What You Should Know About Brazilian Labor Legislation

By Pedro Souza
April 23, 2017

Despite the economic crisis, there are plenty of work opportunities in Brazil for foreigners. If you are thinking of working here, however, there are a few things you should know about the Brazilian labor legislation. The first thing you should be aware of if that in theory, you need a work permit from the Brazilian Ministry of Labor before you can get a job. To get a permit, you need to be sponsored by an employer before you enter the country. This can be tricky in practice, as some employers are not willing to pay the government a fine of more than R$ 2000 and to hire and train a replacement for you, which are the requirements for the permit.

Another thing that is important to know, is that foreigners are eligible for labor rights. In order to get access to these benefits, one first needs to acquire a CTPS (Carteira de Trabalho e Previdência Social). The CTPS is a workbook that keeps track of a worker’s jobs and employers, as well as granting him access to benefits such as unemployment insurance and social security benefits among other things. If a foreigner has a temporary, working or permanent visa, he can apply for a CTPS at a regional office of labor and employment.

In Brazil, there are two types of workdays. One consists of a six hour shift, while the other is an 8 hour long workday with a lunchbreak of 1-2 hours. Six hour shifts are usually coordinated so they end around lunchtime or start after lunch, but this is not always the case. If you are on a six hour shift and work less than 6 hours, you will be paid in proportion to how much you work. If you work more than six hours, you will be paid 6 hours plus an overtime. While workers are expected to work up to 44 hours a week, most companies demand 40 hours of weekly work.

The minimum wage in Brazil is R$788,00 at the moment, and is applied both to 8 hour journeys and 6 hour shifts. Companies must pay wages to their workers by the 5th day of the month. Every year employees also get paid a 13th salary, which must be paid by the 15th of December. Employers cannot pay different wages based on gender, race or religion, but they can choose to offer productivity bonuses.

Workers have to deposit 8% of their earnings into a savings account known as FGTS (Fundo de Garantia do Tempo de Serviço). The money deposited into the FGTS can be used to buy or build a house, or it can be redeemed to the employee if he gets laid off. If an employee gets fired without reason, his employer has to add 10% of what he has already accumulated to his savings.

There is also a public pension fund known as INSS (Instituto Nacional do Seguro Social). Everyone must contribute 20% of their wage to it, and it pays a retirement pension for anyone that has worked at least 35 years or has become incapacitated by work. The INSS also pays for sick leaves.

Women are allowed a maternal leave paid by the INSS starting the 7th month of pregnancy. After the leave, they must be accepted back at the same position with the right to the same wage as before. Men get a week of paternity leave when the child is born. This leave is paid by the employer and then reimbursed by the INSS. If a worker has a small salary, he also gets a bonus of R$37,18 when he has a child.

http://www.quora.com/Brazilian-law-what-should-I-know-about-the-Brazilian-law-about-work-relations

Brazilian Business Etiquette: Tips for Closing the Deal

By Pedro Souza
April 23, 2017

As one of the largest economies in the world, there are plenty opportunities for doing business in Brazil. As Brazilians are highly social people, they enjoy doing business personally, which means you might have to deal with face-to-face meetings. There are, however, some cultural differences you should be aware of when conducting business in Brazil. With this in mind, we have compiled some tips for you:

1. If you are introduced to a potential business partner through a mutual acquaintance, he will generally feel more comfortable and be more willing to negotiate. This is a good thing to keep in mind.

2. In Brazilian business culture, personal relationships and business often mix with each other. Sometimes it might take you befriending someone and earning that person’s trust before you conduct any actual business.

3. Another thing to be aware of is that there is a thin line between friendliness and professionalism that should be respected. This will take good social instincts and some common sense.

4. Learn some Portuguese phrases before you attend a meeting. Even if you fail at communicating properly in Portuguese, your effort will be appreciated and will earn you some points.

5. Avoid confrontation during business meetings. If you have to criticize someone, do it in a non-confrontational way.

6. Brazilians will usually engage in small talk and socialize for a few minutes before business meetings. This might be frustrating to people that want to get straight to the point, but it is a good opportunity to gauge your potential business partners.

7. Brazilians dress well and formally on business meeting, so you should do too. Women usually wear feminine suits and dresses, while men wear dark suits. Lighter colored suits are acceptable in summer. Three-piece suits are usually worn by executive workers, while office workers prefer two-piece suits.

8. Don’t be frustrated if you are kept waiting when going to a meeting. In Brazil, there is a certain tolerance for arriving late at meetings and other occasions. That being said, you should avoid being late.

9. Be prepared for dealing with physical contact. Brazilians are touchy-feely people, and might pat you on the back or place a hand in your elbow or shoulder. If you draw away from contact, it might be interpreted as nervousness.

10. Despite the formal dress code, Brazilians are quite informal. Conversations take a casual tone, with jokes being common as well.

11. When greeting, men shake hands firmly. Women greet each other with a kiss in the cheek and greet men with a handshake. Usually, a woman extends her hand first when greeting a man. Another thing to remember when people are introducing themselves is that Brazilians are usually introduced by their first name.

12. When engaging in small talk, it is recommended to avoid talking about politics. Politics in Brazil is highly polarized, and Brazilians are very sensitive when it comes to hearing criticism of Brazil from foreigners.

