Government implements reforms to improve work visa processing

13 May 16

BRAZIL

IMPACT – HIGH

What is the change? A government decree published in the Official Gazette last Wednesday significantly changes work permit procedures under Brazilian immigration law, simplifies application procedures and makes other improvements to reduce the bureaucracy for companies seeking to hire foreign professionals.

What does the change mean? These changes will improve the processing of work visas and bring clarity to certain issues that were not fully addressed previously by the Immigration Law.

  • Implementation timeframe: Immedite.
  • Who is affected: Brazilian companies interested in hiring foreign nationals, all new and renewal applicants forwork visas, tourists applying to change their status to students and others.
  • Impact on processing times: The changes should reduce processing times, especially for Work Contract Visa renewals.
  • Next steps: Additional details are expected to be released in coming weeks and months. Meanwhile, sponsor companies in Brazil and foreigners should be aware of the changes in order to proceed with work visa applications and renewals, and change of migration status.

Key changes contained in Decree 8757 are summarized here:

  • Work Contract Visa renewals. Applications torenew Work Contract Visas will now be submitted electronically directly to the Ministry of Labor, which should significantly reduce overall time frames.
  • Changes of status. Temporary visa holders, such as business and student visa holders, may request to change their status to a Temporary Work Visa by applying directly to the Ministry of Labor. Tourist visa holders may request to change to a student visa by applying directly to the Ministry of Justice.
  • Changes of employment.Work Contract Visa holders who change employers may now submit a request to the Ministry of Labor, which will review and forward it to the Ministry of Justice for a final decision.
  • Temporary Work Visas. Temporary Work Contract Visa holders’ family dependents who are over 16 years old are now allowed to work in Brazil. Temporary Work Visa holders applying to extend their visas may now use the extension protocol to guarantee their legal status in Brazil until the final approval. Company sponsors applying for work contract extensions are no longer required to be responsible for the applicant’s repatriation Additionally, a new Temporary Work Visa subcategory will be introduced for individuals engaged in research, development and innovation projects granted by a sponsor organization.
  • Strategic professionals. A new work visa category will be established for foreigners deemed to be strategic professionals by the National Immigration Council. The Council will establish simplified procedures for applications in this category, whereby the Ministry of Labor may provisionally approve the work visa before the sponsor and employee have signed a work contract, on the condition that a signed work contract is submitted within six months of the employee’s arrival in Brazil.
  • Digital systems. The Federal Courts will issue naturalization certificates electronically to successful citizenship applicants, and the Federal Police Department will implement a digital system for foreigners to notify authorities of address changes.

BAL Analysis: The decree is a welcome development and provides a number of improvements that should streamline procedures, reduce processing times, and provide greater flexibility to Brazilian employers seeking to sponsor or retain foreign workers. BAL is following these developments and will report additional information as it becomes available.

This alert has been provided by the BAL Global Practice group in Brazil. For additional information, please contact brazil@balglobal.com.

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