What are the main work and business permit categories used by companies to transfer skilled staff?
The main immigration permission categories are:
- business visa;
- temporary working visa under a local labour relationship;
- 90-day temporary technical visa;
- one-year temporary technical visa;
- permanent working visa for individual foreign investors;
- permanent working visa for executive officers or directors; and
- professional exchange visa.
What are the procedures for obtaining these permissions? At what stage can work begin?
After gathering all necessary documents to apply for the most suitable working visa, the corresponding visa application is submitted to the Immigration Department of the Brazilian Ministry of Labour and Employment, which takes about 30 to 45 days to grant or deny the request, or even require additional information or documentation, under its sole discretion. The foreigner is only allowed to start working after entering Brazil with the corresponding working visa.Period of stay
What are the general maximum (and minimum) periods of stay granted under the main categories for company transfers?
There are no minimum periods of stay under any Brazilian visa category. The maximum periods of validity of the main Brazilian visa categories are:
- temporary working visa under a local labour relationship: two years, after which conversion to a permanent working visa may be required;
- 90-day temporary technical visa: 90 days, not renewable;
- one-year temporary technical visa: one year, renewable for another period of one year;
- permanent working visa for individual foreign investors: the duration of this work permit’s validity is three years and the foreigners’ identity card (RNE) can be renewed at the end of such a period;
- permanent working visa for executive officers or directors: granted for five years and the RNE can be renewed at the end of such a period; and
- professional exchange visa: one year, not renewable.
How long does it typically take to process the main categories?
Applications for the main Brazilian visa categories take from 30 to 45 days to be analysed by the Brazilian Ministry of Labour and Employment.
Requests for visa extensions and conversion of temporary visas into permanent visas usually take from 12 to 18 months to be analysed by the Brazilian Ministry of Justice and the Ministry of Labour and Employment.
As the 90-day temporary technical visa is applied for at the corresponding Brazilian consulate abroad, the time frame for the issuance of the visa will depend on each consulate.Staff benefits
Is it necessary to obtain any benefits or facilities for staff to secure a work permit?
No. Such benefits may be defined by the Brazilian company according to its internal policies and market practices. However, when applying for a work permit, the Brazilian company must provide information about the remuneration and the benefits that the foreign employee will receive in Brazil.Assessment criteria
Do the immigration authorities follow objective criteria, or do they exercise discretion according to subjective criteria?
The Brazilian immigration authorities follow objective criteria established by the Brazilian Immigration Law. Nevertheless, such authorities are allowed a certain degree of discretion in concrete cases.
With regard to complicated cases, it is possible to submit, along with the officially required documents, other documents or a petition explaining any exceptional situation to the Brazilian immigration authorities.High net worth individuals and investors
Is there a special route for high net worth individuals or investors?
The Brazilian Immigration Law sets forth a specific type of visa for foreign nationals who intend to invest in Brazil: the permanent working visa for individual foreign investors.
This visa is applicable for a foreign national who wishes to invest his or her own funds in a productive activity in Brazil. For the application of this type of permanent working visa, the foreign national shall directly invest into a Brazilian company the minimum amount of 500,000 reais, or the equivalent in any foreign currency.
Exceptionally, the National Immigration Council may authorise, under certain specific and discretionary conditions, the granting of a permanent working visa for a foreign national whose amount of investment is lower than the above-mentioned 500,000 reais, but higher than 150,000 reais, or the equivalent in any foreign currency. According to the Brazilian Immigration Law, ‘the investment must result in an increase in the employment and income in Brazil, as well as in the productivity, through the assimilation of technology and fundraising for specific sectors’.
Is there a special route (including fast track) for high net worth individuals for a residence permission route into your jurisdiction?
No, there is no special route for high net worth individuals for residence visas. As discussed in question 16, the permanent working visa for individual foreign investors is the only type of visa applicable for a foreigner willing to invest his or her own funds in a Brazilian company. Nevertheless, the type of visa referred to is considered a work visa and follows the standard processing path.Highly skilled individuals
Is there a special route for highly skilled individuals?
On a general basis, there is no special route for highly skilled individuals. The granting of any Brazilian working visa shall always be preceded by the corresponding visa application process, according to the requirements set forth by the Brazilian Immigration Law.
All foreign nationals are supposed to apply for the most suitable visa, according to the criteria established by Brazilian immigration legislation.
However, as per recent alterations to the immigration legislation, the National Immigration Council is allowed to define simplified conditions for the granting of temporary visas in the case of foreigners who have strategic capabilities for Brazil.Ancestry and descent
Is there a special route for foreign nationals based on ancestry or descent?
Please see www.lexology.com/gtdt.Minimum salary
Is there a minimum salary requirement for the main categories for company transfers?
There is a minimum salary requirement for some specific categories. As per Brazilian immigration laws, foreign nationals who hold a temporary or permanent working visa and take part in an intra-company transfer must receive an equal or higher remuneration in Brazil than they received abroad. On the other hand, if the foreign national is hired from the market (not an intra-company transfer), his or her salary must be equal to or higher than the salary paid to a Brazilian employee holding the same position in the Brazilian company.
Additionally, it is important to mention that it is possible for the Brazilian company to choose to split the remuneration to be paid to the foreigner with the company abroad. Nevertheless, for the application for the corresponding temporary or permanent working visas, it is recommendable that the foreigner receives at least 50 per cent of his or her remuneration in Brazil. Also, it is important to emphasise that the total amount to be paid to the foreign national (including the part of the remuneration paid abroad) must be declared to the Brazilian tax authorities.Resident labour market test
Is there a quota system or resident labour market test?
If a Brazilian company wishes to apply for a Brazilian working visa for a certain foreign national, it must justify the hiring of such foreign national by proving that the individual possesses certain skills and knowledge that could not be found in any other potential Brazilian candidate.
Nevertheless, for the purpose of applying for the temporary working visa for a foreign national before the Brazilian immigration authorities, the Brazilian company must provide evidence that at least two-thirds of its workforce is composed of Brazilian employees and that the same proportion is observed in terms of payroll for Brazilian employees.Shortage occupations
Is there a special route for shortage occupations?
Please see www.lexology.com/gtdt.Other eligibility requirements
Are there any other main eligibility requirements to qualify for work permission in your jurisdiction?
There are different eligibility requirements to qualify for work permits in Brazil, depending on the type of visa to be applied for.
With regard to the temporary working visa under an employment relationship, the requirements are the following:
- a minimum of nine years of formal education and two years of professional experience for occupations that do not require a graduate degree;
- a minimum of one year of professional experience and evidence that a bachelor’s degree has been completed; or
- evidence of the conclusion of postgraduate studies with a minimum of 360 hours or a master’s or PhD degree.
With regard to the one-year temporary technical visa, the foreigner must provide evidence of a minimum of three years of professional experience in the same field of practice that will be developed by him or her in Brazil.Third-party contractors
What is the process for third-party contractors to obtain work permission?
Only the Brazilian company where the foreign national will effectively work can apply for the corresponding working visa in the capacity of sponsor. No third party is entitled to apply for a work permit on behalf of other companies.Recognition of foreign qualifications
Is an equivalency assessment or recognition of skills and qualifications required to obtain immigration permission?
Yes, the application for some of the Brazilian working visas requires proof of specific qualifications of the foreign applicant (ie, some years of work experience in the field in which he or she intends to work in Brazil and a minimum degree level), among other requirements, which are analysed on a case-by-case basis, depending on the type of visa that will be applied for.