Mark A Ivener, A Law Corporation

The Scope of Immigration Laws for International Investors in Brazil

From the moment we retrace a historical review of immigration’s legislative structure for investors in Brazil, we perceive that in the last 11 years the Entrepreneurs’ Visa had three different normative resolutions with their respective minimum investment. Normative Resolution N. 28, from November 25, 1998, originally defines that the foreign investment has to be US$ 200,000.

On October 6, 2004, the Brazilian legislature altered the requirements and modified this resolution. The new Normative Resolution, N. 60, established the foreign investment as US$ 50,000.

Recently, a new resolution, Normative Resolution N. 84, was established in February 10, 2009, with a minimum investment of R$ 150,000 (about US$ 80,000). This new resolution includes more detailed procedures related to the current and sustainable Brazilian economy.

In both cases, an absorption plan of Brazilian manpower must be presented. In addition to this requirement, the sponsor of the visa is always the Brazilian company of which the foreign national is partner.

The Brazilian company must open a Brazilian bank (in Reais) account in order to receive the foreign investment. The entrepreneur needs to send the money in his or her own name (individual) for the bank account of the Brazilian company. It is not mandatory that all the money be invested at the same time, but the money must be registered with the Brazilian Central Bank. To certify this investment, the articles of Incorporation must include a clause stating that the foreign money is integrated into the Brazilian company.

Subsequent to the investment, the entrepreneurs must obtain a conditional permanent visa, valid for three years. During this three-year period, the foreign national may only provide services for the Brazilian company that sponsored the visa. This condition is written in his or her Brazilian ID Card.

The creation of employment and revenue in Brazil is the most important condition for obtaining this visa. Related to that, the absorption plan of Brazilian manpower must be executed in the first year of the Brazilian company after the arrival of the entrepreneur. The company may hire and/or employ Brazilian manpower other than its stated direct absorption plan of the investor program, but it is mandatory to fulfill the original numbers.

For the investor program, it is mandatory to present the number of employees and posts, the salaries that will be paid, and the amount of investment in the capacity and qualifications of the Brazilian employees in the first three years. It is also necessary to include information about the economic section and localization of the Brazilian company and its importance for the development of the relevant region. Due to a diversified Brazilian social structure, the investment will have a different effect according to the region.

In this connection (Investment-Social Impact), it should be emphasized that it is not mandatory to invest the amount of R$ 150,000 but a foreign investment is mandatory. Specifically, the social interest issue is considered very important, and the entrepreneur has to convince the Brazilian authorities that his or her work will bring new jobs to Brazilians and develop the Brazilian market; i.e., improve the life of the Brazilian people. If the entrepreneurs are from South America, they will receive special consideration from the members of the National Immigration Council.

There are no minimum qualifications to apply for an investor visa except for the investment. The foreign national may be accompanied by his or her family (spouse and children), who will receive the status of dependents. Once the application is filed with the Ministry of Labor, the processing time is usually 30 days, while the processing time with the National Immigration Council is about 5 months.

The global economic crisis did not affect investments in Brazil. In fact, it made foreign entrepreneurs see that Brazil is a very good country in which to invest, with its stable economy, democracy, consumer market, and natural resources. Unfortunately, we should not forget the Brazilian bureaucracy and its effects on the timeframe of the constitution of a Brazilian company. However, Brazil is improving and let us not forget that the country was built by foreign nationals and will only become a much more developed country with their efforts.

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About the Author

Mark A. Ivener, A Law Corporation, a nationally recognized law firm, has successfully assisted hundreds of clients in immigration matters.