Chile introduces lenient tech visa as US applies limitations on immigration

President of Chile Michelle Bachelet has announced the launch of the Chilean Tech Visa this week, which trims down the visa approval process to just 15 days.

As the US Citizenship and Immigration Services department pursues limitations on the H-1B visa program favoured by tech companies, Chile is forging ahead with a different strategy, making it easier and more attractive for foreigners to start or work for a tech company in Chile.

 The nation’s new tech visa is targeted towards founders and investors in tech businesses that are based or looking to set up a base in Chile, as well as science and technology professionals who are looking to work for a tech business based in Chile.

Entrepreneurs who are selected for Startup Chile’s accelerator programs or one of its three lines of financing will also be able to acquire a visa within 15 days of application.

According to Chilean publication La Tercera, Bachelet wants to create a “virtuous cycle where everyone wins”.

Nathan Lustig, managing partner at Santiago-based venture capital firm Magma Partners, told ZDNet that current conditions in the US present an opportunity for Chile to attract tech talent and businesses.

He added that fast tracking the visa acquisition process is a “giant leap forward”, as it will make it easier to launch and grow a global business from Chile, while taking the country from an extraction-based economy to a knowledge-based one.