In response to industry demands calling for more qualified foreign workers to fill gaps in the Brazilian labor market, the Brazilian Ministry of Labor’s National Immigration Council (CNIg) recently published Normative Resolutions 100, 103 and 104. While highlighting a specific lack of qualified workers in Brazil - in positions such as engineering, oil and gas experts, and systems analysts - Brazil’s Minister of Labor and Employment, Manoel Dias, reassured the country that foreigners will not take Brazilian jobs as a result of these efforts and that the real purpose of these resolutions is to streamline the procedures for issuing work permits to foreigners in order to make the entry of skilled labor into the country much easier.

Changes to 90-Day Technical Visa Procedures (Normative Resolution 100)

Under Normative Resolution 100 (NR 100), which went into effect on May 9, 2013, applications for 90-day Technical Visas will be adjudicated by Brazilian consulates abroad. Previously, under Normative Resolution 61, Brazilian host companies were required to file a work permit application with the Ministry of Labor (MOL) and wait 30-45 days until the MOL authorized the Brazilian consulate to issue the visa. NR 100 eliminates the MOL pre-approval process, allowing applicants for 90-day Technical Visas to file their applications directly with the Brazilian consulate that has jurisdiction over their country of citizenship or place of legal residence.

The 90-day Technical Visa is reserved for foreign workers that are not employed by a Brazilian company and are entering Brazil to render assistance during an emergency or for technological transfer or technical assistance purposes.

Under NR 100, 90-day Technical Visas will not be extendable in Brazil. They are granted once within a 180-day period. The 90-day Technical Visa holder must complete a residence registration process with the local Federal Police within the first 30 days of arrival in Brazil.

Creation of New “Summer Job” Work Visa (Normative Resolution 103)

Effective May 21, 2013, Normative Resolution 103 (NR 103) introduces a new temporary work visa category for foreign students interested in working in Brazil on a short-term basis over summer vacation. To be eligible for this new “summer job” visa, the foreign national must demonstrate enrollment in a graduate or post-graduate level program that requires at least 360 hours of instruction, plus a full- or part-time work contract with a Brazilian company. The “summer job” visa will be valid for up to 90 days and cannot be extended or transferred to a permanent visa.

Streamlined Work Visa Procedures (Normative Resolution 104)

The purpose of Normative Resolution 104 (NR 104), which went into effect on May 21, 2013, is to alter various aspects of Brazilian work visa procedures to significantly simplify the work visa application process. The most significant changes include:

  • Electronic application filing - The MOL will accept work authorization applications filed electronically. This new streamlined electronic procedure, which has not yet been officially launched, is in sharp contrast to the prior in-person submission requirement.
  • Electronic cancellation - Companies that need to cancel a foreign worker’s visa will have the ability to do so electronically through the MOL. The foreign worker, employer or authorized representative is no longer required to submit the cancellation request in person. Work authorization cancellations will no longer be published in the Brazilian Diario Oficial (Official Gazette).
  • Easing of legalization and translation requirements - Non-Brazilian documents, such as university diplomas and employment verification letters, may now be submitted (as part of the work visa application) to the MOL before the legalizations and translations have been obtained. However, the legalizations and translations must still be submitted to the MOL within 60 days of filing the application. Although the MOL has the authorization to approve applications without having yet received the legalizations and translations, failure to provide the legalizations and translations within the 60-day timeframe will lead to automatic denial of the application.
  • Elimination of signature notarization requirement - Original signatures and Brazilian notarizations will no longer be required on application documents (simple copies will now be accepted), unless specifically required by law.
  • Automatic cancellation of prior work authorizations - The MOL will automatically cancel a foreign worker’s visa, if a new work authorization request is submitted and approved for the same foreign worker. Separate cancellation requests are no longer required.

While NRs 100, 103 and 104 demonstrate the Brazilian government’s strong interest in attracting high skilled foreign labor by streamlining work visa application procedures and creating a new work visa for graduate students, the MOL has not yet issued any further guidance on how these changes will eventually be implemented.