By Ben Tavener, Senior Contributing Reporter
SÃO PAULO, BRAZIL – The Brazilian government has announced that the application process for work visas to Brazil has been simplified significantly in response to demands from industry, calling for more qualified overseas workers to fill gaps in the Brazilian labor market. The government says it hopes that regular work visas, which currently take around three months to be issued, will take just thirty days.
The new rules, published under Normative Resolution (RN) 104, aim to speed up the process by requiring fewer documents and allowing documents to be sent online.
Bernardo Mira, partner at Pacific Global Mobility Services, a Rio-based consulting company specializing in tax and immigration matters, believes the changes amount to “a very good start” by the Minister for Labor and Employment (MTE), particularly the reduction in the number of documents required.
“It’s not just about the number of documents they used to demand; some of them were also very difficult to obtain. Also the procedure for verifying [that] the foreigner is not replacing the national workforce has also been simplified – this is a major step forward,” Mr. Mira tells The Rio Times, adding that the simplified visa process could now make the difference for those previously put off by Brazil’s immigration bureaucracy to come to work in Brazil.
Industry and foreign workers have long complained that the process for granting a work visa was too long and overly complicated, requiring some fifteen documents and sometimes a number of visits to the Consulate; just three documents will now be required.
The government admits the new rules were a direct response to demands by industry, which struggles with Brazil’s lack of specifically qualified workers – particularly engineers, oil and gas experts, and systems analysts – to help ready the country host the World Cup and the Olympics.
Two other recent changes in work visas should also prove interesting to companies in Brazil and foreign students:
Resolution RN100 provides a work visa of up to ninety days to foreign nationals providing technical assistance or technological know-how to Brazilian companies. Applicants go straight to their local Consulate, without the need for a permit from the MTE.
Resolution RN103 allows students with a Master’s degree or above to work up to ninety days in Brazil during their vacations. This work still requires MTE authorization, but is expected to be popular with temporary jobs appearing for highly-qualified professionals for the World Cup and the Olympics.
Despite past concerns that Brazil should not encourage foreigners to work in Brazil but instead focus on improving the quality of homegrown professionals, Brazil’s Minister for Labor and Employment, Manoel Dias, says that boosting worker numbers from abroad would not take jobs from Brazilians.
“[Brazil] is sending a lot of Brazilians abroad to major centers of technological knowledge to prepare themselves [to work in Brazil], but it requires time. In the meantime, sometimes we have to look, in the case of some technical areas, to fill this gap, otherwise we could face a bottleneck that could hinder our growth and our goal of becoming a powerful country,” he said.
The government says Brazil should exploit its attraction to highly-qualified workers in Europe, lured due to the economic crisis and high unemployment there. Spain, Portugal and China are seen as target countries.
Globo News reports that in the first quarter of 2013, some 15,000 foreigners were granted authorization to work in Brazil – the vast majority of which were temporary visas of up to two years. Brazilian unemployment is still at some of the lowest-ever levels, registering at 5.7 percent in March – a historic low for the month.