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back to index backLATINtalk June,  2004


Labor legislation for foreign workers 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.

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:

- Temporary visa (2-year visa) type V with an employment contract with a local company;

- Temporary visa (2-year visa) type V without an employment contract with a local company, under the "umbrella" of a Technical Assistance Agreement existing between a Brazilian company and a foreign company; or

- Permanent visa – 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, etc. – but not perform any remunerated activities.

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. Holders of permanent visas may work for a different local company if this company is part of the same economic group (i.e., joint ventures).

If the foreigner continues to work for more than five years with the same local employer, the visa loses its link with the local company. Consequently, the individual may apply for a permanent visa, with no immigration restrictions. The foreigner's dependents (including non-working spouse) who may accompany the expatriate on the assignment usually hold visas linked to him/her. If the expatriate leaves the country permanently, his/her family must leave as well. If, for any unexpected reason, the dependents must remain in Brazil, the individual may require a new visa for them from the immigration authorities. In the case of a working spouse, notice that she is holding a linked visa with her husband. Her local employer must request a new type V with employment contract, temporary visa.

Documents in Brazil
When you arrive in Brazil, some documents are necessary to engage in your daily activities. Below is a brief description:

- Identity card (RNE) – Once you arrive in Brazil, you must request an Alien Registration Card (RNE). The applicant may obtain this card from the Federal Police and should request it within 30 days of arrival or receipt of his/her temporary or permanent residence visa. This card is your principal document and the basis for obtaining other documents so you should always carry it with you (or a copy of it).

Brazilian labor rights
Below are the rights that the employee receives from the company:

Working Hours, Holidays and Vacation
The normal working hours in industry are eight hours per day and forty-four hours per week. Employees are eligible for one day off per week (normally on Sunday). Employees may be required to work a maximum of two overtime hours per day with premium pay of at least 50%, plus an additional 20% premium for hours worked on night shifts. Overtime of more than two hours is permissible in an emergency, provided that a special agreement is registered with the Ministry of Labor and Social Security.

Employees are eligible for seven paid national holidays and five religious or municipal holidays. They are also eligible for three days' paid leave upon marriage, two days' paid leave for a period of mourning, and fifteen days' paid leave (annually) for illness. Paternity leave is paid for five days and maternity leave is paid for 120 days. For every 12 months of service provided to the company, the employee receives 30 days of paid vacation.

Vacation bonus
After full-time employment of one year, an employee is entitled to 30 days per year of vacation, plus one-third of his or her monthly salary as a vacation bonus; the employee may receive cash in lieu of vacation for up to ten days. Employers may grant collective vacation for convenience.

Christmas bonus (13th month salary)
For each 12 months of a calendar year that the employee works for a company, he/she is eligible to receive an additional one-month salary, usually paid half in November and half in December of each year.

Employer's Contributions to the Severance Pay Fund (FGTS)
The employer is required to make a contribution of 8.0% of the employee's remuneration each month to a "blocked" bank account; the accumulated deposits may generally be drawn upon for retirement, purchase of real estate property or upon dismissal from the company without just cause; if the latter occurs, the employer is also required to pay a "fine" to the dismissed employee equivalent to 40% of the accumulated funds (an additional 10% is contributed to the government).

To read FAQ (frequently asked questions), please click here.

Source: Deloitte Brazil - GAI





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