There are some important considerations for both Brazilian employers and foreign-national employees that wish to work in Brazil. Understanding how a Brazilian company can effectively sponsor an individual worker is not easy to navigate. In this article we address some of the most important aspects of the employer sponsorship process in Brazil.
Obtaining an Advance Residence Authorisation
Except in the case of a visitor’s visa, for all work-related visas it is necessary to obtain an advance residence authorisation from CGIL in Brazil; residence permit applications are also assessed directly by CGIL, now under the purview of the Ministry of Justice and Public Security. The timescale for approval and publication in the Official Gazette of an advance residence authorisation for the issuance of a temporary visa or granting of a residence permit in Brazil is 30 calendar days. In the event of a refusal, it is possible to file an appeal.
After approval and publication of the advance residence authorisation for the temporary visa, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs sends, within approximately five business days, an authorisation for the consulate to process the visa application. The timescale for the granting of the visa varies, depending on the workload of the consulate, from three business days to two months. Upon arrival in Brazil, the visa holder has 90 days to register with the Federal Police.
Obtaining a Residence Permit Authorisation (for those who are already in Brazil)
In the case of those applying for a residence permit authorisation (i.e., those doing so while already in Brazil), upon approval and publication of the residence permit authorisation, the foreign national has 30 days from the date of publication to register with the Federal Police. CNIg NRs stipulate the requirements for the granting of advance residence authorisations for the issuance of temporary visas and for residence permits. The most common work visas and residence permits are as follows.
Officers’ Work Visas and Residence Permits for Brazil
Officers’ work visas and residence permits are appropriate for foreign administrators, managers, officers, directors and executives with managerial powers who come to Brazil as representatives of companies, commercial groups or economic conglomerates.
The company that intends to appoint a foreign national to a managerial position must prove an investment equal to or higher than the equivalent, in foreign currency, of 600,000 reais for each appointed foreign manager, or an investment equal to or higher than the equivalent, in foreign currency, of 150,000 reais, for each appointed foreign manager, and generate a minimum of 10 new jobs during the first two years after the establishment of the firm or the arrival of the foreign national.
Although the residence permit is for an indefinite term, the migrant’s CRNM will be valid for up to nine years. Migrants will only be able to renew the identity card if they continue to exercise the function in the designated company for which the visa or residence permit was approved.
Work Visas and Residence Permits Based on Employment Contracts
Under NR No. 2/17, Brazilian companies may require an advance residence authorisation for the issuance of a temporary visa or a residence permit under an employment contract if two-thirds of the employees of the Brazilian company are Brazilian citizens and two-thirds of the total of the company’s payroll is paid to Brazilian employees. For purposes of this two-thirds rule, foreign nationals who have been living in Brazil for 10 years or more and are married to Brazilian citizens or have Brazilian children, Portuguese citizens, irrespective of any other individual situation, and nationals of the Mercosur countries who live in Brazil with residence granted under the Agreement are treated as Brazilians. However, because the Constitution provides that there can be no discrimination between Brazilians and foreigners resident in Brazil, the applicability of the Law of 2/3 has been questioned.
Foreign nationals applying for residence must prove that they have education, qualifications and professional experience compatible with the role to be exercised in Brazil. Education and qualifications are proven by means of diplomas or certificates, and for people who do not have a college or technical diploma, a minimum of 12 years’ study and four years of experience must be proven. In the case of candidates whose artistic or cultural activities do not depend on formal education, a minimum experience of three years in the exercise of their profession must be proven. The documents must be apostilled at the jurisdiction in which the documents were issued and translated in Brazil by a sworn public translator.
Brazil is seeking to build incentives for foreign employees, and maintain its position as the powerhouse of Latin America
How to Prove "Professional Experience" for Purposes of Obtaining a Work Visa in Brazil
Professional experience is proven by means of a statement from the company for which the candidate worked, showing a minimum experience of four years for medium-level candidates for functions that do not require a technical or graduate level, three years for technical-level education, two years for candidates who hold a bachelor’s degree and one year for candidates who have attended postgraduate courses with a minimum of 360 class hours. Holders of a master’s or PhD degree do not need to submit letters of experience.
If the Brazilian sponsoring company belongs to the same economic group of the current employer of the candidate, then a letter of experience may be prepared in Brazil and signed by an officer of the Brazilian company. In this case, the letter should be prepared in Portuguese, and there will be no need for further notarisation or legalisation.
