Significant Changes Made to Brazil’s Work Visa Procedures

By Sanjee R. Weliwitigoda Jun 6, 2013

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 recently published Normative Resolutions 100, 103 and 104.

While highlighting a specific lack of qualified workers in Brazil—in fields such as engineering, oil and gas, and systems analysis—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 skilled foreigners to make it easier for them to enter the country.

Changes to 90-Day Technical Visa Procedures

Under Normative Resolution 100 (NR 100), which went into effect 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 who are not employed by a Brazilian company and are entering Brazil to assist in an emergency or to provide technological-transfer or other technical assistance.

Under NR 100, these visas cannot be extended in Brazil—they are granted once within a 180-day period. The visa holder must complete a residence-registration process with the federal police within the first 30 days of arriving in the country.

Creation of New ‘Summer Job’ Work Visa

Effective May 21, 2013, under Normative Resolution 103 (NR 103), a new temporary work visa category was established for foreign students who wish to work in Brazil over summer vacation. To be eligible for this new temporary visa, the foreign student must be enrolled in a graduate or postgraduate program that requires at least 360 hours of instruction, plus have a full- or part-time work contract with a Brazilian company. This visa is valid for up to 90 days and cannot be extended or turned into a permanent visa.

Streamlined Work Visa Procedures

Normative Resolution 104 (NR 104), which went into effect May 21, 2013, alters Brazilian work-visa procedures to greatly simplify the work-visa application process. The most significant changes include:

  • Electronic application filing: The MOL will accept work authorization applications filed electronically, though this streamlined procedure has not yet been officially launched. Previously, applications had to be submitted in person.
  • 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 no longer has 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 may approve applications before receiving the legalizations and translations, if the relevant party fails to provide them within 60 days, the ministry will automatically deny the application.
  • Elimination of signature-notarization requirement: Original signatures and Brazilian notarizations will no longer be necessary 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 worker. Separate cancellation requests are no longer required.

Although 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 further guidance on how these changes will be implemented.

Sanjee Weliwitigoda is an associate in Faegre Baker Daniels’ labor and employment group, where he concentrates on global mobility and U.S. immigration matters.

© 2013 Faegre Baker Daniels. All rights reserved. Republished with permission.

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