Costa Rica’s immigration police on Friday, February 22, began ‘operational actions’ to verify the migratory status of foreigners in the tourist areas, specifically restaurants, who hire foreign staff in ‘irregular condition or without the corresponding documents to work’.

Photo courtesy Direccion General de Migracion y Extranjeria (DGME)

The Friday operations centered on Santa Cruz, Playa Flamingo and Potrero, in the province of Guanacaste, targeting businesses with illegal workers.

The immigration police operation, with the support of the Liberia regional office of the Fuerza Publica (national police), and the collaboration of Interpol officers, inspected 7 businesses, where they verified approximately 33 people, of which 8 people were found to be working illegally.

The foreigners, of Nicaraguan and Italian nationalities, had their passports confiscated and given a summons to appear at the immigration officers for the appropriate procedure.

Photo courtesy Direccion General de Migracion y Extranjeria (DGME)

Also, the owners of the businesses face due process of possible fines.

“These police actions will continue to be implemented at the national level, in order to review the immigration status of foreigners and verify that employers comply with what is established by law and ensure human rights. It is important to remember that any foreign person who wishes to work must request a migration category (permit) that allows them, and the business has an obligation to verify that his/her employee is in a regular migration condition (legal to work in the country),” explained Stephen Madden, Deputy Director of the immigration police.

Working illegal in Costa Rica – that is taking a job without having legal residency or permit to work  – has consequences both for the foreign national and the employer.