13. In Brazil, meetings should be scheduled at least two weeks in advance. It is also considered good form to confirm the meeting one or two days before it takes place.

The Beginners’s Guide to Opening a Business in Brazil as a Foreigner

By Pedro Souza
August 29th, 2016

Beginner's Guide to Business in Brazil

Brazil is known as a hard place to operate a company. That being said, it is still a country ripe with opportunity, despite the ongoing crisis. In order to help you with setting up your own business here, we have written this simple guide.

Both foreigners and locals are allowed to open a business here, but foreigners might be subjected to a few restrictions. These restrictions are present in some areas such as publishing, or when the company operates near the country’s borders. A foreigner is also allowed to incorporate a company in Brazil, though a permanent visa is necessary in order to be appointed the company’s administrator or director.

In Brazil, there are two types of limited liability companies, the “Limitada” (limited) and the “Sociedade Anônima” (Anonymous Society). The most common of these two is the Limitada, which is simpler and cheaper than the Sociedade Anônima. There are no minimum capital requirements for opening a Limitada, which is managed by one or more administrators appointed by the shareholders. This type of company is based on Articles of Association known in Brazil as “Contrato Social” (social contract).

The Sociedade Anônima in contrast, is more expensive to operate, and its corporate acts and financial statements need to be published in newspapers. The management of the company is divided into a management Board and a fiscal council, both of which need to have at least two Brazilian residents. It also needs to have a board of directors composed of shareholders if it is listed on the stock exchange or if it has authorized capital. The capital of the Sociedade Anônima can be divided into different classes, and the company is governed by By-Laws known in Brazil as “estatutos”.

During the incorporation process, Brazilian law requires a lawyer to be present. The lawyer needs to be provided with a Power of Attorney in order to carry out the process. If the investor is a foreign company, it needs to provide a copy of its Certificate of Incorporation. Once you have the Power of Attorney and the Certificate of incorporation, they need to be consularized at the Brazilian Consulate or embassy in the investor’s country. Once this is done, the documents have to be translate to Brazilian Portuguese by an official translator.

Now that you have the necessary documents, you should give them to the lawyer that will handle the incorporation. After that, you need to decide certain matters such as the name of the company, the identity of the shareholders and the company’s capital in accordance with Brazilian law. This should be done with the help of Brazilian lawyers. Once these matters are decided, the next step is to finalize the text of the Articles of Association or By-Laws with a lawyer.

When this is done, the company has to be registered with the state Commercial registry or Registry for Corporate Entities. Finally, you have to obtain a Brazilian Federal Tax Number, which is called a CNPJ locally. A lawyer can handle both of these processes. Once you have your CNPJ, your business if finally ready to operate! Now that you are ready, I wish you success in your endeavor.

Brazil: Opening a Business in Rio is Not For Wimps or Dummies

SamFlowers250 By Julia Michaels March 16, 2015 The first step taken on a path from Santa Barbara, California, to Rua Baro da Torre in Ipanema was when Sam Flowers was a mere ten-year-old, begging his mother to let him learn how to decorate cakes. That led to a B.S. degree in hotel administration at Cornell University, with an eye towards opening a restaurant. “The irony is that I learned enough about the business to get frightened away,” Flowers admits with his easy smile. Even so, while earning an MBA he continued to decorate cakes, dreams on a back burner. During eight years in executive management at Universal Studios, Flowers took a couple of vacations in Rio. “The first time I came alone and it rained every day. I didn’t speak Portuguese,” he recalls. “But I had never been anywhere before where I blended in, a country of mixed-race people.” Flowers spent eighteen months here in 2004-5, that included a stint at PUC to learn Portuguese. He also scouted out locations, entertaining thoughts of chocolate chip cookies and brunch. On learning that opening a business will get you a resident visa, Flowers reserved the name Gringo Caf on the internet. Then he went home to develop a business plan and put together the necessary funding for his enterprise. “You have to have a back-up plan,” he advises. “With enough resources for a worst-case scenario. Not having enough cash set aside is one of the top reasons restaurants fail”. According to Flowers, nine restaurants in the vicinity of the Gringo Caf have opened and closed in the two years he’s been in business. No positive cash flow for from one to three years is typical in the restaurant business, he adds. What are the biggest problems a gringo restaurateur faces in Rio de Janeiro? Customers shy away from new foods; Brazilians eat crpes and pasta, but have little experience with delights such as Sam’s mouthwatering blueberry pancakes or comforting macaroni-and-cheese. Employee turnover; the current low unemployment rate means training lots of chefs and waiters, only to have them move on. High payroll costs, due to taxes; “The burden is dramatic,” says Flowers. “And you pay income tax even if you’re losing money!” Economists have long described and lamented the so-called “Brazil Cost”, which retards business vitality for everyone, not just foreigners. Steps have been taken to reduce this at different levels of government. But much remains to be done. Meanwhile, revenue in the Gringo Caf’s second year is up 15-20% from its first year. Rio’s high dining-out prices have actually helped business, as tourists and locals head away from prime venues on Avenida Visconde de Piraj to find more affordable meals on back streets. When Flowers began to dream of the Gringo Caf, he looked for someone who could describe to him all the steps of the process of making the investment, getting a visa and setting up the business. Such a person didn’t exist, he discovered. Now he’s doing some consulting on the side for other dreamers. “You really have no way to know what [the business] is going to look like until you’re in it,” Flowers concludes – despite so much careful preparation. “You have to test and adjust.” Previously published on RioRealBlog.com. Julia Michaels, an American writer, editor and journalist who has lived in Brazil for more than thirty years.

