Recent Immigration Legislative Changes in Brazil
It has been just over a year since the New Migration Law No. 13.445 and Decree No. 9.199, of 21 November 2017, which establishes rules for the entry and residence of immigrants in Brazil entered into effect.
It is a new era for the Brazilian migration legislation. It is now possible for Brazilian entities to sponsor a process, on behalf of foreigners who are in Brazil as visitors. As a result, depending on the type of work to be carried out, foreigners will no longer be required to have to leave Brazil in order to have a visa issued – an authorisation for a resident permit will be granted by the General Coordination, in Brasilia, and a resident permit will be issued by the Brazilian Federal Police. This was unimaginable in the former law. A resident permit was only a possibility for specific cases, such as based on family reunion, as well as for foreign nationals from the Mercosur and Associated countries.
The new legislation introduced the category of Visitor Visas which is broader than the tourist visa and temporary item II, business visa, that was foreseen in the former legislation. For Australians, Japanese, Canadians and U.S. citizens, the Visitor Visas may be issued electronically (E-Visas) and it will only be valid for a maximum period of two years, however, always limited to the validity of the passport. They are always multiple entry visas. Foreigners holding Visitor Visas, E-Visas, or for those foreign nationals who do not require visas to enter Brazil, it is possible not only for tourism and business purposes, however to engage in certain work activities such as consulting, auditing, offshore work with a seaman’s book, artistic and sports activities.
It allows for a maximum stay of 90 days, extendable in-country, but limited to a maximum stay of 180 days per year. As to the activities that are of a work nature, the term cannot be for more than 90 days.
For the short and long term technical assistance services, as well as for transfer of technology to be provided in Brazil, irrespective of the length of time of work to be performed, a Brazilian entity sponsoring the visa application process will be required and the immigration application will need to be submitted to the General Coordination of Immigration in Brazil for the issuance of a temporary visa at the Brazilian Consulate abroad. Since the enactment of the new legislation, as well as the normative resolutions, there was a significant change for the short term visas. In the former legislation, it was possible to apply directly at the Brazilian Consulate of the foreigner’s jurisdiction, nowadays, it is mandatory to have the process approved in Brazil, thereafter have a visa issued at the Brazilian Consulate.
Another truly relevant change was the possibility of investment in Brazilian Real Estate. For the first time in Brazil, foreigners have the possibility to invest in real estate for the amount of BRL 1,000,000, approximately USD 300,000 or BRL 700,000, approximately USD 185,000, in the North and North-eastern part of Brazil. We now have our own “Golden Visa”. This is truly a new form of attracting nationalities from all around the world that wish to invest in Brazilian property and apply for a resident permit, or if preferable obtain a temporary visa.
As to the individual investor visa, the legislation maintained the same requirements. As a result, it not possible only to invest and guarantee that the process will be renewed. It continues mandatory for the Brazilian entity for which the investment was made comply with the business plan and make sure to have hired Brazilians in addition to have them registered as the company’s employees. With this regard, the business plan to be submitted to the Immigration Authorities must be well prepared and implemented in order to succeed with the renewal process in the future.
On the other hand, while the investment is relevant for economic growth and attracting foreign nationals into Brazil to invest in Real Estate and be eligible for a temporary visa, the new legislation envisages a main concern towards human rights. In this regard, two new categories of visas were created for humanitarian and for health purposes.
Since the Refugee crisis that has affected nationals from all over the world, Brazil has demonstrated being an open country and welcoming nationals from diverse nationalities that have been seeking asylum. The new legislation foresees clearly as this being a very important part of Brazil’s immigration policy towards humanitarian cases.
As to family reunion processes, the new legislation no longer limits ages for dependents, allowing processes for ascendants, descendants, irrespective of age. It is possible to apply for Family reunion processes for married couples, in a civil union, or in a stable union. In Brazil, there are no restrictions, nor any sort of discrimination on same sex relationships, therefore it was already possible to apply for a family reunion process in the former law, as it is in the current legislation.
Under the new legislation, there was an increase in the amount of the fine, in which case, a foreigner who is irregular provides that the foreigner pays the fine for irregular stay R$100,00 per day, limited to R$10,000.00.
Last but not least, in the former law there was the possibility, after a certain term, for certain types of visas, for the foreigner having an unconditional visa that would allow him to work and live in Brazil without being linked to the company that initially filed for the visa process. Under the new law, this will only be a possibility in the event of filing a process to request Brazilian citizenship.