New Migration Law: Important highlights for foreign workers in Brazil

Administrative procedures for living in Brazil

Legal entities interested in using foreign labor, either permanently or temporarily, must request a work permit from the General Immigration Coordination, an agency of the Ministry of Labor and Employment.

The request will be by submission of a “Work Permit Request Application,” signed and sent by its legal representative or attorney, together with specific documents.

A decision denying the work permit can be appealed within ten (10) days starting from its date of publication in the Federal Official Gazette. The appeal will be sent to the authority that made the decision, which will reconsider it within five (5) days or forward it on to a higher authority under the terms of Law 9,784/99, Art. 56.

New Brazilian Migration Law

The Brazilian government has issued a new law in order to adjust to the changes in the migration scenario of the country, clearly defining the meaning of immigrant, emigrant, border resident, visitor and stateless person.

Among the changes are different visa categories and the implementation of the electronic visa system. One important novelty is that the concept of permanent visa no longer exists. The law also enables the integration of databases from immigration authorities, resulting in better intelligence for the analysis of immigration processes.

The legislation (Law 13.445) came into force on November 21, 2017 and is at the forefront of migration issues by implementing a policy for humanitarian visas.

Under this new migration law, Brazil has reached the forefront of migration issues by implementing humanitarian visas policy.

Visa and work permits

The Brazilian immigration authorities allow foreigners to work on a regular basis only if they hold one of the following main visas:

  • Prior Residence or residency permit with an employment contract with a local company
  • Prior Residence or residency permit without an employment contract with a local company, under the “umbrella” of a master service Agreement existing between a Brazilian company and a foreign company
  • Residency visa based in the Mercosul agreement ( Argentina, Chile, Uruguay, Paraguay, Bolivia, Peru, Colombia and Equator belongs to this agreement)

The New Migration Law stablishes the visitor visa, which is a new category allowing both tourism and business activities on short stays. It is no longer necessary to request two different visas, one for each purpose. Furthermore, this visa category allows new activities on short stays, such as sport, artistic, consulting, auditing and maritime business

Business visitors can enter Brazil under e-Visas, which are currently applicable for Australians, American, Canadian and Japanese citizens. The visa’s waiver agreements remain the same and were not affected by the new law.

Please note that holders of a business visa are not allowed to work in Brazil, but only have meetings, participate in seminars, meet customers and suppliers, prospect local markets and attend training sections. No  remunerated activity is allowed

It is also important to note that visas are requested by local companies, meaning that the expatriate works in Brazil for a specific locally-based employer. In other words, the individual is not allowed to work for a different local company unless a new visa (or special authorization) is obtained.

Residence permits

One important novelty from the migration law is the introduction of the concept of a residence permit, which is not a type of visa. However, issuing this permit is mandatory before requesting some categories of visas – such as work visas, for example. There is also the possibility to ask for a residence permit inside the country without the need to travel abroad to stamp the visa at the consulate.

After publishing the new Law, the Brazilian Ministry of Labor published 23 new Normative Resolutions (NR) to regulate the request of the residence permits. Below are the resolutions that have a direct impact on business activities:

NR 01: General guidelines to apply for a residence permit through the Brazilian Ministry of Labor. New documents as birth certificates and criminal records duly apostilled or legalized are now required to obtain a residence permit within the Brazilian territory.

NR 02: Disciplines issuing of residence permit with a local employment contract.

NR 03: Disciplines issuing of residence permit without employment relationship to provide technical services.

NR 04:  Disciplines issuing of residence permit without employment relationship in Brazil for transfer of technology.

NR 06: Disciplines issuing of residence permit without employment relationship as maritime on board of a vessel or platform of foreign flags.

NR 11: Disciplines issuing of residence permit to enable an immigrant to become a statutory director of a Brazilian legal entity.

NR 13: Disciplines issuing of residence permit for immigrants who invest in a Brazilian legal entity.

NR 19: Disciplines issuing of residence permit without employment contract in order to receive professional training from the subsidiary, branch or headquarters in Brazil.

Residence permits regulated by the Federal Police

The Ministry of Justice has recently published new Ordinances to regulate the procedures for the application of residence permits through the Federal Police, for example: health treatment, study, work holiday, family reunion, Agreement or Treaty of Residence, renewal of the Immigrant ID Card, among others.

Regularization – Migratory Status

Individuals that are in an irregular migratory situation will be notified by the Federal Police to regularize their migratory situation or leave the country voluntarily. They will be given 60 days to regularize the situation, extendable for up to 60 days, but they will need to inform their domicile and the activities performed in Brazil and abroad.


The lack of compliance with migratory policies will result in severe penalties, as the fines were increase, going from BRL 100.00 to BRL 10,000.00 for individuals. Regarding the companies, the minimum amount is BRL 1,000.00 and the maximum BRL 1,000,000.00.

Companies must pay special attention and make sure that all their employees, technicians, trainees and business visitors are in compliance with the new rules