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RUTEC OR SIRE? Registration of Foreigners in Colombia

Foreigner Registration Platforms in Colombia
One million thirty-two thousand sixteen, this is the figure that up to September 30, Migration Colombia revealed regarding the number of Venezuelan migrants residing in the country; among them, foreigners who entered regularly, irregularly and those who are in the process of regularization of their stay.

This situation, beyond the economic, demographic and sociological repercussions that may arise, generates the expectation of an increase in the hiring of foreign labor, civil or commercial, by Colombian companies, who in light of the immigration legislation must comply with certain obligations, which apart from those of each regime mentioned, are required when dealing with foreign contractors or employees; one of them is the registration in the Foreigners Registration Information System (SIRE).
In the aforementioned web application published on the Internet; employers, contractors, associates and in general anyone who
who binds, hires or renders services to foreign citizens
must report the corresponding news before the Administrative Unit of Migration Colombia, for the specific case of the relations that generate economic benefit, the term will be fifteen (15) calendar days following the beginning or end of the agreed activity or work. The contracting company or individual may be penalized up to fifteen (15) minimum monthly salaries in force, for omission or untimely reporting.

With the understanding that SIRE is an application that only seeks to promote and facilitate compliance with immigration obligations aimed at the control and registration of foreigners in Colombia, last October 9, the Ministry of Labor issued Resolution 4386 of 2018, which created and implemented a platform for the registration and certification of foreign workers in the country, called RUTEC, which in a very similar way to SIRE, seeks to provide greater control over the migration and hiring of foreigners, prevent labor exploitation and easily obtain statistical data that will allow the government to design appropriate public and labor policies.
This application, like SIRE, is published on the Internet and will allow any individual or legal entity that hires any foreigner for labor or services, to register such contractual relationship. RUTEC establishes a term of one hundred and twenty (120) calendar days following the execution of the contract or from the date the foreign worker is hired, while when the new information to be reported is due to the termination of the contract, thirty (30) calendar days following the termination of the contractual relationship will be required to update the registration.
As we can see, both applications have a very similar purpose, which lies specifically in the registration of foreigners entering Colombia. In this sense, we will analyze the five (5) main differences that exist between RUTEC and SIRE and propose a conclusion that will allow us to understand which of the two virtual registration applications should be used.
 

Entity that oversees, verifies and controls the system

The entity responsible for the SIRE platform is the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, headed by the administrative division of Migración Colombia; on the other hand, the Ministry of Labor is in charge of RUTEC.
 

Who registers in SIRE or RUTEC?

On the other hand, the SIRE must register all those foreigners who are employed or contracted to perform activities in Colombia that generate any benefit, inside or outside the country; to receive or provide academic, religious, artistic, show business, cultural, sports or health services. On the other hand, the RUTEC will only contain the data of foreigners who are linked by means of an employment contract, in any of its modalities, or by a contract for the provision of services, in the case of self-employed persons.
 

Deadline for registration:

As mentioned above, for activities that generate benefits, specifically, the SIRE contemplates a term of fifteen (15) calendar days following the occurrence of the new event, which may be the hiring or dismissal of the foreigner. Unlike the RUTEC which established two different terms, one of one hundred and twenty (120) days for the beginning of the contractual relationship and another of thirty (30) for its termination; both in calendar days.
 

Purposes of each system

Migratory control and registration are the main objectives of these web applications, the notorious difference that we find is with respect to the RUTEC and is that this system will also provide certifications of labor relations or service rendered by a foreigner, for the purposes that it considers applicable.
 

Sanctions

Resolution 714 of June 12, 2015 established the fines for migratory infractions, such as the omission of reports in the SIRE or late or untimely reports, the amounts mentioned in Article 16 of said resolution, which amount to fifteen (15) legal monthly minimum wages in force, which will be graduated according to the seriousness of the infraction. For its part, Resolution 4386 of October 9 issued by the Ministry of Labor did not mention or indicate specific sanctions for non-compliance with the reporting obligations before the RUTEC, so that, resorting to a systematic interpretation of the existing labor standards in the Colombian legal system, we understand that the sanctions could be those indicated in the Substantive Labor Code, as set forth in Article 486 of that normative compendium and, therefore, warns sanctions up to the following amounts five thousand (5,000) minimum monthly legal salaries in force, depending on the seriousness of the infraction of the labor law.
 
All of the above allows us to conclude that both platforms are independent and this means that Colombian companies and employers must make the relevant reports in each of the aforementioned applications, even if it is the same information; a situation that in our opinion is nonsense and another example of the emergence of unnecessary procedures that make the hiring processes and the exercise of a commercial activity in Colombia more cumbersome; because if there was already an application that recorded such migratory information, why not use the data that this one provides? SIRE is understood as an application already developed and implemented by the immigration authorities several years ago.
In addition, we understand that SIRE does not only register the labor relations and services rendered in our country on a daily basis, since sectors such as education and hotels also report data there; But this, in our opinion, does not represent an impediment for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to share the captured information with the Ministry of Labor, avoiding to increase the “paperwork” that day after day increases in Colombia and prevents the healthy and continuous development of the business activity, damaging in many opportunities our image before the investors that come from abroad, or is it that perhaps a double sanction is sought for those who do not report the foreigners linked to their charge?
Our intention is not to promote ignorance or disregard of state regulations and guidelines, but to generate awareness and allow our readers to elucidate the obligations that arise in the Colombian legal system and thus, the need to remain updated and attentive to the legal risks that may be latent in their business. But always remember that it is very important to count onimmigration lawyers for all your immigration procedures.
 
Author: Katherine Alvarez Gil.
Publisher: Santiago Pinzon Sosa

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