If the individual has not been working for the same economic group for the required minimum period, a letter from previous employers will also be required, as well as a minimum of five years’ experience.
Important Requirements for the Brazilian Employment Contract
The foreign national will be an employee of the Brazilian company and have the option of earning his or her total remuneration in Brazil or part in Brazil and part abroad (split payroll). The employment contract will be governed by Brazilian labour law and the foreign national will have all the benefits provided by the Brazilian labour legislation, such as a Christmas bonus, 30-day annual holiday, one-third holiday bonus, guaranteed severance fund and social security. During the first two years, the employment contract must be for a definite period. Should the Brazilian company want to extend the contract beyond a two-year period, the new employment contract must be for an indefinite term.
The visa will be valid for up to two years (either for one year and then renewed, or two years from the beginning), and at the end of the second year it can be changed into a residence permit for an indefinite term.
Extending your Work Visa or Changing Status in Brazil
In considering the visa extension or change of status request, the following aspects will be taken into consideration:
- The need for continuous services to be rendered by the foreign national, respecting the interests of Brazilian workers; compliance with any conditions that may have been established at the moment the initial work permit was granted; and
- The development of the workforce – both Brazilian and foreign employees – from the moment when the original work permit was granted to the moment when the extension is being requested. In the case of a change of status, a justification presented by the foreign national about his or her intention to permanently settle in Brazil is also required.
Sao Paolo is a bustling Brazilian metropolis with a rapidly growing technology-sector
Work Visas and Residence Permits for "Technicians" in Brazil
Under NR No. 3/17, an advance residence authorisation for the issuance of a temporary visa or a residence permit may be granted for up to one year, renewable for another year, for technicians coming to work in Brazil under a technical assistance contract for foreign equipment, or a cooperation or convention agreement between a Brazilian company and a foreign company.
NOTE: Foreign nationals will remain as employees of the foreign company and cannot receive salaries from Brazilian companies. In other words, no employment contract is required for this type of visa.
This visa or residence permit cannot be granted to foreign nationals who will hold functions in Brazil that are merely of an administrative, financial or managerial nature. In cases of emergency, for the granting of a short-term temporary visa valid for up to 180 days, it is also mandatory to apply to CGIL in Brazil to obtain an advance residence authorisation before the visa can be granted by the consulate abroad.
A copy of the document issued by the Brazilian federal revenue service agency in the case of the sale and purchase of foreign equipment, or of a contract between Brazilian and foreign companies for the rendering of services, must also be submitted.
Work Visas and Residence Permits for Technology-based Agreements and Transactions with Brazil
Under NR No. 4/17, an advance residence authorisation for the issuance of a temporary visa or a residence permit may be granted for up to one year, renewable for another year, for foreign individuals coming to work in Brazil under a technology transfer contract or a technology transfer cooperation or convention agreement between a Brazilian company and a foreign company. Foreign nationals will remain as employees of the foreign company and cannot receive salaries from Brazilian companies. This visa cannot be granted to foreign nationals who will hold functions in Brazil that are merely of an administrative, financial or managerial nature. As part of the work application documentation, an outline of the technology transfer training programme must also be submitted, including:
- Professional qualifications of the foreign national;
- Scope of the training programme;
- Number of Brazilians who will be trained;
- Form of execution of the training programme;
- Place where the training will be given;
- Expected duration of the training programme; and
- Results expected from the training programme.
If the place of signature of the contract is not in Brazil, and the agreement is executed abroad, an apostilled or legalised copy, as the case may be, of the contract between Brazilian companies and foreign companies for the rendering of services must also be submitted, as well as a sworn translation to Portuguese prepared in Brazil if the document was issued only in a foreign language. In the case of a cooperation agreement between companies belonging to the same economic group, a statement signed by an officer of the Brazilian company identifying the companies and explaining the existing link between the companies is also required.
Gabriela Lessa is a senior lawyer in the firm’s Rio de Janeiro office. She focuses her practice in the areas of corporate immigration and intellectual property (IP). She advises in-house counsel as well as human resources professionals on all aspects of Brazilian, global immigration law and IP-related matters.
Have questions about living and working in Brazil? Connect with Gabriel and request a consultation.