Work visas issued in Chile triple over the last ten years

32,405 people were granted access to the country last year. After two years, people with this kind of visa can apply for permanent residence in Chile.

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According to recently released statistics from the Department of Immigration of the Interior Ministry, contract visas issued to foreigners during the last decade nearly tripled, rising 226 percent.

The trend of immigration to Chile was highlighted in 2009, when a study by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) outlined Chile as the country with the highest rate of immigration in Latin America.

From 2000 until now, the ministry of the interior has issued nearly 253,000 work visas. At the beginning of the decade, the government issued around 9,900 official visas. Last year, however, that number exceeded 32,400.

“There are some key factors that influence immigration,” said Assistant Work Secretary Bruno Baranda, while explaining the phenomenon during an interview with the newspaper La Tercera. “Chile meets the high expectations that foreigners have of it, especially in terms of education and economic prospects. The main factor is the opportunity to use the country to improve their conditions,” he said.

Peruvians ranked highest in those who came to Chile and applied for work visas, leading the pack with 19,590 permits obtained last year, four times the number of applications from Colombia, which registered second. Ecuador, China and the Dominican Republic all follow.

“When a country is on its way to becoming developed, and the neighboring countries are either stagnating or growing at lower rates, the result is that the citizens of those countries who migrate are likely to find work or to see a better quality of life,” Baranda said.