Immigration LawThe Practice of Regulated Professions by Foreign Workers

By: Rodrigo Tannus Serrano

For the areas of human resources in Colombia, nowadays, is more common to handle the employment of foreign workers, which is why it has become indispensable to know the requirements in order for these workers to be legally employed, not only from the perspective of labor and social security, but also from the migratory perspective. Under the immigration regulations the following, among others, must be taken into account: the visa, the registration of the visa, the Foreigner ID card, notifications in SIRE and RUTEC as well as permits to perform regulated professions, which in some cases are not taken into account.


Regulated Professions

The regulation of the practice of professions in Colombia is based on the Political Constitution, which establishes that the law may require qualifications, as well as the competence for the authorities to inspect and monitor the practice of different professions. By virtue of the above and with the aim of protecting society in general, authorizations issued either by the respective Professional Board regulating the profession and, depending on the case, by the Ministry of Education are required.

Before 2013, it was necessary to obtain the respective permit, upon application for the visa, because it was one of the mandatory requirements for the application of the visa. Currently, the permit is not a required document for the visa application.


Temporary professional permit

The temporary professional permit is one of the alternatives for some foreign workers who will practice a regulated profession in Colombia. With this permit the person can temporarily exercise their profession, upon presentation of some requirements such as the bachelor’s degree obtained abroad, which must be duly apostilled or legalized. These requirements are established by the Professional Board, who in the end will study and issue or not, the corresponding permit.

Some of the professional Boards are the National Engineering Professional Board (COPNIA), Colombian Association of Engineers (ACIEM), Professional Board of Chemistry (CPQ), and the National Professional Board of Economy (CONALPE).


Validation of professional degree

The validation is a process carried out before the Ministry of National Education to seek recognition in Colombia of professional qualifications obtained abroad.


Professional Permanent License

It is the authorization whereby the professionals, national or foreign, certify their suitability before the competent Professional Board of their academic education. In the case of foreigners, the validation of the professional title must be processed beforehand, since the resolution of validation will be one of the documents to be filed. The validity of the professional license is permanent.

I consider that this is one of the most sensitive issues within the Colombian migration process due to the processing times and requirements for the approval of the permits described above. I invite you to take the necessary measures to have control of the visa, of the foreigner identity card, of the notifications and especially in those cases in which the permit for the exercise of regulated profession applies; failure to do so sanctions may apply for the companies that employ foreign nationals without the full legal requirements, as well as for the foreign workers themselves.

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