Brazil changes visa rules to attract digital nomads

The Brazilian government has changed immigration rules to grant temporary visas to professionals working remotely in a bid to attract well-paid individuals to contribute to the country’s economy.

Announced today (24 January), the measures establish an initial one-year visa, which can be renewed for an equal period. According to Justice Secretary and head of the National Immigration Council, José Vicente Santini, the new regulations are expected to boost local tourism and respond to global trends.

“Salaries for digital nomads come from external sources, and the resources these immigrants bring can boost the national economy. This is an important step for Brazil in promoting one of the most modern work models in the world,” he said.

Professionals can apply for the Digital Nomad Visa at any Brazilian consular office, presenting proof of their remote worker status and documents such as an employment contract with an international organization and health insurance and proof availability of means of subsistence in Brazil.

On the other hand, the increase in the number of Brazilian teleworkers taking jobs with foreign employers is a concern for the sector. Today, the Federation of Brazilian Information Technology Business Associations (Assespro) launched a manifesto calling for public policies to prevent a “labour shortage” of skilled technology professionals.

According to the professional body, the growing demand for IT experts around the world and the acceleration of remote working have contributed to many experienced professionals being hired by companies abroad, without having to emigrate, in a phenomenon described as a “virtual brain drain”.

The association warned that the best available estimates indicate that the shortage of skilled professionals in Brazil is expected to reach 450,000 within three years. The association further added that the lack of central government strategies and policies to support innovation and skill building has been discussed since 2018. Yet the scenario remains unchanged in terms of strategy, while execution has become increasingly unsustainable due to the various budget cuts suffered by the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation in recent years.

Highlighting the real possibility of Brazil losing a significant amount of its tech experts to foreign employers, Assespro urged government leaders to “urgently unite to implement public policies that prevent this catastrophic situation.” . He added that the issue of skills shortages is the biggest challenge the sector has faced in the trade body’s 45-year history.

“Innovation processes are born out of the existence of problems. Given the magnitude of this problem, however, collective action by all actors involved is essential,” the manifesto notes.

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