November 21 saw the new Brazilian Migration Law (Law n. 13.445/2017) coming into effect after 180 days of its publication. On the same date, the Presidency of the Republic published the Decree n. 9.199/2017 regulating the aforementioned law.

The new Brazilian Migration Law revoked the Statute of the Foreigner, in effect since 1980, which aimed at regulating the migration from a national defense standpoint, altering it for a more humanitarian approach.

Among the new rules, it can be highlighted:

  • Protection to Stateless persons: prior to the enactment of the new Brazilian Migration Law, stateless persons were only protected by international treaties Brazil is a part to; the new law organizes international cooperation to protect such persons under the Brazilian legal system;
  • Humanitarian harbor: the new law created a specific visa to harbor refugees for humanitarian causes;
  • Document regularization: under the new law, immigrants without any valid documentation or with irregular documentation may seek to regularize their status within the country, as opposed to the prior law which set forth that such a person would have to leave the country to seek such a regularization;
  • Lawful and Union Reunions: the new Brazilian Migration Law permits the reunion of immigrants in lawful associations or for unionism purposes;
  • Maritime workers: the new legislation dismisses the need for cruise/maritime workers to pay taxes to disembark in Brazilian soil.

Although being generally praised as progressive and modern, the new legislation received criticism from the Federal Public Defense Office (Defensoria Pública da União) and human rights organizations, which claim especially that the Decree n. 9.199/2017 has provisions that clearly contradict the law itself. The Federal Public Defense Office therefore issued a memorandum suggesting 47 amendments to the legislation and hopes many of them will come into force.

Emerenciano, Baggio e Associados – Attorneys at Law are prepared to advise and structure the best solution for immigration issues arising out of the new legislation and eager to provide further information on the matter.

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