The State of Chile has been faced with immigration policy decisions since the beginning of its history as a Republic. At first, the intention was to promote the colonization and settlement in uninhabited territories, and to attract skilled labor.
In 1872 the first immigration institution was established: the Oficina General de Inmigración, whose purpose was to promote foreign colonization. This institution was succeeded in 1889 by the Servicio de Tierras y Colonización, which had very similar functions; and in 1920 it became the Subsecretaría de Tierras y Colonización.
In 1953, the Departamento de Inmigración was established by decree as part of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, with new functions besides supervising foreign colonization, thus including policies that sought to attract mining, agricultural and specialized labor.
In the following government, in 1960, the institution was renamed as the Departamento de Extranjería, and was already under the Ministry of the Interior. With the arrival of the military dictatorship, through Decree Law No. 1.094, it was changed to the Departamento de Extranjería y Migración (DEM), still part of the Ministry of the Interior.
What is the Servicio Nacional de Migraciones?
In April 2021, Law No. 21.325 of Migración y Extranjería was enacted, which establishes a new immigration regulation and replaces the DEM, establishing in its Title XIV of the Migration Institutionality the creation of the Servicio Nacional de Migraciones (SERMIG), a decentralized public service, with its own legal personality and assets, subject to the supervision of the President of the Republic through the Ministry of the Interior and Public Security.
SERMIG’s mission is to execute the Política Nacional Migratoria, guaranteeing informed, safe, orderly, and regular migration processes, with a focus on gender and human rights, promoting dignified treatment and the rights and duties of migrants, and ensuring proper compliance with immigration legislation.
Strategic Objectives 2023
- Providing technical assistance and resources necessary to conduct the process of the Política Nacional Migratoria.
- Resolving immigration applications on the basis of the regulations in force, efficiently and effectively streamlining the processes.
- Elaborating and developing programs aimed at disseminating and promoting the rights and obligations of foreigners, with special emphasis on priority populations.
- Applying the corresponding administrative sanctions to those who violate the regulations in force.
- Implementing the new institutional framework of the SERMIG, ensuring the decentralization of its actions, plans and programs, in conjunction with the Direcciones Regionales (Regional Directorates), complying with the legislation in force.
- Keeping and managing the Registro Nacional de Extranjeros, ensuring its continuous improvement in accordance with the current immigration regulations.
- Incorporating the gender approach at the institutional level in all the management of the Service.