Chile is attracting an increasing number of immigrants from neighbouring countries. In 2013, the number of immigrants who arrived in Chile (permanent and temporary) at 132 thousand was more than twice the figure recorded in 2012.
However, the foreign-born population as a percentage of the total population remains low and has increased only slightly since 1990, from 0.8% to 2.3% in 2013.
The outflow of Chilean emigrants to OECD member states and countries of Latin America has been considerably lower in recent years than the flow of migrants into the country. Chilean emigration has decreased some 12% since 2009. The United States continues to be the most important destination country, receiving more than 30% of Chilean emigrants, although this percentage has been declining. Argentina is the second destination of preference for Chileans and this figure has grown in importance over the same period.
The outcomes of Chilean migrants in the labor markets of Europe and the United States has remained relatively stable from 2010-2011 to 2012-2013, with a small increase of 0.7 points in both the employment and unemployment rates.
In the year 2013, Chile received 249 asylum seekers, showing an increase of 48% relative to the number of asylum requests in 2012. Colombia and Syria are the most important countries of origin. For the same year, there were 1,743 refugees in the country.
Remittances grew to a total of 923 million dollars in the year 2013, which represents an increase of some 3.2% relative to the previous year. This amount represents less than 1 percent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product.
On June 4, 2013 it was introduced to the Chamber of Deputies a new Immigration Bill. This Bill seeks to replace the Decree 1094 of 1975, legislation that continued to address the national security concerns of the Cold War. A special legislative commission has approved it and at the time of the drafting this note, it was under the First Legislative Review in the Chamber of Deputies at the Chilean Congress.
On September 22 2014, under Decree No. 1393, the Migration Policy Council was created with the aim of drafting the national migration policy as well as coordinating institutional actions, plans and programs on migration.
The main responsibilities of the Council are to analyze migration phenomena, update the existing information regarding migration; generate proposals that regulate the migration; to coordinate state agents and civil society involved with immigration policy; and, to propose amendments to the current legislation.
The current administration is planning to introduce changes to the Bill proposed by the previous administration. The changes to the bill cover human rights issues, different visa categories, immigration institutions andlinks with nationals living abroad.
Additionally, in May 2014, President Bachelet enacted the constitutional reform that allows Chileans abroad to exercise the right to vote, in plebiscite consultations as well as presidential elections.
The Chilean State has taken a number of initiatives to integrate immigrants to the country. First, the children of all migrants who reside in Chile are to be formally incorporated into basic and childhood education. Secondly the public healthcare system is to provide health care to all foreign children and adolescents under 18 years of age. Thirdly, access to the National Women’s Service protection network for victims of domestic violence is facilitated for immigrant women, asylum seekers and refugees residing in Chile.
Additionally, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has implemented the Program “Network for Victims of Gender Violence” for Chileans living abroad. The program is being implemented mainly in countries with a significant presence of Chileans, starting with Argentina.
The Pacific Alliance was created on April 28, 2011, with Chile, Colombia, Mexico and Peru as founding members. Costa Rica and Panama joined as observers.
The purpose of the Pacific Alliance is to make progress towards “the free movement of goods, services, capital and persons.” It established as an initial priority the movement of business people and the facilitation of migration flows and cooperation among immigration and consular police . The People Mobility Group was instituted to monitor movements of non-residents.
Recent trends in migrant’s flows and stocks and in labor market outcomes of emigrants
|Migration inflows (foreign nationals)||Persons||Per 1000 inhabitants||Percent change|
|Permanent and temporary||63912||76337||100051||132139||7.4994999917138||106.75147077231|
|Total migration inflows (foreign nationals) by type||Persons||% distribution|
|Migration outflows (nationals)||Persons||% of total||% change|
|From unstandardised destination country data||2009||2010||2011||2012||2012||2012/2009|
|Asylum seekers and refugees||Per million inhabitants||Number of persons|
|Inflows of asylum seekers||15.159465920354||17.621451812349||9.6193409216955||14.13190275344||14.13304035196||249|
|Refugees resident in the country||94.513439449595||96.715771586466||97.052278942106||98.923319274077||96.801202313061||1743|
|Components of population growth||Per 1000 inhabitants|
|Foreign-born population||Percentage of the total population||Persons||% change|
|Remittances||Millions of dollars||% of GDP||% change|
|Macroeconomic indicators||Annual growth in %||Average annual growth||Level|
|GDP/per capita ((PPP ) in constant 2011 international dollars)||4.7990392890085||4.8974083063653||4.4671341529238||3.1967326329686||4.3400785953166||21714|
|Labour market outcomes of emigrants in Europe and the United States||Percentages|
 Programs such as Holidays and Work, Academic and Student Mobility and Exchange of Immediate Information for Migration Security have been approved