It is not uncommon to find foreign airlines announcing the intention of hiring Brazilian crews to work abroad.

Brazilian crews, on their side, seem to show interest in working out of Brazil. Having the experience of working for an international airline, the access to a new culture, a new way of life, new challenges, among others, pose a high appeal on professionals with the required high skills to apply to such job.

However, it is advisable to develop and implement proper practices when recruiting, selecting, and hiring Brazilians as crew members to be based abroad.

There is not much discussion around the fact that Brazilian Labor Law mostly applies to employees hired in Brazil and/or transferred to work in foreign countries. Law 7064/82 – applicable to such situation – sets forth all the details to be followed and all the legal basis to support the transference of employees from Brazil to work beyond borders.

Challenges, however, may arise in a scenario in which the foreign airline takes, in Brazil, all the necessary steps for recruiting and pre-selecting Brazilian crew who, afterwards, will travel abroad to have the selection confirmed and the actual hiring perfected away from the Brazilian territory. As a rule, such hirings are made under the grounds of foreign legislation, applicable on the country of hiring in which the airline is based, and where the contracts will be primarily executed.

There are some Precedents from local labor Courts according to which the recruitment and selection of employees within the Brazilian territory attract the Jurisdiction of Brazilian Courts to decide on any dispute arisen from the employment contract entered by and between the foreign company (employer) and the Brazilian Crew (employee), even if the employment contract was signed abroad, and provides a different choice of jurisdiction to resolve disputes.

Also, in some circumstances and depending on the situation, Brazilian Courts (that, as abovementioned, affirm Jurisdiction to rule in such case scenarios) tend to apply Brazilian Labor Law (particularly the Cabin Crew Brazilian Legislation), disregarding all the employment contract conditions agreed by the parties, including the ones concerning to the enforceability of foreign legislation.

In addition to that, Brazilian Courts - when reviewing this type of lawsuits - have been accepting that service of process can be made on the Brazilian local branch (that has never hired such employee), instead of determining the issuance of a Rogatory Letter to complete service of process on the actual employer (headquarters) atthe place of hiring.

Last, but not least, the cultural factor is something that must be carefully evaluated when hiring Brazilian Crews. Certain rules, policies and behaviors accepted in one country – even the ones taken for safety reasons - may be unacceptable under the perspective of a Brazilian Courts, and could eventually trigger compensation for moral damage.

Risks associated with hiring Brazilian Crew can be mitigated. Among other practices, airlines should work to complete recruitment and pre-selection in a quick time-manner. Brazilian candidates should, preferably, live out of Brazil. Handling of documents should also be carefully evaluated. Contracts, requirements and any other documents should be provided and signed overseas.

Even in such context, it is crucial to make sure that any eventual employment contract evolves without any connection with the Brazil v.g., payment of salary is not performed in Brazil; mandatory trainings are not developed in the Brazilian territory, etc. 

Being extremely careful when recruiting, selecting, and hiring a Brazilian Crew is the key factor for foreign airlines to mitigate its exposure and avoid litigations.