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GUATEMALA - New Rules for Migrant Workers

Effective immediately, the Guatemalan government has implemented new work authorisation and residence rules for foreign national workers.

The amount of time an assignee on home-country contract and payroll can work in Guatemala has been significantly restricted, and the procedure for obtaining temporary residence permits has been tightened, with additional documentary requirements, a corporate sponsor registration requirement and limited renewals.

Assignees

  • Foreign nationals sent to work in Guatemala while remaining on home-country contract and payroll can no longer obtain temporary residence, without first signing a local employment contract in Guatemala and obtaining a work permit.
  • This means that assignees are now limited to stays for work of up to 180 days on a visitor visa, and cannot be remunerated in Guatemala.
  • Previously, foreign nationals could obtain a temporary residence permit and work indefinitely in Guatemala without a local contract or work permit.
  • Visa-exempt nationals will now be granted a visitor visa on arrival, valid for up to 180 days. Visa required nationals must apply for a visitor visa, valid for up to 90 days and renewable up to 180 days, at a Guatemalan consulate. Family members of visitor visa holders cannot obtain dependent status.

Temporary Residence for Migrants

Validity

The Temporary Residence for Migrant Workers can now be requested for between one and five years, and can be renewed up to five years, beyond which a permanent residence permit application must be submitted. Previously, temporary residence was issued for two years at a time, and could be renewed indefinitely.

Police Clearance and Criminal Records

In addition to the existing requirement to submit police clearance certificates, criminal records are now also required from the country of origin or the country where the applicant has held legal residence during the last five years. If the authorities of any relevant country do not issue either of these two documents, a letter of explanation will be required.

Sponsor Registration

The sponsoring entity (employer) in Guatemala must now register annually with the immigration authorities. Previously this was not required. The company's legal representative must attend the immigration office in person to complete registration.

Dependent Residence

Temporary residence applications for any family members can now only be submitted once the principal applicant’s temporary residence has been issued. Family members can still Previously, all temporary residence applications could be submitted simultaneously.

Action items

Employers who may be affected are encouraged to contact their Newland Chase immigration consultant for case-specific advice.

This alert was prepared with information provided by Consortium Legal.