It is a well-known fact that Colombia is a country with a strong economy and is considered to be one of the safest investments within Latin America. The nation gets more international fame among both local and international entrepreneurs because of its increasing economic growth, attractive business climate and range of commercial opportunities. Additionally, commercial activity and trade levels in Colombia have considerably increased thanks to a vast network of free trade agreements and its strategic geographic location, with access to both the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans. The overall economy of Colombia today benefits from various natural and agricultural resources, ranging from cattle and coffee to oil and emeralds, as well as an exploding tourism industry, which continues to grow year-on-year. These features make Colombia a great and thriving destination for international expansion and investment.
However, many business owners face challenges while trying to navigate the local labour laws of Colombia. One of the most challenging jobs is engaging and hiring local staff lawfully, which can be a huge headache for those without a comprehensive knowledge of the Colombia labour market and/or employment law. Working with a PEO provider in Colombia is a great method of expansion for companies who are new to market and have a limited understanding of employment law and regulationin Colombia. It is always important to consider the different methods that companies can engage and hire staff in a foreign country such as Colombia.
A Professional Employer Organization (PEO), also known as a ‘employer of record’ is a company that brings the required tools to support companies with their market entry. It allows companies tofind, engage andhire local employees with having a local company. Companies work with PEO service providers to engage in commercial activity without the hassle of forming and maintaining a local legal entity, which can often be expensive, time consuming and complicated.
Reasons to work with PEO Service Provider
The reasons to work with a PEO service provider will vary from one employer to another. PEOs can handle the various administrative and HR headaches of employing local staff. The PEO provider will ensure full legal compliance. Today, many SMEs are choosing to work with a local PEO provider given the range of benefits that come with this type of commercial relationship. Some PEO services include, but are not limited to the following:
- PEO solutionsfree up your valuable time and resources, allowing you toconcentrate on other important business tasks.
- Once a contract is successfully signed between a PEO and your business, it will distribute a segment of the legal responsibilities to the PEO, freeing you from unnecessary legal burden.
- The PEO has the responsibility of handling tax filing, payroll administration, provision of advantages,in addition to offering solutions relating to other HR functions.
- The only responsibility of your company is to continue with your daily business operations and to manage and direct the employees properly.
Things to know about staff selection
The labour market in Colombia is fully regulated, has a large and skilled worker pool and is dedicated to protecting the rights of employees. If you are an employer, you need to meet various legislative requirements according to Colombia law.In fact, compliance with the Colombian employment and lab our regulations is both time-consuming and costly, all the more reason to work with a qualified PEO provider in Colombia.
- Employment Contracts
The employment contracts in Colombia are classified into 4 types including short-term, fixed term, undefined length, and for a particular task. The duration and type of employment contract will vary from one employee to the next, affording you flexibility to best meet your needs.
- Foreign Workers
These individuals are subject to the same rules and regulations as Colombian workers. They must come with an official written employment contract from their employer and also have to have the appropriate working visa.
By law, the maximum number of hours an employee can work in Colombia is forty-eight hours (48) per week. This can be spread out between Monday to Friday or Monday to Saturday. Working hours can be flexible, but must be between 06:00 and 22:00 local time.
- Vacation Time
All local employees have the right to 15 days of paid holiday per year, half of which can be exchanged for pay with permission from the Ministry of Social Protection and Health.
- Minimum Wage
The minimum wage is negotiated yearly between the government and local trade unions. In 2018, the minimum monthly wage was COP $781,242 (approximately USD $260).
- Pensions and social security
The contribution is 15% of the monthly salary. Employers contribute three quarters of the payments and the employee covers the remaining quarter.
- Maternity and Paternity leave
All women are entitled to 12 weeks of maternity leave, which can be started 2 weeks before the birth of the child. The cost is covered by the Social Security System and can also be used in the case of adoption (for a child younger than seven years old). This also applies for a single father who adopts a child. It should be noted that it is illegal to fire a woman due to a pregnancy in Colombia.Fathers are afforded 4 days of paid leave if he is contributing to the Social Security System. If both parents are contributing to Social Security, then the father is entitled to 8 days of paid leave. In either case, the father must have contributed more than 100 weeks to Social Security System.
