By: Rodrigo Tannus Serrano Founding member of Tannus & Asociados firstname.lastname@example.org
The exodus of Venezuelan nationals to Colombia and the world continues, motivated by the unfortunate situation of the neighboring country, which is still going on and does not seem to have a short-term solution. For this reason, the flow of migrants is increasing, especially to South American countries, and therefore some nations have decided to modify their immigration laws. Countries such as Peru and Chile, that have tightened their controls and recently decided to request visas to all Venezuelans. On the contrary, Colombia continues to ease and grant benefits for the entry and stay of these migrants.
Entry of Venezuelans to Colombia with expired Passports
Within the measures established by the Colombian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Venezuelan nationals have been authorized to enter, transit and leave the national territory, even when their passports have expired. Passports in this condition may continue to be used for two years calculated as from the expiration date.
Likewise, nationals holding Venezuelan passports in the aforementioned condition may receive an Entry and Stay Permit granted by Migración Colombia upon entering the country. Exceptionally, those passports with an entry stamp will be valid as an identification document in the national territory. On the other hand, for the visa application process, it was established that Venezuelan nationals with expired passports may request the issuance of a visa, as long as they comply with the other provisions in force for the issuance of the corresponding visa.
Extension of Special Permit to Stay
On June 4 of this year, Migración Colombia began the process of renewing the Special Permits to Stay, known as PEPs, that are about to expire; to those Venezuelan nationals holding this permit, who are in the national territory. This new PEP will be valid for two years from its issuance. It should be remembered that this permit authorizes the person to remain in Colombia, without the purpose of settling in the country, carrying out any type of lawful activity, including the possibility of working.
Law Project for issuance of Temporary Special Work Permit – PETT
The Ministry of Labor, in collaboration with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, has joined forces to promote labor formalization and regular migration of Venezuelan citizens through a new decree project. By virtue of this, those foreigners from the neighboring country who are in an irregular migratory condition, as long as they provide a Venezuelan cédula or passport even expired, do not have a criminal record, have not been subject to expulsion or deportation, and are the holders of a hiring or employment offer.
The validity period of this permit may not be less than six months or more than two years, and it may be renewed once. It should be noted that the PETT will automatically lose its validity if, thirty calendar days after its issuance, it is not linked to the Social Security System, as well as to the SIRE and RUTEC.
As we can see, Colombia has not only generated flexible measures in order to facilitate and regularize the income of Venezuelan nationals, but also has the initiative to continue generating migratory benefits for these immigrants.