Immigrants face slightly more opportunities than obstacles for societal integration in Chile, which scores 53 on the 100-point MIPEX scale (MIPEX 56 average scor eis 49). Chile’s integration policies are similar to other Latin American countries but less advanced than in Argentina and Brazil.
Chile’s approach to integration is classified by MIPEX as ‘equality on paper’ only. Immigrants in Chile enjoy basic rights and half-way favourable long-term security, but they do not enjoy equal opportunities. Although immigrants in Chile enjoy overall halfway favourable policies, major obstacles emerge for immigrants in the labour market, education and political participation.
A country’s approach to integration matters because policies influence whether or not integration works as a two-way process. The way that governments treat immigrants strongly influences how well immigrants and the public interact and think of each other. Drawing on 130 independent scientific studies using MIPEX, integration policies emerge as one of the strongest factors shaping not only the public’s willingness to accept and interact with immigrants, but also immigrants’ own attitudes, belonging, participation and even health in their new home country.
Chile’s current policies encourage the public to see immigrants as equals. Internationally, the ‘Top Ten’ MIPEX countries treat immigrants not only as equals, but also as neighbours and potential citizens, and invest in integration as a two-way process for society.
- Labour market mobility: Slightly unfavourable: Immigrants face several restrictions to enter the labour market and receive little general or targeted support to improve their skills and job prospects.
- Family reunification: Halfway favourable: Sponsors who can cover the costs of their family can immediately apply to reunite, but face uncertainty due to the highly discretionary process and their family’s insecure status, with no right to autonomous residence permit.
- Education: Unfavourable: Immigrants face major obstacles and little-to-no support in the education system. Well-developed targeted policies help all pupils to feel safe and at home at school and help vulnerable groups to achieve and progress into higher education.
- Health: Slightly favourable: Chile stands out positively compared to other Latin America countries by providing immigrant patients with health information, support and almost the same healthcare entitlements as national citizens support to access it.
- Political participation: Slightly Unfavourable: Although foreign citizens in Chile can vote in local elections and join political parties after 5 years, they are not systematically informed, consulted or supported by government.
- Permanent residence: Slightly favourable: Ranking in the top 10, immigrants with sufficient income from work can become permanent residents afteronly two years, although their status can be withdrawn if they leave the country for a year or more.
- Access to nationality: Halfway favourable: While Chilean-born children automatically become citizens, the path to naturalisation for their foreign-born parents is relatively favourable for naturalisation, except for the renunciation requirement. Chile has yet to follow international reform trends to full embrace dual nationality for naturalising immigrants, unlike most other MIPEX countries.
- Anti-discrimination: Favourable: Chile’s strongest area, lacking only positive actions towards immigrants in their National Human Rights Plan. Immigrants in Chile are protected and supported in cases of discrimination based on race/ethnicity, religion and nationality.