Employers are required to pay 12.5% of their staff’s salaries to a healthcare security fund.
For companies expanding to Colombia or looking to hire Colombian employees, working with a qualified PEO provider can be a great option. It helps mitigate much of the legal burden associated with employing foreign employees, and supports a more efficient route to market for a growing global company. It also frees up much of your valuable time allowing you to focus on what is important to you and your business.
Frequently Asked Question- Sole Rep Visa
Keywords: Sole Representative Visa, Representative of an Overseas Business Visa, Sole Representative Visa Guidance, documents required for sole representative visa, overseas representative visa, Sole representative visa UK extension
Q1. What is a Sole Rep Visa?
Ans. The Representative of an overseas business route also known as Sole Representative of an overseas business is an immigration route particularly designed for individuals who either are looking to establish a wholly-owned subsidiary or register a branch for an overseas parent company. This route is necessary for individuals who have been posted on a long-term assignment to the UK by their employers as an overseas worker.
A major consideration with Sole Representative Visa is that the sole rep must be recruited outside the UK by the overseas company whose headquarters and principal place of business is not in the UK.
Q2. What are representative of an overseas business eligibility criteria/requirements?
- The prospective sole rep must be able to demonstrate extensive industry-related experience and knowledge.
- The prospective representative of an overseas business must be recruited and employed outside the UK whose principal place of business is outside the UK. The company must have no subsidiary, branch, or other representatives in the UK.
- The applicant must hold a senior position with the overseas company and have full authority to take operational decisions on the company’s decisions.
- The applicant must intend to establish a company’s commercial presence in the UK.
- The applicant must not accept any kind of employment in the UK except for the Overseas Company.
- The prospective sole rep must meet the maintenance requirement.
- The applicant must meet the English language requirement.
Q3. What documents are needed for Representative of an overseas business Visa?
Ans. The applicant must provide the following documents:
- A current passport or valid travel identification.
- Evidence demonstrating the financial ability of themselves and dependents, for instance, bank statements or payslips for the last 6 months.
- Details of accommodating during the stay in the UK.
- Evidence demonstrating the English requirements by passing an approved English Language Test with CEFR level A1 in speaking and listening or an academic qualification recognized by UK NARIC as equivalent to UK’s Bachelor degree or master’s degree or Ph.D.
- Applicant’s tuberculosis test results.
- A certified translation includes passports, a photocard driving license, a letter from a government department, a credit card statement, council tax bills, or letters from a hospital signed and dated by a professional person.
Sole Representatives must also provide
- A detailed description of the business’s activities.
- A letter confirming the overseas business intending to establish a wholly-owned subsidiary or register a branch in the UK with the same activity as it runs in the overseas.
- Job description, salary details, and employment contract.
- A letter confirming the applicant’s familiarity with the business and authority to take the operational decision.
- Evidence to prove that they are directly employed by the business.
- Evidence to demonstrate that he or she is recruited outside the UK
- Evidence of senior position in the business with the authority to make a decision on the company’s behalf.
- Evidence to certify that the sole rep will be working full time for the company for the duration of stay without carrying out any other work.
- Evidence that he or she does not control a majority of the overseas majority.
Q4. Is it possible to extend the Sole Representative Visa?
Ans. Yes, however, a sole rep needs to comply with Sole Representative Visa Guidance.
- A sole rep is in the UK with valid entry clearance as a sole representative of an overseas business.
- The company’s headquarter and principal place of business continues to be outside the UK.
- A sole rep is still actively involved full time as the Sole Representative of an overseas business
- The employer must certify that the individual is still needed for the job.
- A sole rep is capable enough to meet the maintenance and accommodation requirements.
Q5. How does an immigration solicitor help in obtaining a Sole Rep Visa?
Ans. An immigration solicitor provides advice on legal requirements as well as make sure that the client is compliant with the immigration rules. They are capable to deal with a wide variety of business immigration matters with varying degrees of complexities.