Teaching English in Brazil

By Ricky Skelton
Like many gringoes who come to Brazil, I was hoping to find an exotic job in an exotic place and improve my language skills (or develop some) along the way by working with exotic Brazilians. The latter was the only one to come true, but not in the way that I’d expected. Teaching English was always the backup plan, and so it came to pass. No surprise to anybody who has tried to find other work in Brazil. I taught (I use the past tense, but I may not be finished with it yet) in a couple of places, with São Paulo being the main one. And what a frustrating experience it was, and not only because I wasn’t very good at it. That wasn’t down to my students, hell no. I generally genuinely liked them: lawyers, doctors, psychologists, journalists, film-makers, and students of all these and more. I was proud of their English because they taught me everything I know about my language. Everyday was a school day. And they paid me for it.

Not much though. As well as the usual traipsing around the hot streets of Sampa for very little money, the same experience that everybody has, the biggest problem for me were the cancellations. The Paulistas I met are loveable people (all conspicuously fair-skinned, sadly), but they have a work ethic that I really struggle to identify with. 14 hour days, 6 days a week! Perhaps they prefer to stay long hours at the office to avoid the reality that they live in São Paulo and there is no beach to go to after work. Admittedly I worked long hours too, or should I say that I was out of the house for 14 hours a day but working for three of four of them as my busy students would ring up to cancel while I travelled for hours between classes. They usually had too much work on. Three or four per day was the average, and then the weekly Bank Holiday on a Thursday meant that I could forget Friday and Saturday too, and only worked a three day week! No wonder I had no money. Not even enough for the Metr fare one day, so I had to cancel one of my own classes. Oh the irony. The emergency credit card wasn’t working either. Bad day.

Still, better than the day one of my students had. She was my best canceller because she always gave me days of notice. I was walking to her house one night thinking that at least I could rely on her. I arrived there to find she’d been car-jacked at gunpoint outside the house 15 minutes before. We had to cancel. And bleeding heart that I’m not, I couldn’t charge her. It is impossible to have a class when somebody is shaking with fear! She took it all in her stride though, it had happened to her before, and made me a hot drink to calm me down, telling me not to be scared.

So I think we’ll put it all down to experience and move on. And my Portuguese? I never spoke a word of it. Just English. All day. Every day. It didn’t improve at all.

You can visit Ricky’s blog at http://redmist-redmist.blogspot.com/

Previous articles by Ricky:

Around Brazil: Lenois Maranhenses
Understanding Brazil: The National Anthem
Around Brazil: Barreirinhas
Around Brazil: Jericoacoara to Barreirinhas
Understanding Brazil: Shopping Centres
Around Brazil: Jericoacoara
Around Brazil: Chapada da Diamantina/Lenois
Brazil vs. Argentina: Statues of Christ
Around Brazil: Salvador
Brazil vs. Argentina: The Buses
Around Brazil: Morro de São Paulo (& Itabuna)
Understanding Brazil: The Workmen
Around Brazil: Praa Pateo do Colegio
Around Brazil: Porto Seguro
Around Brazil: Rio de Janeiro to Porto Seguro
Around Brazil: Cristo Redentor
Understanding Brazil: The Sellers
Around Brazil: Ilha de Gigoia
Brazil Journeys: São Paulo to Rio de Janeiro
Understanding Brazil: Dogs Part 2
Brazil: A Lie-In in Downtown São Paulo?
The Best Job in Brazil: Ankle Specialist?
Understanding Brazil: Dogs
Brazilian Places: Ilha do Santa Catarina (Floripa)
Classic Brazilian Journeys: South to Florianopolis
Understanding Brazil – The Shower
Brazil: Boats on the Amazon
Brazil: Understanding Novelas
Brazil: Bus fires in São Paulo – always a bad thing?

Doing Business In Brazil: Part 3 – Starting Your Business

By Robert Eugene DiPaolo
I’ve learned many things from spending time and doing work in Brazil, most importantly that Brazil is not the USA. While this is obvious, I say it because it’s easy to forget. If you spend all you time comparing things in Brazil to how things are in your own county, you’ll end up feeling frustrated most of the time, rather than enjoying the things that are truly great about Brazil. So, while dong business in Brazil can be hard work, the rewards can be great if you are willing to take the time to understand how things work there, and learn to adapt to a different set of rules.

Let me give you an example. Driving in Brazil is nothing like driving in the USA. In fact driving in Brazil can be down right chaotic by comparison. Sometimes it seems as if there are no generally accepted rules of the road by which you are expected to drive. It’s like playing a video game. It’s an adventure in which you never know what is going to happen, and which requires your complete attention and absolute vigilance. But, having learned to accept how things are, and to adapt, rather than being frustrated by the reality that driving in Brazil is not the same as driving in the USA, you can come to appreciate the experience of driving in Brazil, and to treat every drive as an adventure, which it usually is.

