Chile

Country Profile



Facts & Figures

Around 4,4% of the population in Chile is migrant, and 13% of migrant women are employed in domestic work (as compared to about 8% in the case of employed Chilean women).¹ 3 in every 4 migrants in Chile come from other countries in South America, the predominant nationality being from Perú.²

The feminization of migration in Chile is an important phenomenon, attributed primarily to two conditions. Firstly, the regional character of migration, as 3 out of 4 migrants in Chile come from South America.³ The relative short distance facilitates female migration, exposing them to less risks, requiring fewer resources and allowing them to maintain family bonds in their origin countries.4

Secondly, female migration to Chile is related to the labor opportunities present in the country, in specific within the domestic sector, through which many migrant women have entered the Chilean labor market. The graph below shows the distribution in Chile of working migrants (over 15 years old) per economic sector and by gender, clearly showing the prevalence of females in the domestic sector:5

RESOURCES

MIGRATION LAW REFORM

This news report illustrates 5 key aspects to understand Chile's new migration law, comparing it to the previous one.

Legal Framework

In recent years, there have been significant advances in the legal framework enforcing decent working conditions for migrant domestic workers.

LAW 21325 - MIGRATION LAW

After an 8 year-long process, Chile has promulgated a new migration law in 2021 (although it is still not operation, as its official regulations have not yet been published).*

The migration law that was previously in effect, from 1975, failed to establish protection mechanisms for migrants, as the military dictatorship period in which it was adopted had a greater focus on national security.6

One of the main complaints by migrant domestic workers about the legal framework in the country is that the process of acquiring visas is slow and cumbersome,7 an issue which the migration law reform has attempted to address. The new law states that foreigners who migrate to Chile to work are eligible for a temporary visa (as all migrants are now required to declare their reasons for entering Chile), which can be requested remotely from abroad. Having the temporary visa is a prerequisite for later acquiring a permanent visa, if the migrant wishes to stay in Chile indefinitely.

*As of December 2021, when this page was written.

LAW 20786 - DOMESTIC WORKERS

This law modification, adopted in 2014, contributes to the high degree of labor protection for domestic workers in Chile, as it equates them to other paid workers in almost all aspects.8 It also regulates domestic workers' working hours, which cannot exceed 45 weekly hours over a maximum of 6 days.

ILO C189 - DOMESTIC WORKERS CONVENTION

Chile is one of the 35 countries that have ratified the ILO C189 convention in 2015.

FUTURE PROSPECTS

The promulgation of the new migration law in Chile is a promising step in the fight for migrant domestic workers' rights in the country, but its enforcement and implementation are still to be seen.




SOURCES

  1. Valenzuela, M. E., M. L. Scuro e I. Vaca Trigo. (2020). “Desigualdad, crisis de los cuidados y migración del trabajo doméstico remunerado en América Latina”, serie Asuntos de Género, N° 158 (LC/TS.2020/179), Santiago, Comisión Económica para América Latina y el Caribe (CEPAL). https://repositorio.cepal.org/bitstream/handle/11362/46537/1/S2000799_es.pdf.
  2. Ibid.
  3. Lupica, Carina. (2017). "Mujeres migrantes en Chile: oportunidades y riesgos de cruzar fronteras para trabajar." Organización Internacional del Trabajo (OIT). https://www.ilo.org/wcmsp5/groups/public/---americas/---ro-lima/---sro-santiago/documents/publication/wcms_560975.pdf.
  4. Ibid.
  5. Ibid.
  6. Valenzuela, M. E., M. L. Scuro e I. Vaca Trigo. (2020). “Desigualdad, crisis de los cuidados y migración del trabajo doméstico remunerado en América Latina”, serie Asuntos de Género, N° 158 (LC/TS.2020/179), Santiago, Comisión Económica para América Latina y el Caribe (CEPAL). https://repositorio.cepal.org/bitstream/handle/11362/46537/1/S2000799_es.pdf.
  7. Ibid.