Connecticut, US

Feb 13 2020

M-5 Migrant Visa Applications Subject to Stricter Educational and Experience Requirements

Colombia

At a Glance

  • At their discretion, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is requesting additional documentation from some employers and foreign nationals applying for initial or renewed M-5 Migrant Visas, to verify the applicant’s educational qualifications and experience.
  • Previously, employers were only required to submit an offer letter and/or employment contract to prove the foreign national’s suitability for the position.
  • Affected foreign nationals with pending applications generally have up to 30 days to submit the additional documents.
  • This will add an administrative hurdle and may delay the document-gathering time for new applications, since it may take a significant amount of time to apostille or legalize documents in some countries.

The issue

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is requesting additional documentation, at their discretion, from employers and foreign nationals applying for initial and renewed M-5 Migrant Visas to verify the applicant’s educational qualifications and experience. 

A closer look

  • New requirements. The new documents that the Ministry is requesting include the applicant’s bachelor’s diploma, certificates of experience issued by the applicant’s current and/or previous employer(s), and a support letter issued by the employer in Colombia explaining the applicant’s suitability for the position.
  • Legalization and translation. All documents issued outside Colombia must be apostilled or legalized and translated into Spanish if issued in any other language.
  • Previous rule. Previously, employers were only required to submit an offer letter and/or employment contract to prove the foreign national’s suitability for the position. 

 

Impact

  • Pending applications. Applicants with pending applications generally have up to 30 days to submit the additional documents, unless the Ministry states otherwise. Those with visas expiring in the next 30 days should contact their immigration professional for specific advice as this may require alternate document submission plans.
  • New applications. Employers and foreign nationals submitting new applications on or after February 13, 2020 may need to provide additional documents to support their M-5 Migrant Visa application. This will add an administrative hurdle and may delay the document-gathering time since it may take a significant amount of time to apostille or legalize documents in some countries.

 

Background

Though the government has not provided more specific information about this discretionary policy, the recently-appointed Minister of Foreign Affairs in Colombia seems to be increasing scrutiny on some immigration applications in line with the proposed immigration law currently under legislative review which, if passed, would require foreign nationals in certain visa categories to have more advanced qualifications.

Looking ahead

As is generally the case with senior staffing changes, and the proposed immigration law is passed, additional policy or process changes in Colombia are likely in the near future. Fragomen will provide updates as they become available.

This alert is for informational purposes only. If you have any questions, please contact the global immigration professional with whom you work at Fragomen or send an email to [email protected].