The covid-19 pandemic has forced many companies to keep their employees working remotely. In response to this, several countries, including Brazil, have created a "digital nomad" visa to allow people to work in a different country to their employer.
At the beginning of 2022, the National Immigration Council published a new immigration resolution that established the conditions for immigrants who wish to work remotely for a foreign employer and without having an employment relationship in Brazil. Such people are also known as "digital nomads".
The resolution defines a "digital nomad" as an immigrant who uses information and communication technologies to perform their daily work activities remotely for a foreigner employer.
In order to apply for this type of visa, the individual must present several documents, such as their health insurance and documents that prove their status as a "digital nomad". The immigrant's initial period of residence will be up to one year.
It is also possible to request a residence authorisation of up to one year for immigrants who are already in Brazil. This authorisation is renewable for an equal period and requires additional documents to be submitted to the immigration authorities.
Tax residency issues may arise in this regard. If the immigrant stays in Brazil for more than 183 days in a 12-month period (or even intends to exceed this period by requesting a one-year residence authorisation), they will have to pay taxes in Brazil as if they were Brazilian resident. This also applies to those on digital nomad visas.
From the employer side, there are issues and questions on:
- exchange rates;
- applicable benefits; and
- union matters.
In Brazil, the legislation on remote working is constantly changing. Recently, a provisional measure was published and set out that, as a rule, employment law on remote working applies to employees hired in Brazil who opt to work remotely outside the country.
However, these changes are being made through provisional measures, which are valid for 60 days and renewable for another 60 days. If this provisional measure is not converted into law after these 120 days, it will lose its validity. Therefore, the issue remains unstable.
Further, there has been an increase in covid-19 vaccines distribution and uptake, tourism is expanding again, and employers are starting to make decisions from a post-pandemic perspective. It is unclear, therefore, whether this new type of visa is an opportunity for employees to work while living and travelling wherever they wish or a high-cost visa for employers who ask their employees to return to work in person.
While the remote workforce has increased significantly over the last years, only some groups of workers and employees with specific types of jobs have actually been able to adopt a digital nomad lifestyle.
For further information on this topic please contact Maury Lobo or Isadora Varella at CGM Advogados by telephone (+55 11 2394 8900) or email ([email protected] or [email protected]). The CGM Advogados website can be accessed at cgmlaw.com.br.