Currently, the legislative initiative denominated “Law to Attract Remote Workers and Providers of International Services” is within the legislative stream at Congress. The project aims to position Costa Rica as a tourist-friendly destination for teleworking.
It aims to modify the General Law on Migration and Foreign Affairs, in order to include, within the category of migration of non-resident, the subcategory of legal permanency as “Worker or Remote Service Provider”, which focuses specifically on those foreign workers who work remotely for their companies, and can do so from Costa Rica, under the legal framework.
The project defines “Worker or Remote Service Provider” as follows: “(…) foreign person providing paid services remotely, subordinately or not, using computer, telecommunications or similar means, in favor of a natural or legal person abroad, so he receives payment or remuneration from abroad (…)” which in commonly known as a teleworker.
What is the migratory subcategory that is intended to create?
It is a legal permanency category, focused specifically on teleworkers, which implies that the applicant shall not necessarily receive his remuneration directly in Costa Rica, nor will he be able to work or carry out paid activities in the country.
As it is a permanency category, it would be granted for up to a renewable period of one year for an equal period, if the elements and requirements that gave rise to the immigration status are maintained, which will also be confirmed and established by means of regulations.
The request for permanency as remote worker or service provider may be requested by the worker directly or for him and his direct family, this being understood as a marriage (or union in fact) and children.
What additional benefits would the new immigration subcategory provide?
1. Total exemption from income tax for the applicant.
2. Exemption from payment of all taxes on the import of equipment, instruments, tools or computer, telecommunications, or similar means, necessary to carry out its tasks or the provision of its services provided that the need for such equipment is justified for the correct performance of the functions that gave rise to the migration category.
3. Validity in Costa Rica of the foreign driver’s license of the beneficiary of the immigration category, without the need to apply for a national driver’s license.
4. Possibility of opening bank accounts in the national banking system.
5. The beneficiary of the immigration status must not constantly leave the country to remain legal in the territory.
What are the requirements to request this immigration subcategory?
1. Proof of income for at least US $3,000 or US $4,000, if the stay request is made as a family center.
2. Proof of international health insurance.
3. Proof of payment of official fees.
4. Any other requirements established by regulation, what makes us assume will be the same requirements previously established for the current stay subcategory.
5. The bill points out that the requirements for the family nucleus will also be determined by regulation.
The deadlines set out in the initiative are estimated to be short along the proceedings, which presuppose an expedited resolution of applications.
The intention of the bill is clear, to attract foreign investment and reactivate the tourism sector, allowing teleworkers to carry out their work activities from anywhere in the national territory and under legal immigration conditions.
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