Immigration and labor immigration regime for companies with EMMA license

Executive Decree No. 33 of February 4th, 2021 (hereinafter, the “Decree”), published in the electronic Official Gazette on February 5th, 2021, regulates Law 159 of August 31, 2020 (hereinafter, the “Law”), which created the Special Regime for the Establishment and Operation of Multinational Companies for the Provision of Services Related to Manufacturing (EMMA).

In relation to the immigration and labor immigration regime, the Law and the Decree establish the following:

I. EMMA Immigration Regime:

1. EMMA Temporary Personnel Visa:

  • This visa may be requested for foreign workers who provide operational or training services to the company. The visa will be granted for a term of up to two (2) extendable years and will also apply to the worker’s dependents.
  • Once the resolution approving the temporary visa is issued, the Ministry of Labor and Labor Development (MITRADEL) will grant the corresponding work permit, without requesting any other additional procedure.

2. EMMA Permanent Personnel Visa:

  • This visa may be requested for foreign workers who work as permanent personnel.
  • The visa will be granted for a maximum term of five (5) years, extendable for the same term and will apply to the dependents of the foreign worker.

3. Permanent Residence:

  • The foreign worker who has worked for one or more companies with an EMMA license, may opt for a permanent residence permit, once the term of five (5) years from the approval of the temporary or permanent personnel visas has elapsed.
  • When opting for permanent residence, the foreign worker may find himself working for any company with an EMMA license, or have definitively terminated his employment relationship with it.

Comments:

  • The Decree establishes the requirements for EMMA’s temporary and permanent personnel visas, as well as for the permanent residence processes.
  • It is provided that applications for temporary and permanent personnel visas may be submitted before the applicants’ arrival to the country. Once they enter the national territory, they will have a term of forty-five calendar days to carry out the corresponding registration and give continuity to the process.
  • The possibility that both temporary and permanent personnel may request Permanent Residence after five (5) years from the approval of the respective visas is established.

II. Work Permits for Dependents of EMMA and SEM:

  • Dependents under the temporary or permanent personnel visas of EMMA, as well as under the permanent personnel visas of the Multinational Companies Headquarters (SEM) regime, may request work permits before MITRADEL, through the Single Window of the National Investment Directorate of the Ministry of Commerce and Industries (MICI), once the corresponding dependent visa has been approved.
  • Dependents will be able to apply for work permits within some of the categories already existing in the country and subject to the payment of income taxes, contributions to Social Security and Educational Tax.
  • For the applications of these work permits and their extensions, the requirements established in the current regulations regarding work permits must be provided.

Comments:

  • It is established that the dependents of EMMA and SEM will be able to apply to the categories of work permits already existing in the labor immigration legislation, once their visas have been approved. Previously, they could not apply for work permits with the immigration status of dependents.
  • MITRADEL and the National Migration Service (SNM) will exchange the information that had been provided for the processing of the respective dependent visa, by the EMMA and SEM companies.
  • The institutions involved in these processes will be governed by the principle of administrative efficiency and transparency, in order to quickly and efficiently process work permit applications.