This said, sometimes it’s helpful to compare how things are done in one country with how they are done in another, to give you perspective and provide you with a road map by which you can anticipate the turns, twists and obstacles you may encounter along the way. It’s like being in line at Disneyland. It’s not so much about how long the line is, or even the fact that you have to wait in it. After all, this is what you expected. What you want to know is how long you are going to have to wait in line. Well, Disneyland, at least the time I was there, has cleverly dealt with this problem by posting signs along the way telling you how much longer you will need to wait from that point on, thereby managing your expectations. So, it is with this idea in mind that I’ve embarked upon our discussion of doing business in Brazil. To help you, the reader, and potential investor in Brazil, manage your expectations, to tell that there is a line in which you will have to wait, suggest how long you may have to wait there, and to let you know that while the line may be long, the ride at the end is, more often than not, worth the wait.

Well, at this point, we’re ready to discuss some of the steps you will need to take to start a new company through which to operate your new business, buy a business or invest in Brazil. For comparison sake, let’s say you want to form a company in the USA. Our friends at the World Bank, who have determined that the USA ranks third, right behind Singapore and New Zealand in terms of ease of opening a new business, boil this process down to five steps, each taking one day, some of which can be performed simultaneously, so that you can be up and running in a week or less. These steps include registering the business name and filing the certificate of incorporation or formation with the secretary of state in the state in which you are forming your company, and obtaining an employer identification number. If you plan to have employees, you will need to register for sales tax, unemployment insurance and arrange for workers compensation insurance. That’s pretty much it, unless you need to obtain specific licenses for your business, or you’ve decided to form a limited liability company, or LLC, in the state of New York, which absurdly requires you to publish notice of the formation of your LLC in two newspapers over a period of six weeks within 120 days of formation.

Now let’s say that you’ve decided to form a Limitdada, or Ltda., in Brazil through which to do business. The World Bank divides this process into 17 steps, which together can take up to 152 days. As discussed in our pervious article, the steps and length of time required to compete each step may differ from state to state, but the process is essentially the same across Brazil. One reason the process can take so long is that the filing requirements are spread out across various governmental agencies. For instance, to find out if the name you want to use for your company is available you go to the State Commercial Registry Office. But to form the company, you need to file what is know as the Social Contract, essentially the equivalent of the articles of incorporation and the articles of association, with the Commercial Board of Trade or the Register of Civil Companies, depending on whether the company’s activities will be civil or commercial. To do this you as one of the two or more quotaholders of your Limitada, must sign the Social Contract to register your equity interest in the company. But you cannot sign on your own behalf. And why is this you ask? Well, your signature cannot be verified in Brazil, since you have no legal status there. So, you will need to grant a power of attorney, or POA, to the person, generally a lawyer although an accountant can perform the same function, but for obvious reasons using an accountant to do legal work is generally not recommended, as they will draft and file your Social Contact. To complicate things more the POA must be signed and notarized in the USA, and then legalized or consularized by the Brazilian Consulate which has jurisdiction over the state in which you reside. And to complicate things even more, most Brazilian Consulates, for whatever reason, only accept postal money orders to pay for the fees involved. That’s right, no checks (very un-Brazilian), not even bank or certified checks, no credit cards and no cash. In any event, the legalized POA must then be translated by what is know as a sworn translator in Brazil and registered before the public notary there.

Following this you need to register with the Office of Federal Revenue of the Finance Ministry, to obtain a tax identification number, known as a CNPJ number, which also registers employees with the National Institute of Social Security. You will also need to register with the Tax Authorities of the state in Brazil in which you have formed your Limitada. Needless to say there are several other steps, including getting authorization to print invoices and receipts, obtaining an operational permit and registering employees with in the unemployment insurance program. You may even be required to obtain a Fire Brigade license from the state in which you have formed your Limitada. But, I will not elaborate on the rest of the steps at this time, since I wouldn’t want to lose the few readers who have stuck with me this far. However, if you would like to review all the steps, and the estimated time required to complete them, you can do so by taking a look the World Bank’s Doing Business Website at www.doingbusiness.org. Next time we’ll introduce you to someone who can help you coordinate and facilitate all the various tasks you’ll need to complete to get your business up and running, from obtaining permits and import and export licenses, to simply helping you maneuver through the various levels of governmental bureaucracy in Brazil.

Part 4 next week…

Mr. DiPaolo is the co-founding managing director of The Fidelis Group do Brasil Consultoria, Ltda., a legal/business consultancy specializing in assisting non-Brazilians who want to do business or invest in Brazil. He can be reached at dipaolo@fidelislaw.com.

Previous articles by Robert:

Doing Business In Brazil: Part 2 – The Variety of Brazilian Companies
Doing Business In Brazil: Part 1





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Getting a Permanent” Visa in Brazil”

By Robert Eugene DiPaolo
You might think that the fastest and easiest way to get a permanent visa in Brazil would be to marry a Brazilian. However, there is actually a more efficient and convenient way to obtain permanent residency in Brazil. And one that does not require you to make a lifetime commitment, or an emotion-based decision undertaken in the throes of passion on the way to the airport on the day your tourist visa is set to expire.

In an apparent effort to attract individual investments in Brazil, Brazil’s National Immigration Council, or the NIC, in October 2004, issued Resolution 60/04 regarding the issuance of permanent visas to individual foreign investors. This Resolution, which replaced Resolution 28 from November 1998, reduced the amount of money a foreign individual is required to invest in Brazil to obtain a permanent residency visa from US$200,000 to US$50,000, making this an affordable, efficient and convenient way to obtain permanent residency in Brazil.

