November 16, 2011

Effective immediately, the Brazilian Ministry of Justice (MOJ) has announced that work visa holders assigned via an employment agreement (Temporary V or “Temporary 5”-Normative Resolution #80 visa) may extend their ability to remain in Brazil by amending their status to that of a conditional permanent resident.  As the MOJ has not yet implemented final rules on amending status, ability to obtain conditional permanent residence and renew other categories of Temporary V work visas may take at least eight to ten months.

What’s Changed?

Prior to this new regulation, there was a long-standing permission by the MOJ that allowed renewal of the two-year Temporary V-NR#80 visa for an additional two years. As renewal of the underlying employment agreement was not permitted beyond four years, Temporary V-NR#80 visa holders wishing to remain in Brazil beyond four years were required to apply for an unrestricted permanent residency visa.

As of November 1, 2011, the MOJ issued a clarification to this permission pursuant to a new interpretation of Article 445 of Brazil’s main Labor Law (Labor Law Consolidation or “CLT”) that no longer permits extension of Temporary V-NR#80 visas beyond two years.

Under the new MOJ regulation  [Article 18 of Brazil’s main Immigration Law # 6.815 (August 1980)] an application to amend status to a conditional permanent resident visa (“visto permanente condicionado”) must be made prior to the expiration of the foreign worker’s temporary visa.  Extending stay is conditioned on the same terms of employment as those of the original temporary visa.  According to the MOJ’s current guidance, a conditional permanent resident visa can be valid for up to five years.

On a practical level, the relationship of work between the Brazilian sponsoring company and the foreign worker will not change under a conditional permanent residence status.

After five years, conditional permanent residents may apply to the local Federal Police to amend the designation of their residence card (RNE) from “conditional permanent” to “permanent”.  After obtaining traditional permanent residence, the foreign national will have unrestricted authorization to work and reside in Brazil.

Due to this significant, sudden change in extending stay for localized foreign national workers, the MOJ has not yet issued final protocols and requirements to its personnel.

Clients are advised that until final protocols are in place, there may be significant delays in processing not only conditional permanent residence permit applications but all categories of Temporary V work visa applications. Therefore, clients should anticipate lengthy visa renewal processing times of up to eight to ten months.

ACTION ITEMS FOR EMPLOYERS

As this change in policy is immediate and with little advance notice, the MOJ has advised it will require an undefined period of time to implement the protocols for amending work visas into conditional permanent resident visas.   Also, given the imminent Christmas/New Year’s holidays, full implementation of this policy may not take place until after the beginning of 2012.

Companies should review their census of localized assignees to determine those who are within 180 days of expiration of their Temporary V-NR#80 status.  Given the lack of final guidance, companies should review with their Brazilian immigration suppliers on how best to coordinate preparation of conditional permanent residence permit applications.

Currently, the MOJ requires that conditional permanent resident visa amendment applications must be filed at least 30 days in advance of the temporary visa’s expiration date.  Given the lack of final protocols on filing procedures and requirements, it is not yet determined on how best to address those temporary visa holders whose status is about to expire.

In renewing any Temporary V work status, upon submission of the conditional permanent resident or Temporary V visa renewal application, the Brazilian Federal Police will issue the assignee and each accompanying family member a filing receipt (“protocolo”) that will allow the assignee and family to remain in implied status until final adjudication of their application.

Assignees and family members should note that upon expiration of their Temporary V-NR#80 visas, visa nationals must obtain a Brazilian tourist visa prior to re-entering Brazil.  Visa-exempt nationals need only to present their original “protocolo” and passport to re-enter Brazil.

For those foreign nationals who have already resided in Brazil for four consecutive years in Temporary V-RN#80 status, application can still be made for traditional permanent residence that allows unrestricted authorization to work in Brazil.

This news alert was provided in coordination with our Brazilian KGNM, Overseas Consultoria Ltda.

Caveat Lector | Warning to Reader 

This content is provided for general information purposes only and does not constitute legal advice or final guidance for any immigration matter. Readers are reminded that a country’s immigration laws and requirements may change with little to no advance public notice. Questions regarding specific immigration matters should be addressed to your Pro-Link GLOBAL specialist.