicord

Kathleen is the Live and Invest Overseas Founding Publisher. She has more than 30 years of hands-on experience traveling, living, and buying property around the world.

Are you considering a move to Chile and find yourself thinking about how on earth you will be able to support yourself? Would it help if we told you that you can indeed find work in Chile.

For many professions there are big opportunities to be had in this diverse country. As foreign trade is a large part of the Chilean economy, foreign workers help to provide unique skills and talents that allow businesses compete on an international level.

Depending on the part of the country you are interested in living, there are a variety of career paths available.

The larger cities of Santiago, Valparaiso, and Concepcion are where many expats flock to find office type work in Chile.

In the more rural areas there are vast opportunities for more “blue collar” labor, such as mining and engineering.

For foreigners interested in working in Chile you will need to either be a permanent Chilean resident or have authorization to work in Chile. As an expat looking for the right opportunities, an important first step is to know what is needed to work in Chile and how to go about getting the proper documentation to start the process.

As with most countries in the region, the process to be eligible to work in Chile can be at times frustrating and slower than you might like.

Chile has put channels in place to make the process straightforward, however in each case it is quite important to have the correct documents ready to present. It is equally important to remember that the process is worth the small frustrations and this “barrier to entry” into the job market gives you a little advantage when you do become legal to work in Chile.

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Most companies will be hesitant to hire an expat who doesn’t have a work visa, as it can put them at risk for a fine or worse.

The challenge for many job seekers is that you need an employer contract verifying your intent to work in Chile under their company as part of your work visa application.

This catch 22 can often lead to frustration, however you will find that starting the rest of your process will give you a leg up when approaching companies for a job.

Large international companies can often provide the best opportunities to get started, as they usually have a number of foreign workers on staff and are familiar with the expat hiring process.

These companies can also provide a lawyer to help walk you through the process and will sometimes have influence within the labor department to expedite your request and get you working in Chile much quicker.

Here are some of the large multinationals that operate in Chile:

  • Coca-Cola
  • HP
  • IBM
  • Intel
  • Microsoft
  • Nestle
  • PepsiCo
  • Yahoo

Tips for Finding a Job in Chile

Chile is not too different from other countries in that getting your foot in the door is as much about what you know as who you know. Building personal and professional relationships is all a part of how business is done in the country. Word of mouth advertising is quite common among companies who are looking to hire and are often not even published online.

Tip #1: Network for friends. Friends lead to more friends and if they have a job they are likely to know how to help you get one as well.

Tip #2: Network for professional development. Building your professional network is key to finding the best opportunities in competitive industries.

Tip #3: Ask around, as locals have their ear to the ground and can help point you in the right direction.

Tip #4:Search Online. Searching online can help you get a feel for the type of jobs available in the area.

Tip #5: Know your USP. Knowing the thing that makes you unique and valuable within the job market is a big boost when applying for a job in Chile. Often this can be as simple as having English as a first language.

What is Needed to Work in Chile?

In order for you to work in Chile as a foreign-born person, you must have residence or be a legally permanent citizen in the country, as well have authorization to work. Authorization is achieved by having a signed contract for employment.

Once given a residency visa in Chile or the special foreigner work permit (with visa processing) you will be able to start working.

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Here are the requirements to begin work in Chile,per the Chilean Government’s Chile Abroad information:

  • That the firm, institution or employer who contracts the foreign-born worker has a legal address in Chile.
  • That the work contract is signed in Chile before a Notary Public, by the employer and the worker or whoever represents this one. Concerning professionals or specialized technicians, these may accredit their respective degree duly legalized in their country of origin.
  • That the activities performed by the foreign-born worker in Chile be not considered hazardous or threatening for national security. If there were any doubts concerning the latter point, a report shall be requested from the Ministry of National Defense.
  • That the hiring of the worker and the work contract comply with all the relevant contingency and working rules and regulations, plus the ones requested by immigration for the obtaining of a subject to work contract visa.

On the other hand, the work contract for foreign-born workers in Chile, must comply at least with the following contents:

  • Signing place and date of the contract (contract to be signed before Notary Public)
  • Name, nationality and address of the employer and the worker.
  • Function(s) or task(s) performed in Chile.
  • Working day and place where the occupation shall be performed.
  • Determination of remuneration, which cannot be inferior to the minimum salary and that could be paid in national or foreign currency.
  • Duration of the contract (starting and finishing date of labor relation).
  • Initial date of the activities.
  • Travel clause, establishing that the employer commits itself to pay the worker and to the members of its family, until the end of contract, a return ticket to the worker to its country of origin or to the one agreed by the parties, pursuant to law. This obligation of the employer shall exist until the foreign-born worker exits the country or obtains a new visa or a definitive permanency.
  • Contingency regime clause, where the employer commits itself to carry out the corresponding tax deduction and to deliver it to the institutions of social security, unless the parties have recourse to the Law Nº 18.156.
  • Income tax clause, where the employer commits itself to the payment of the income tax corresponding to the foreign-born worker’s remuneration.

It is necessary to consider, that the duration of the work contract for the foreign-born worker, may be:

  • The granting of visa to the resident subject to contract, as a requirement of the foreign legalization service, may be valid up to two years, which may be extended for equal periods.
  • In case the worker has a subject to work contract visa, and the labor relation ends for any reason, its residence visa expires. To regularize this situation, it is necessary to have a new employer, and request in the Foreign Legalization Service the change of employer in the subject to work contract visa.

With respect to the above mentioned, the foreign-born worker must have a series of necessary and relevant documents. On the one hand, the former contract settlement, or appearance document, or evidence in writing made by the national Work Inspection Department, which consists in a drawn up and written letter where the worker gives evidence, with a copy, that its former employer ended the labor relation. It also requires a new work contract, that must meet the requirements already described.

On the other hand, it is important to consider that the contingency situation of the foreign-born worker in Chile is regulated by the common and general rules on the subject, that is to say, by the Decree Law Nº 3.500. However, the Law Nº 18.156, grants the possibility of not to pay completely the deduction payments to the foreign-born worker who meets some requirements, it is to say:

  • That companies sign contracts with foreign technical or professional personnel.
  • That the foreign-born worker is affiliated to a contingency regime abroad.
  • That the work contract contains a clause relative to the contingency affiliation abroad.

It is necessary to make clear that, in case the foreign-born worker does not pay deduction in Chile, he will be deprived of the benefits of the Chilean contingency system, except for those derived from the coverage of industrial accidents and occupational diseases, which deduction payment are mandatory for the employer.

Similarly, the hiring of foreign-born-workers is subject to inspection, according to what stated in the regulations of the Foreign Legalization Service, dependent on the Ministry of Interior, through the Department of Foreign Legalization and Migration.

The inspection of the work, contingency, hygiene and security according to the Work Code, are of exclusive competence of the Work Directorate, bound to protect all workers, without exception, whether Chilean or foreign-born citizens.

At last, it is necessary to stress that there are certain special situations of the foreign-born worker in Chile, that is to say, a subject to work contract residence visa may be granted for free and without a written contract, when it comes to artists, scientists, teachers, writers, and in general, people of special relevance in the cultural field or highly prestigious figures. Besides, when they are sponsored by public or private institutions of a recognized solvency. And, when their activities are performed with charitable, teaching or diffusion purposes.

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