December 10, 2012

Since mid-November, the Brazilian Government has issued several changes to immigration policies and protocols for filing Brazilian work authorizations. Included below are the general highlights regarding these changes.

What’s Changed?

Priority Processing for Olympic/World Cup Workers

On November 19, 2012, the Brazilian Government announced Normative Resolution #98 (NR#98) that will reduce work permit application requirements and offer priority processing for qualified foreign nationals applying for work visas in connection with the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Olympic Games.

The Ministry of Labor (MOL) intends to waive two of the most burdensome work permit application requirements-evidencing proof of relevance of the applicant’s education and/or professional experience to the proposed position in Brazil. Instead, the MOL will request proof of the applicant’s connection with the preparation and planning of the World Cup and/or Olympics.

In lieu of the traditional four to six-week processing time for traditional work permit applications, the MOL proposed expediting applications within five business days for games-related applications. In addition, the MOL will also permit Brazilian company sponsors to submit online applications rather than requiring an in-person filing by the applicant or the applicant’s authorized representative.

Additional details about eligibility requirements and application procedures should be reviewed with a Brazilian immigration supplier regarding an applicant’s ability to apply in a games-related category.

90-Day Grace Period Abolished Between Filing Successive Work Permit Applications

As part of the NR#98, Brazil’s National Immigration Council also published Article 7 of NR #98 (Article 7/NR#98) that abolishes Article 8 of Normative Resolution #74 (Article 8/NR#74).

Since September 2007, Article 8/NR#74 required that a 90-day grace period transpire from the date a foreign national’s work authorization expired/formally cancelled and the date a Brazilian company could file a fresh work application in the same or alternative work authorization categories.

On November 14, 2012, Article 7/NR#98 abolished this onerous and inconvenient requirement that prevented many Brazilian companies from filing successive work permit applications once renewal options were exhausted.

New Brazil/EU Short-Stay Visa Agreement

On November 26, 2012, the European Union (EU) Commission confirmed the implementation of its October 1, 2012 agreement with Brazil on short-stay visa waiver for holders of diplomatic, official and ordinary passports.

Implementation of the October EU-Brazil agreement gives a reciprocal visa waiver for travel for business, tourism and transit for all Brazilian citizens and citizens of 26 Schengen-member countries*. The EU-member countries not participating in this visa reciprocity are Ireland and the United Kingdom (UK). Irish border control officers will determine the period of stay for all visa-waiver nationals, while the UK will continue to allow Brazilian nationals a visitor stay of up to six months.

Per the new agreement, the duration of stay for Brazilians in Schengen Area countries is limited to three months within a given six-month period. Therefore, Brazilians will require that citizens of virtually all EU-member countries, with the exception of British and Irish citizens, also be granted entry for three months versus the previous six months.

Extension of stay may be permitted by the Brazilian Government on a case-by-case basis. However, extension of stay as a visitor in the Schengen Area is not permitted except in cases of true emergency or humanitarian reasons. Extensions of visitor stay in Ireland and UK may be granted on a case-by-case basis

ACTION ITEMS FOR EMPLOYERS

Companies intending to assign employees to perform on games-related contracts or events in Brazil should take advantage of the expedited work permit processing for these personnel. It is important to carefully the MOL’s requirements to ensure that applicants are qualified for this category of work authorization.

It is welcome relief to the Brazilian and overseas business communities that in an effort to streamline processing of games-related work permits, the Brazilian Government also took advantage to issue in the same resolution to abolish the onerous 90-day grace period between filing of fresh work authorizations. Companies can now better plan assigning returning workers to Brazil for successive projects or future work needs versus waiting almost six months in total to receive new work authorization.

The reciprocal reduction of stay from six months to three months for Brazilian and EU-nationals will require due diligence by those affected travelers to ensure they remain in compliance with the new visitor stay regulations.

Caveat Lector | Warning to Reader

This is provided as informational only and does not substitute for actual legal advice based on the specific circumstances of a matter. Readers are reminded that Immigration laws are fluid and can change a moment’s notice without any warning. Please reach out to your local Pro-Link GLOBAL specialist should you require any additional clarification. This alert was prepared by Glenn Faulk, Senior Manager, Knowledge Management.