This new regulation actually gives foreign investors two options. The first option, which we will refer to as Option 1″ allows the foreign investor to obtain a permanent visa by investing US$50,000 or more in Brazil. The second option, which we will refer to as “Option 2” permits the foreign individual to invest less than US$50,000 in connection with the submission of a plan to create at least ten new jobs in the five year period following the date of such investment. In either case, the funds must be invested into a newly formed or an existing Brazilian company and employed in productive activities in Brazil.

There a few things that you should know about this permanent visa for foreign investors. First, while it is referred to in the resolution as a “permanent visa”, it is actually something less than permanent. In fact, this permanent visa expires after five years. At the end of five years the law allows the investor to renew the visa by demonstrating that he or she continues to be an investor in Brazil and presenting documentation in connection therewith. Given that it has been less than five years since this resolution was enacted, the process by which such renewal will be granted is not yet clear. However, since the sole requirement in terms of the use of the invested funds is that they be deployed toward productive activities in Brazil, it’s reasonable to anticipate that the investment must remain in Brazil and be deployed during such five year period into some productive activity, such as opening a new business, participating in an existing business, or purchasing a piece of real estate. With respect to Option 2, it’s reasonable to anticipate that at the end of such five year period, the investor will need to have created at least ten jobs in Brazil as specified in his or her investment plan.

The second thing you should understand about this visa is that while the criteria to obtain a visa pursuant to Option 1 are completely objective, the criteria pursuant to Option 2 are completely subjective. Under Option 1, if you invest US$50,000 or more in a new or existing company, properly register the investment in Brazil, and apply for the visa, you will be issued the residency visa. Unlike many other things in Brazil, the process is fairly straightforward. Under Option 2 however, the new law does not provide any guidelines regarding what criteria should be used to evaluate the investor’s plan to create ten new jobs in Brazil, or what amount of money less than US$50,000 would be considered reasonable to do so. As a result, the NIC’s evaluation and decision is completely discretionary. This means that the review of a visa application pursuant to Option 2 will take much longer and that decisions pursuant thereto will likely not be uniform so as to provide any real guidance for the would be investor to follow. So, if you don’t happen to have US$50,000 to invest in Brazil, marriage may prove to be your best option. If however you do, then this is the most convenient and efficient way to secure permanent residency in Brazil.

The third thing you should know about this visa is that there is a lot of misinformation about it, including at the website of Consulate General of Brazil in San Francisco, which confuses the requirements of Option 1 and Option 2. Others have incorrectly assumed that the requirement that the invested funds must be employed in productive activities in Brazil prohibits the investor from purchasing non-commercial real estate, such as a beach house, or other investments which may not seem to have an obvious commercial purpose. The law simply does not specify what “productive activities” means or does not mean, and given that any such purchase will be made through a newly formed or existing company, there is no reason to assume that such purchases would not satisfy the requirements set forth in this resolution. In any event, if you wish to acquire an investor visa, it is advised that you obtain your advice from a competent professional, who is familiar with the law and its related requirements. And if you happen to read Portuguese, you can read the full text of the resolution yourself, which can be easily found by putting “Resoluão Normativa n 60, de 06 de outubro de 2004” into your favorite search engine on the world wide web.

The purpose of this article is not to bore you with all the details regarding the process which you will need to go through to obtain a permanent residency visa by investing in Brazil, from organizing a new company, obtaining your tax payer identity card or Cadastro de Pessosa Fsicas to registering your investment with Banco Central do Brasil, but to provide you with a clear understanding of the legal requirements, and to dispel frequent misunderstandings about them. When you are ready to undertake the task of obtaining a permanent investor visa, your lawyer will guide you through all the steps you will need to take. If you choose Option 1, the process is fairly straight forward and completely objective. However, if you are considering Option 2, which generally speaking is not recommended, you may want to reconsider the marriage option. Just don’t make your decision on the way to the airport on the last day on which your tourist visa is valid. Such a decisions made in the throes of passion often end up being far more costly, not to mention complicated, in the long run.

Mr. DiPaolo is the managing director of The Fidelis Group do Brasil Consultoria, Ltda., a legal/business consultancy specializing in assisting non-Brazilians who want to do business or invest in Brazil and Brazilians who want to do business or invest in the U.S. You can find out more about The Fidelis Group at www.fidelisgroupco.com or contact Mr. DiPaolo directly at dipaolo@fidelisgroupco.com.

Previous articles by Robert:

Doing Business In Brazil: Part 5 – Acquisitions, Investments and Joint Ventures
Doing Business In Brazil: Part 4 – The Despachante
Doing Business In Brazil: Part 3 – Starting Your Business
Doing Business In Brazil: Part 2 – The Variety of Brazilian Companies
Doing Business In Brazil: Part 1

Understanding Brazil: CTPS – The Work Card

By Volker Ruther
This is one in a series of helpful articles by Volker which are a collection of information and experiences about how and where to get documents and permissions, or how to resolve bureaucratic subjects and matters in Brazil as a foreigner.

Note that although the best efforts have been made to ensure the information is valid, we cannot guarantee that it is 100% correct, as the article is based on a mixture of personal experiences and information that has been collected from various sources like Internet sites, official documents and an exchange of experiences with other foreigners in Brazil. Also even Brazilian law is subject to change, and often difficult to interpret.

