Brazil’s new immigration law has been clarified by the publication Friday of a dozen normative resolutions implementing it. The resolutions establish various categories and subcategories for immigrants requesting Brazilian residence in order to work, whether they are on local or foreign payrolls.

Key Changes

While the normative resolutions establish categories similar to those covered by the old immigration law, some key changes are as follows:

  • The process has been established for foreign workers who have a labor contract with Brazilian companies to apply for residence authorization. The resolution provides three additional scenarios in which applicants may prove their professional experience or academic background:
    • Technicians – must prove three years of experience.
    • Undergraduate professionals (without a university diploma) – must prove 12 years of regular study plus four years of professional experience.
    • Artists or professionals involved with cultural or similar activities – must prove three years of professional experience.
  • Technical work visas will have a validity of either 180 days or one year and require a residence authorization from the Ministry of Labor before the visas will be granted by the Brazilian Consulate. Visas valid for 180 days should be approved within five days by the ministry and emergency cases should receive approval within two days.
  • “Transfer of Technology” is a new category, separate from the regular technical work visa. This new category covers scenarios in which a foreign national intends to transfer technical knowledge to a local Brazilian employee according a training plan to be presented at the Ministry of Labor. This visa is valid for one year and allows the employee to work at multiple worksites.
  • Government processing fees were significantly increased from 16.93 reals to 168.13 reals (from about US$5 to $51) for all temporary visa applications (residence authorization applications) submitted to the Ministry of Labor.
  • Maritime professionals staying in Brazil for more than 90 days will need a residence authorization granted by the Ministry of Labor.
    • Crew members with a valid professional document (a “Seamen’s Book” in accordance with the International Labor Organization) planning to work in Brazil aboard foreign vessels operating in Brazilian waters do not need to get a residence authorization prior to the visa issuance.
    • In addition, maritime professionals will be allowed to work on different ships simultaneously.
  • Residence renewal criteria and procedures will be detailed in future regulations.

BAL Analysis: The long anticipated normative resolutions implementing Brazil’s new immigration law provide clarity and welcome news on the availability of technical work visas and the new Transfer of Technology category and also give effective legal basis to future work visa applications at the Ministry of Labor which had been interrupted since Nov. 21. BAL will update clients on processing times and procedures as information becomes available in the coming weeks. The situation remains fluid as authorities start to implement the new rules and procedures, but BAL expects that the new normative resolutions will eventually encourage business and international investment in Brazil.

BAL reminds clients that the under the Decree published on November 21, 2017 on the New Immigration Law, the transitional period remains in effect, and all visas granted under the old Immigration Law will maintain their validity until the expiration date. Immigrants with pending work authorization applications at the Ministry of Labor (submitted before Nov. 21) will continue to be processed under the old law.