Hiring foreign workers in Argentina involves reviewing immigration laws in force. Immigration to Argentina is governed by the Migration Law Number 25,871 (Ley de Migraciones or LM), its Regulatory Decree Number 616/2010, and supplementary dispositions enacted by the National Direction of Migrations (Dirección Nacional de Migraciones or DNM) that is the agency in charge of enforcing migration laws (such as Dispositions Number 1170/2010, 1171/2010 and 1824/2013).
Under Argentine immigration laws, there is no cap or quota as to the number of foreign workers that may be hired. However, to hire foreign workers in Argentina legally, companies must follow proper migration procedures, so as to avoid significant sanctions and liabilities. Under no circumstance can a foreign individual lawfully work in Argentina without a temporary residence granted by the DNM, as it will be explained below.
1) Migration procedures
Foreign individuals entering the country and wishing to work legally in Argentina must first obtain a temporary residence. The procedure differs according to the applicant´s country of origin.
a) Mercosur and associated states´ citizens
Citizens from Mercosur and associated countries have a privileged status1. They may apply for a temporary residence based just on their nationalities and with no need of any local sponsoring. According to an international bilateral treaty, Brazil´s citizens may directly obtain permanent residence.
Temporary residence to Mercosur and associated states´ citizens will be granted for a 2-year term. Afterward, they may apply for a permanent residence.
b) Non-Mercosur´ s citizens
The Argentine prospective employer of a non-Mercosur citizen must file2 with the DNM for
the issuance of an entry permit. Once the application has been granted, the entry permit must be sent to the Argentine Consulate in the prospective employee's home country, where a work visa will be stamped on his or her passport. If the prospective employee has already entered Argentina as a tourist, the company may directly request with the DNM the conversion of the tourist status into a work visa.
Temporary residence based upon a work visa will be granted for one year and may be renewed for identical terms. After three years of temporary residence, non-Mercosur citizens may apply for permanent residence.
2) Further procedures
Once the temporary residence is obtained, foreign workers must appoint an address in Argentina and get their national ID (Documento Nacional de Identidad or DNI) and must request an Unique Code of Labor Identification (Código Unico de Identificación Laboral or CUIL) with the National Social Security Administration (Administración Nacional de la Seguridad Social or ANSES) for the employer to register his / her as an employee.
3) Foreigners working illegally
Companies employing illegal foreign workers may be subject to fines equivalent to 20 monthly minimum salaries for each foreigner working illegally. Being a repeat offender increases by 50% the amount of the fines. Provided the employer also gives the illegal foreign worker housing for consideration, fines shall amount to 50 monthly minimum salaries.
It is worth noting that further to any administrative sanction, companies hiring foreigners not allowed to work in Argentina will face all labor liabilities in relation to the employee or third parties as the ANSES.
1 Bolivia, Brasil, Colombia, Chile, Ecuador, Paraguay, Perú, Uruguay, Venezuela, Guyana y Surinam
2 To conduct any migration procedure the requesting company must be previously registered with the Unique National Registry of Foreign Requesting (Registro Nacional Único de Requirentes de Extranjeros or RENURE), submitting certain documents and information. Such registration must be annually updated. Lacking of a current registration will prevent the company from hiring foreign workers or renewing residences and working visas.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.