Always check your own situation via a suitable source e.g. consulate or appropriately qualified lawyer, before proceeding.


To be able to work legally in Brazil it&rsquot;s necessary to have the Carteira de Trabalho e Previdncia Social (CTPS, the Work and Social Security Card). This is issued by the Delegacia Regional do Trabalho (DRT, the Regional Work Delegacy) located in larger cities. When you get a job it is entered on the CTPS, which is also updated with new jobs, raises, and holidays/vacations.

You need the following documents to apply for the CTPS, depending on your visa status and if you already have a CIE (Cdula de Identidade de Estrangeiro, the foreigner&rsquot;s ID card covered in the previous article).

It’s possible to apply for the CTPS while waiting for the visa, as long as the Federal Police can provide the printout of the SINCRE (Sistema Nacional de Registro de Estrangeiros).

Here is a table of the document requirements depending on your Visa status:

Type of VisaWith CIEWithout CIE
Residence/Permanent (Permanente)1. Application form
2. Photocopy of the CIE
1. Application form
2. Photocopy of the Protocolo from the application for the CIE
3. Photocopy of the printout of the SINCRE
4. Photocopy of passport
Temporary V (Temporario V)1. Application form
2. Photocopy of the CIE
3. Photocopy of the working contract
4. Photocopy of passport
5. Publication of the DOU
1. Application form
2. Photocopy of the Protocolo from the application for the CIE
3. Photocopy of the working contract
4. Photocopy of passport
5. Publication of the DOU
Provisional Registration (Registro Provisório)1. Application form
2. Photocopy of the CIE
1. Application form
2. Photocopy of the Protocolo from the application for the CIE
3. Photocopy of the printout of the SINCRE


As part of the application you will also need to provide a 3x4cm photo (colour or black and white).

The photocopy of the passport must contain the main page with all personal details and also the page with the visa and the stamp when you entered Brazil.

When all documents have been handed in successfully, the CTPS will be ready in around 10 days. The validity is as per the the CIE, usually 10 years.

The DOU (Dirio Oficial da União) newspaper can be viewed at http://www.in.gov.br or http://www.mj.gov.br.

To contact Volker, as well as get a copy of his free eBook (PDF) of this information, send an email to mineiro_alemao@hotmail.com.

Previous articles by Volker:

Understanding Brazil: CIE – Foreigners ID CardUnderstanding Brazil: The Permanent Visa

Teaching English In Brazil Part 21

By Joe Lopes
Continuing from last week here&rsquot;s the final part of Joe&rsquot;s excellent and epic guide to teaching English in Brazil. To read the previous parts click the relevant links at the bottom of the page.

Tools of the Teaching Trade
When I finally get home, I take a brisk shower to shake off the effects of the subway and bus ride, but wasn’t really able to relax, not with that HBO video on my mind. After grabbing another bite to eat, I hunker down to commence my laborious transcription.

Wouldn’t you know it, the telephone rings, only this time it’s Flora, apologizing for having wasted my time and asking me to please return the video tomorrow, as she has just learned that it’s not needed after all. Relieved, I graciously thank her and proceed to turn off the computer, television set, and VCR-now I can relax!

Some teachers may be curious as to what tools they might need in order to be set up for the life of a fulltime English-language instructor. Believe it or not, there’s really not all that much involved.

If you plan to teach in-company, you should carry with you a sturdy portable cassette player/recorder, preferably by a reputable maker. Try to avoid those quickie bargain-basement brands found on the stalls of so many camels (street vendors) scattered around town. They’re not worth the plastic they’re fabricated from. Cassette tapes are relatively cheap in price and can be used to record the sessions for later student playback.

The cassette player will be most useful for listening activities that accompany your language books. You’ll probably need some pointers on how to develop a decent library of materials, and on which learning aids to buy.

My own experience taught me that the excellent Interchange series of books (Cambridge University Publishers), along with Focus on Grammar, Business Objectives, True Stories in the News, Great Ideas, and other related workbooks and cassette tapes, are all good for practicing the Communicative Method. The best thing about them is that the teacher’s manuals come with ready-made lesson plans, thus saving you gobs of preparation time.

Where can you purchase these books and tapes? A good place to start is Livraria Cultura, located along Avenida Paulista in the Conjunto Nacional building, easily accessible by subway or bus. There are branches of this major bookstore chain in most large urban centers, but all their wares can be ordered online or by telephone. The staff are cordial and knowledgeable, an unbeatable combination in the time-is-money-conscious São Paulo. If you mention you&rsquot;re a teacher at Livraria Cultura you may be able to get a discount.

Another excellent resource for teachers is Special Book Services, or SBS for short. They’re situated on Alameda Barros, in the Santa Ceclia section of the city. As a self-employed language instructor, you can even participate in their program of discounts (anywhere from 5 to 10 percent off) on goods and items bought at any of their branch outlets. They’re not as large a concern as Cultura, but offer a wide variety of teaching aids. And the employees are equally patient and polite, though not as well informed as the people at the Cultura stores.

Teaching at home will require additional implements in the way of blackboards, whiteboards, chalk, dictionaries, thesauruses, erasers, folders, markers, highlighters, paper, pens, and pencils, in addition to classroom furniture. These can be found in stores specializing in school and office supplies.

