FAQ on work and income

Labor and Employment - COVID-19

The pandemic caused by COVID-19 led to the enactment of the state of public calamity in Brazil and several measures needed to be implemented, among them, some related to labor laws, in order to protect the vulnerable population in the work environment, including migrant workers and refugees who chose the country to work.

Therefore, the Ministry of Economy, through the Secretariat for Labor Inspection (SIT) of the Special Secretariat for Social Security and Labor (Seprt), in partnership with the International Labor Organization (ILO), the International Organization for Migration (IOM) ) and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), developed this website with important information for migrants and refugees on the measures adopted in labor and employment relations, which are also available in Portuguese, Spanish, English, French and Arabic.

What do I need to legally work in Brazil?

Once you have your Provisional Protocol, you can request a Brazilian working permit (Carteira de Trabalho e Previdência Social – CTPS). This is the same document that Brazilians have, with the exception of its expiration date, that will be in accordance to your protocol. It means that every time your provisional protocol is renewed, your working permit will also be renewed. For those who already are recognized as refugees, the working permit will not have an expiration date. Please refer to the documentation section for more information.

What are my labor rights in Brazil?

Brazilian labor rights must be respected regardless of the employee’s nationality. Note that these labor rights include, among others:

  • Limit of a twelve-hour workday and 44 hours per week
  • Signature of the Working Permit by the employer.
  • Mandatory Paid vacation days
  • A thirteenth salary beyond the twelve salaries you normally receive per year
  • Monthly minimum wage (R $ 1045.00 if you work 44 hours per week) or proportional payment
  • A paid weekly rest day – preferably on Sundays

Download the Primer on Labor Rights for Immigrants and Refugees by clicking here (only in Portuguese and Spanish).

For more information on Labor Law in Brazil, go to http://trabalho.gov.br/

Important: If you suspect your labor rights are being disrespected you can seek legal assistance.

No company is hiring me because I do not speak Portuguese. What can I do?

Most companies will require a basic level of Portuguese in order to hire you. For more information about Portuguese courses, please refer to the section on education.

How can I find a job?

Once you have obtained your working permit, you can start looking for a job. Brazil has specialized public agencies, which link potential employees to companies. You can look for job openings at the website “Mais Emprego” from the Ministry of Labor.

If your city is not listed and you are not finding this kind of service in your municipality, you can contact UNHCR or one of its partners for more information.

How do I become a microentrepreneur (MEI)?

In Brazil, there is a mobility of individual microentrepreneurs (MEI) for businesses with revenues of up to R$ 81,000.00 per year. To qualify for this modality, you cannot participate in another company as a partner or holder, and you must have at most one contracted employee who receives the minimum wage or the floor of the category. The MEI will be exempt from federal taxes.

In order to become an individual microentrepreneur, make sure that the activity you want to perform is within the authorized occupations. Then, register on the entrepreneur’s portal.

Unlike the rules applied to Brazilians, immigrants who want to formalize as MEI need only inform the country of origin and the number of one of the following documents: national migratory registration card, provisional national migratory registration document or protocol for requesting asylum.

Where can I register as an individual microentrepreneur (MEI)?
On the MEI portal, click here to access it.

I think my labor rights are being disrespected. Where can I find legal assistance?

If you suspect your labor rights are being disrespected, you must seek legal assistance.

Labor rights of women in Brazil: I am a woman, am I entitled to the same labor rights as men?

Yes. In addition, women have certain specific rights such as:

  • Maternity leave of 120 days
  • A pregnant woman cannot be fired
  • A pregnant woman has the right to leave the job to go to the doctor
  • A woman cannot be fired without a just cause for five months after giving birth

Important: If you suspect your labor rights are being disrespected, you must seek legal assistance.

Child labor: Can children work in Brazil?

Children cannot work in Brazil if they are under 14 years old. In case they are 14 or older, they are only entitled to work under some special conditions:

  • Six Hours Working-day
  • The employer is obliged to grant time for them to go to school
  • The right to take his/her work vacation simultaneously with his/her school vacation
  • Children cannot work in dangerous situations
  • Children cannot work during night shifts

Important: If you suspect your labor rights are being disrespected, you must seek legal assistance.

What is the minimum wage in Brazil?

In Brazil, workers cannot receive a salary below the national minimum wage if they work 44 hours a week or more. The minimum value stipulated by the federal government is BRL 1,100.00, which can vary for more depending on the State.

Important: If you think your employer is not respecting the minimum wage, you must seek legal assistance.

Can the company sign me up for e-social?

Yes. E-social is a system where employers communicate with the government by passing on employee related information. Through this electronic transmission of information, the bureaucracy of tax, social security and labor obligations is reduced, and it is a way of ensuring that workers’ social security and labor rights are guaranteed.

To admit a refugee worker you do not need a National Migration Registry, Provisional Document for a National Migration Registry or a Refugee Application Protocol, you only need to have the CPF and NIS (PIS, PASEP or NIT) .

To learn more, visit the Federal Government website.

Am I a victim of modern slavery?

To see the complete booklet, click on the image below.