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Rule Changes Ease Work Visa Application in Brazil

05/17/2013 - 08h25

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SHEILA D'AMORIM
VALDO CRUZ
DE BRASILIA

The Brazilian government will add two news rules in order to attract skilled foreign workers making it easier for companies looking for professionals: it will reduce the amount of visa required documents and allow "internships" for graduate students.

The measures were being discussed since last year, as announced to Folha in December. The approved rules, however, did not meet the expectations proposed by the Secretary of Strategic Affairs of the Presidency.

The original proposal would allow highly skilled professionals to obtain visa even without a work contract and would not force a foreigner to leave the country to get a new visa every time there would be a company or job change.

The changes approved this week by the National Immigration Council reduce visa applications bureaucracy for temporary and permanent work.

Until now, foreign workers wanting to apply for a visa must submit documents such as diploma and proof of work experience at the Brazilian consulate at their country to be evaluated. This phase of the application process could take up to 30 days. Then, the translation of documents is needed. Only then, the process begins at the ministry, which has about 20 days to evaluate the petition and issue the visa.

Brazil now requires on average 19 documents from immigrants seeking work visa - in Mexico and Canada, are 8, in the UK, 12, in Australia and in Chile, 13. Thus, obtaining a work visa takes on average 52 days. In Australia, it takes 30 days and, in Mexico, 40.

With the change, companies can obtain a visa before the professional worker meet all bureaucratic steps - a foreigner will have 60 days after gaining the work permit to submit all the documents.

With the new rules, there will also be an electronic registry of the companies recruiting foreigners to work in Brazil. This way, it will not be necessary to resubmit all documents after each application. The five papers that today must be filled out by the company will become one.

In addition, there will be a temporary visa for students with a master or doctoral degree for those wanting to work for up to 90 days in Brazilian companies.

Today, immigrants represent 0.3% of the Brazilian population. According to Census data, the number of foreigners in the country has shrunk in the last decade, from 683,000 in 2000 to 593,000 in 2010. And 43% of them are over 60. Worldwide, the average immigrant population is 3%, in Latin America, not counting Brazil, is 1.5%, and in the U.S. is 15%.

Translated by SIMONE PALMA

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