One of the best is Unilivros on Rua São Bento in downtown São Paulo, which caters to students and faculty of most of the well-known institutions of higher learning, including various private schools, colleges and universities. Their materials tend toward the pricier side, but they’re worth the extra cost if you are seriously inclined to making the teaching profession a lifelong endeavor.

For electronic or computer equipment, many of the local department stores are prime candidates for your patronage. Try Casas Bahia, Eletro-Brs, Lojas Pernambucanas, or other similar establishments, readily found in the ubiquitous shopping malls in just about every neighborhood.

Be wary of stores offering a payment plan called parcelado, or monthly installments, as the interest on your original purchase will mount up precipitously; their rates are notoriously high at best, so avoid them like the plague.

As a final wrap-up to this topic, it may be to your best advantage to buy as many of the teaching aids you think you might need even before you reach Brazilian shores.

Of course, it’s difficult to plan that far forward, or to anticipate your future needs, with regard to the type of students you’ll be teaching; but it could save you big bucks later on, and spare you a major portion of your expense outlay, in buying up as many of the books, tapes, learning materials, and videos as you can possibly lay your hands on. These items are very expensive in Brazil, due mostly to the unfavorable exchange rates-although they are all supposedly free from import duties and taxes.

Don’t forget to ask for assistance from colleagues, compatriots, friends, acquaintances, relatives, and people you socialize with who are in the teaching profession, especially those with intimate knowledge of the ups-and-downs of the English language market. You’ll need their expertise, counsel and advice to keep you going when the going gets tough, which it frequently will from time to time-trust me on this.

When in doubt, just drop me a note. I’ll be glad to respond to any questions or concerns you may have about teaching English as a foreign language in Brazil.

Have fun, stay healthy, keep smiling, and boa sorte (good luck)!

Copyright 2006 by Josmar F. Lopes

A naturalized American citizen born in Brazil, Joe Lopes was raised and educated in New York City, where he worked for many years in the financial sector. In 1996, he moved to Brazil with his wife and daughters. In 2001, he returned to the U.S. and now resides in North Carolina with his family. You can email your comments to JosmarLopes@msn.com.


To read previous articles by Joe Lopes click below:

Teaching English In Brazil Part 20
Teaching English In Brazil Part 19
Teaching English In Brazil Part 18
Teaching English In Brazil Part 17
Teaching English In Brazil Part 16
Teaching English In Brazil Part 15
Teaching English In Brazil Part 14
Teaching English In Brazil Part 13
Teaching English In Brazil Part 12
Teaching English In Brazil Part 11
Brazil: Thrills, Spills, and… Oh Yes, No Ifs, Ands or Head-Butts, Please
Teaching English In Brazil Part 10
Teaching English In Brazil Part 9
Brazil: A Fever Called Corinthians Part 4
Brazil: Taking Flight on Florencia’s Fragile Wings Part 4
Brazil: A Fever Called Corinthians Part 3
Brazilian World Cup Debacle: Just Wait Till 2010! Part 2
Brazilian World Cup Debacle: Just Wait Till 2010! Part 1
Brazil: Taking Flight on Florencia’s Fragile Wings Part 3
Brazil: A Fever Called Corinthians Part 2
Brazil: Taking Flight on Florencia&rsquot;s Fragile Wings Part 2
Brazil: A Fever Called Corinthians Part 1
Brazil: Taking Flight on Florencia’s Fragile Wings Part 1
Teaching English In Brazil Part 8
Teaching English In Brazil Part 7
Teaching English In Brazil Part 6
Teaching English In Brazil Part 5
Teaching English In Brazil Part 4
Teaching English In Brazil Part 3
Teaching English In Brazil Part 2
A German Ring in the Brazilian Rainforest Part 4
A German Ring in the Brazilian Rainforest Part 3
Teaching English In Brazil – Part I
A German Ring in the Brazilian Rainforest Part 2
A German Ring in the Brazilian Rainforest Part 1
Down in Brazil,” with Michael Franks Part 3
“Down in Brazil,” with Michael Franks Part 2
“Down in Brazil,” with Michael Franks Part 1
Brazil: A Candid Talk with Gerald Thomas
Getting to the “bottom” of Brazil’s Gerald Thomas
A Brazilian Diva Torn Between Europe and Brazil
The Enraged Genius of Brazil&rsquot;s Maestro Neschling
A German Ring in the Brazilian Rainforest
Brazil’s Musical Polyglots: What Was That You Were Singing?
Did Bossa Nova Kill Opera in Brazil?

Teaching English In Brazil Part 20

By Joe Lopes
Continuing from last week here’s part 20 of Joe’s excellent guide to teaching English in Brazil. To read the previous parts click the relevant links at the bottom of the page.

Language & Cultural Barriers
I get to Santana and immediately mount the long flight of stairs down to street level to transfer to a bus. When I was a rookie paulistano and still green in the ways of commuting, I used to wait on those interminable queues at the subway station for the next bus to take me home. Later, I learned to walk to the next corner, a mere two blocks away, where the choice in bus lines was far greater and the waiting time next to nothing.

Today, I happen to take a bus that I&rsquot;m not too familiar with, and notice that it turns into a side street I&rsquot;ve never been on before. Realizing I probably took the wrong conveyance in error, I walk up to the cobrador (change-maker) and ask him if the bus goes to Avenida Nova Cantareira. He stares at me for a moment and doesn&rsquot;t answer.

