It has been one year since the Organic Law of Human Mobility came into force and effect in Ecuador, and it is important to understand and distinguish the changes that have been made in this compilation of all the different laws on this subject, which have allowed more flexibility in the obtaining of different migration conditions, granting benefits, acknowledging the rights of the immigrants, and fulfilling its main objective, which is to not discriminate or consider any human being as illegal because of his migratory condition.

The Organic Law of Human Mobility (hereinafter, the Law), consists of all the rules about human mobility, which were dispersed in different laws and regulations. Likewise, it regulates the entry of foreigners in the country, changing the migratory conditions and categories, the types of visas, and their duration. It also guaranties the foreigners' rights to work and healthcare. 

The Law was published on 6 February 2017 in the Supplement of the Official Registry No. 938, repealing all the laws in force since the year 1976. The main changes brought by this Law are:

  1. It changed the migratory condition of foreign persons to transit or reside in the country. - Currently there are two types of migratory conditions: the first condition is the condition of Temporary Visitors, which is divided into three migratory conditions; and the second condition is the condition of Residents, which is divided into Temporary Residents or Permanent Residents, which are as well subdivided into thirteen migratory conditions. 
  2. Provided several types of visas. - These are the types of visas that can be applied to: temporary resident visa, temporary resident visa with exception, permanent resident visa, diplomatic visa, humanitarian visa, tourist visa, special tourism visa, and convention visa.
  3. It extended the duration of the visas. – The law extends the terms including visas with indefinite term and others with a duration of 2 years. Now, even for tourist, there is the option to extend their stay of 90 days to 90 additional days.
  4. It guaranties the right to work. - Every person that has a residence in the Ecuadorian territory, either with a temporary residency or permanent residency status, has the right to work.
  5. It eliminates the limit of labor inclusion of foreigners. – the percentage limit of foreign workers that an Ecuadorian company may have in its payroll is eliminated. Before this change, the law distributed the percentage as follows: 80% of the workers had to be Ecuadorian and 20% of the workers could be foreign, at the most.
  6. Obligation to have a health insurance. - The Law provides the obligation to foreign persons to have a public or private health insurance during their stay in Ecuador, except for those considered in "need of international protection". This obligation will be in force and effect starting on 1 May 2018, pursuant to the Executive Decree No. 310 of 31 January 2018.
  7. Right to request a migratory condition and receive an identification. -  The Law provides the right to request a migratory condition pursuant to the Law and its Regulation and, once the resident migratory condition has been granted, the foreign person shall receive an identification.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.