Brazil: Most Immigration Processes Suspended Following Implementation of New Law

Due to the implementation of a new immigration law on November 21, 2017, the following has occurred: • The Ministry of Labor is not accepting work authorization applications. • A small number of tourist, business and work visas with Ministry of Labor approvals issued prior to November 21 are being issued by Brazilian consulates at their discretion. • Federal Police Registrations for work visa holders are being processed only in certain cities. Following meetings at the Ministry of Labor during the first weeks of December and the subsequent publication of related guidelines, Brazilian government entities should have the necessary legal regulations to process applications accordingly; however, delays should be expected.

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Dec 04, 2017
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The situation
Most immigration processes based on the new immigration law implemented on November 21 are suspended, as the corresponding guidelines have yet to be released.  The only immigration categories being processed are visitor visas issued through the new online system to Australian nationals; and MERCOSUR residence permits filed at some Federal Police branches that are accepting applications.

A closer look

  • Ministry of Labor. The Ministry of Labor has not been accepting new work authorization applications since November 21.
  • Consulates. Brazilian consulates are currently issuing some visas on a discretionary basis. Some examples include:
    • The Brazilian Consulates in the United Kingdom, Spain, Moscow and Belgium are issuing business and tourist visas.
    • The Brazilian Consulate in Moscow is not issuing 90-day technical visas at the moment. 
    • The Brazilian Consulate in the United Kingdom has issued 90-day technical visas.
    • The Brazilian Consulate in Berlin has issued VITEM visas that had already been approved by the Ministry of Labor prior to implementation of the new law.
    • The Brazilian Consulate in Frankfurt is not issuing any visas, even those that had been approved by the Ministry of Labor prior to implementation of the new law.

This situation is subject to change and is based on recent experience. Foreign nationals should check with each consulate prior to filing an application. 

  • Federal Police registration. Only certain Federal Police branches are granting appointments for and processing registrations (required for all temporary residents). This is subject to change at each Federal Police branch's discretion. 

Implications for employers
Employers will not be able to file work authorization applications with the Ministry of Labor until the guidelines are issued.  This will delay assignment start dates by several weeks.  Also, employers with unregistered employees already in Brazil with their visas in their passports may face problems as the ancillary processes subsequent to the mandatory federal police registration will not occur. This may lead to fines from labor, social security and tax perspectives.

Implications for foreign nationals
Foreign nationals who can obtain visas (based on a Ministry of Labor approval issued prior to November 21) will still face delays in registering their visas in Brazil.  They will not have a local identification card until they can register at the Federal Police, which will prevent them from conducting local transactions such as being enrolled in local payroll.

Looking ahead
The Ministry of Labor has scheduled meetings for December 1 and December 12 to draft and finalize the guidelines for all visa categories. Once the guidelines are published, Brazilian government entities will have the necessary legal regulations to process applications accordingly; however, delays should be expected during the transition, due to the current suspension and the backlog that will develop. Fragomen will report on developments on this issue as soon as they are available. In the meantime, please feel free to reach out to your Fragomen immigration professional with any questions.

Fragomen in Brazil is Fragomen Brasil Serviços de Imigração Ltda., operating exclusively as an immigration consultancy and not as a law firm in Brazil. This alert is for informational purposes only. If you have any questions, please contact the global immigration professional with whom you work at Fragomen or send an email to brazil@fragomen.com.

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