Equally perplexed, I ask him a second time if the bus goes to Nova Cantareira. He rattles off some incomprehensible riposte, but then I notice a metal sign behind him that indicates this bus definitely does not go to my desired destination. I hurriedly get off and take the next one to the correct stop.

For someone such as myself – born in Brazil, but raised in the good ole USA – the impenetrable parlance of many of the Nordestinos (people from the Northeast), who populate the greater metropolitan area, both intrigued and exasperated me. But there was more than just their accent at work here. After being away from the country for close to 40 years, the native culture was now as alien to me as that of Afghanistan&rsquot;s.

As an example, I once went with my wife to the Santana subway station in preparation for a trip to downtown. I decided to make a quick pit stop into the men&rsquot;s room before venturing forth. It was the first time I had been in a Brazilian public restroom in nearly a quarter century, but I rightly assumed it to be similar (in most respects) to every other restroom I had ever used in my life, so I did not expect much in the way of difficulty.

When I got inside, I was greeted by a long and glistening metallic trough. It was slightly higher than my waist and covered the entire length of the bathroom wall. Not finding any of the usual stalls or urinals I had been accustomed to seeing in the States, I deduced that this must be where the guys did their thing, so I opened up the old fly, stood on my tiptoes, and proceeded to relieve myself.

No sooner had I begun, than a highly indignant subway employee – dressed somewhat like the janitor, I suppose – came over and started yelling at me. He rudely pushed me aside, the action of which led me to inquire as to the reason for his belligerent behavior. I gathered from his loud demeanor that I had committed some grievous faux pas, but couldn&rsquot;t imagine what it might have been.

Zipping up my trousers, I attempted to explain myself to this hothead. From what I could fathom of the janitor&rsquot;s shrill reprove, I shouldn&rsquot;t have been doing what I had just done. Suddenly, it dawned on me that I had urinated in the public sink tank, set aside for the main purpose of washing one&rsquot;s hands and face.

I beat a hasty retreat from the restroom, flushed with enough vergonha (embarrassment) to light up Jardim Frana at Christmastime, and ran right into the protective arms of my dear and loving wife – who laughed uncontrollably at my discomfort when I told her what had transpired.

Let this particular incident serve as notice to any-and-all male newcomers to Brazil: when in doubt as to the public rest facilities, make sure you ask around before dipping your paintbrush into an unknown well.

It should also demonstrate to all foreign teachers that you must bring your Portuguese language and culture skills up to an acceptable communicative level, or you will be left by the wayside should a truly serious situation develop that necessitates your total involvement.

Part 21 next week…

Copyright 2006 by Josmar F. Lopes

A naturalized American citizen born in Brazil, Joe Lopes was raised and educated in New York City, where he worked for many years in the financial sector. In 1996, he moved to Brazil with his wife and daughters. In 2001, he returned to the U.S. and now resides in North Carolina with his family. You can email your comments to JosmarLopes@msn.com.


To read previous articles by Joe Lopes click below:

Teaching English In Brazil Part 19
Teaching English In Brazil Part 18
Teaching English In Brazil Part 17
Teaching English In Brazil Part 16
Teaching English In Brazil Part 15
Teaching English In Brazil Part 14
Teaching English In Brazil Part 13
Teaching English In Brazil Part 12
Teaching English In Brazil Part 11
Brazil: Thrills, Spills, and… Oh Yes, No Ifs, Ands or Head-Butts, Please
Teaching English In Brazil Part 10
Teaching English In Brazil Part 9
Brazil: A Fever Called Corinthians Part 4
Brazil: Taking Flight on Florencia&rsquot;s Fragile Wings Part 4
Brazil: A Fever Called Corinthians Part 3
Brazilian World Cup Debacle: Just Wait Till 2010! Part 2
Brazilian World Cup Debacle: Just Wait Till 2010! Part 1
Brazil: Taking Flight on Florencia&rsquot;s Fragile Wings Part 3
Brazil: A Fever Called Corinthians Part 2
Brazil: Taking Flight on Florencia’s Fragile Wings Part 2
Brazil: A Fever Called Corinthians Part 1
Brazil: Taking Flight on Florencia&rsquot;s Fragile Wings Part 1
Teaching English In Brazil Part 8
Teaching English In Brazil Part 7
Teaching English In Brazil Part 6
Teaching English In Brazil Part 5
Teaching English In Brazil Part 4
Teaching English In Brazil Part 3
Teaching English In Brazil Part 2
A German Ring in the Brazilian Rainforest Part 4
A German Ring in the Brazilian Rainforest Part 3
Teaching English In Brazil – Part I
A German Ring in the Brazilian Rainforest Part 2
A German Ring in the Brazilian Rainforest Part 1
Down in Brazil,” with Michael Franks Part 3
“Down in Brazil,” with Michael Franks Part 2
“Down in Brazil,” with Michael Franks Part 1
Brazil: A Candid Talk with Gerald Thomas
Getting to the “bottom” of Brazil&rsquot;s Gerald Thomas
A Brazilian Diva Torn Between Europe and Brazil
The Enraged Genius of Brazil’s Maestro Neschling
A German Ring in the Brazilian Rainforest
Brazil&rsquot;s Musical Polyglots: What Was That You Were Singing?
Did Bossa Nova Kill Opera in Brazil?