Changes to Brazilian immigration laws explained with reference to seafarers

Club correspondents Proinde of Brazil have published a guide to the changes to immigration law in Brazil. They informed Steamship Mutual that in November 2017, the new Brazilian Migration Law was implemented to replace the Alien’s Statute (considered to be obsolete and a relic of colonialism).

The new immigration law eliminated criminal sanctions for immigration offences, but it also substantially increased the level of fines for violating immigration regulations.

New categories of visas have been created, each with multiple types to serve specific purposes. The permanent visa has been discontinued and long-term visitors who wish to live in or work in Brazil can now apply for residency in the country, regardless of their immigration status or visa type.

Visitors and immigrants in the maritime and offshore sectors will be issued with a visit visa for business (non-remunerated, short-term visitors) or a temporary work visa (with or without a contract of employment in Brazil) if they remain in the country for more than 90 days.

Citizens of some countries will continue to be exempted from a visa if the stay does not exceed 90 days.

Seafarers entering the country on deep-sea going ships or a cruise ship sailing along the Brazilian coast for up to 90 days are exempt from visa requirements provided they carry a valid seaman’s book in accordance with the ILO Convention. Those who intend to work on a Brazilian ship or platform, irrespective of the length of the employment contract, or work on board a foreign vessel without a contract of employment in Brazil for more than 90 days, must obtain a temporary visa at a Brazilian consulate abroad. The normative resolutions issued by the National Immigration Council (CNIg) in December 2017 to regulate the new legal framework reiterated the obligation of foreign ships and platforms to hire rising proportions of Brazilian seafarers as a proportion of the crew at all levels of qualifications and departments when operating in Brazilian waters for specific periods.