Immigration seeks comments on new regulations

Proposed regulations that supplement the new immigration law have been posted to the La Gaceta Web site, and everyone is being invited to submit comments, said the Dirección General de Migración y Extranjería.

This is yet another twist in the often-delayed procedure. Casa Presidencial said two weeks ago that the regulations would be studied and signed by President Laura Chinchilla.

It turns out that officials are citing a section of administration law that requires seeking public opinions. Comments can come from individuals or institutions, said the immigration department. But the deadline is Feb. 10.

Those who wish to comment on the regulations can e-mail opinions or comments to this immigration address:

The immigration agency said it would not accept anonymous comments and asked that those who comment specify which article or section is related to their submission.

The regulations are being carried only on the Web page of the La Gaceta official newspaper under an agreement reached this month between the Imprenta Nacional, which puts out the official daily, and the legislature. The idea is to save money by not publishing to paper.

Unfortunately, the La Gaceta Web site appeared to have trouble over the weekend and the material was not available. Many governmental Web sites are not fully in service outside of business hours.

Expats have been anxious to see the regulations,
which cover the day-to-day activities of  immigration workers. Among the concerns of some expats is the treatment that will be afforded to so-called perpetual tourists, those who live in Costa Rica but decline to seek official residency.

The new immigration law also created a number of different categories for visitors, and this will reduce the numbers of persons who are listed as tourists. Until now, most persons who entered the country as sports figures, business people or similar came in as tourists. Now there are categories for these types of visitors.

Mario Zamora, who moved from immigration directory to vice minister supervising the agency, also has made some comments that concerned expats. Their concerns will either be reinforced or mitigated by the texts of the regulations.

Although it has been nearly a year since the law went into force, the immigration legal department has been working full time on the regulations. The previous immigration law passed during the Abel Pacheco presidency came into effect and was superseded without regulations associated with it ever being published.

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