Labor Guide to Doing Business in Argentina: hiring foreign workers in Argentina

by 15 Oct 2020Companies, Labor and Social Security

Hiring foreign workers in Argentina requires reviewing immigration laws in force. Immigration to Argentina is governed by the Migration Law No. 25,871 (Ley de Migraciones), its Regulatory Decree No. 616/2010, and supplementary dispositions enacted by the National Direction of Migrations (Dirección Nacional de Migraciones, or DNM) that is the agency in charge of enforcing migration laws.

Under Argentine immigration laws, there is no cap or quota as to the number of foreign workers that may be hired, but the company wishing to employ those workers might have to justify the need to do it. However, to hire foreign workers in Argentina legally, companies must follow proper migration procedures to avoid significant sanctions and liabilities.

1) Migration procedures

To work lawfully in Argentina, foreign individuals must first obtain a temporary residence. The procedure differs according to the applicant´s country of origin[1].

a) Mercosur and associated states´ citizens

Citizens from Mercosur and associated countries[2] have a privileged status: they may apply for a temporary residence based just on their nationalities and with no need of any local company sponsoring them through a contract of employment[3].

Temporary residence to Mercosur and associated states´ citizens will be granted for a 2-year term. Afterward, they may apply for a permanent residence[4].

b) Non-Mercosur´ s citizens

The Argentine prospective employer of a non-Mercosur citizen[5] must file[with the DNM for the issuance of an entry permit. Once the application has been granted, the entry permit must be sent to the Argentine Consulate in the prospective employee’s home country, where a work visa will be stamped on his or her passport. If the prospective employee has already entered Argentina as a tourist, the company may directly request the DNM the change of the tourist status into a work visa.

Temporary residence based upon a work visa will be granted for one year and may be renewed for identical terms. After three years of temporary residence, non-Mercosur citizens may apply for permanent residence.

2) Further procedures

Once the temporary residence is obtained, foreign workers must appoint an address in Argentina, get their national ID (Documento Nacional de Identidad, or DNI), and request an Unique Code of Labor Identification (Código Unico de Identificación Laboral, or CUIL) with the National Social Security Administration (Administración Nacional de la Seguridad Social, or ANSES) for the employer to register his / her as an employee.

 3) Foreigners working illegally

Companies employing illegal foreign workers may be subject to fines equivalent to 50 monthly minimum salaries for each foreigner working illegally. The penalty will be 100 monthly minimum salaries in the case of unemancipated or underage workers.

Provided the employer gives the illegal foreign worker housing for consideration, additional fines amounting to 20 monthly minimum salaries per each worker applies.

Being a repeat offender increases by 50% the amount of the fines.

It is worth noting that further to any administrative sanction, companies hiring foreigners not allowed to work in Argentina will face all labor liabilities in relation to the employee, third parties (such as the ANSES), and the work authorities.

4) Foreign workers´ status

Foreign workers enjoy the same labor rights and duties as Argentine nationals. Social security regulations also apply to foreign workers in Argentina; however, under certain effective international reciprocity agreements, foreign employees may be exempt from paying social security contributions for a given time.


Mario E. Castro Sammartino

[1] The applicant must also submit certain personal documents, such as birth certificates, and foreign and local non-criminal record certificates.

[2] Bolivia, Brasil, Colombia, Chile, Ecuador, Paraguay, Perú, Uruguay, Venezuela, Guyana y Surinam.

[3] According to an international bilateral treaty, Brazil´s citizens may obtain the transformation of the transitory or temporary residences into a permanent residence.

[4]. A permanent residence entitles the foreigner to reside and work in Argentina for an indefinite period.

[5] To conduct any migration procedure, the requesting company must be previously registered with the registry of employers that hire foreigners (Registro Nacional Único de Requirentes de Extranjeros, or RENURE), submitting certain documents and information. Such registration must be annually updated. Lacking a current registration will prevent the company from hiring foreign workers or renewing residences and working visas.

For additional information on these or any other issues related to doing business in Argentina, please, sign up for our Legal Blog or contact us at any time. Our publications exclusively express the author´s opinion and do not purport to be legal counsel on any case. Should you need it, you must consult with your trusted lawyer.


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