A backlash against foreign workers coming into Brazil is making it difficult for Atlanta companies to operate there, Glenn Faulk, foreign visa advisor for Fragomen, Del Rey, Bernsen & Loewy, P.C., told GlobalFax upon his return from Sao Paulo in mid-November.

     The backlash, due to a 20% unemployment rate, devalued currency and pressure from national labor unions, has resulted in the government making it harder for foreign workers to enter the country and requiring foreign technology firms to have their contracts registered, he added.

Now the government  must review contracts for all copyrights, patents, know-how, trade secrets and other intellectual property content. The registration can take up to three months and must be complete before any work permits may be filed.

The number of work permits issued to foreign employees has been reduced and a special type of work permit has been created for technology workers. The permit requires legalized proof of two years applicable experience with letters from employers and the procedure may require copies of university diplomas.

Many U.S. companies made joint ventures and technical service agreements with Brazilian companies during the privatization of Brazil’s telecommunications industry in late 1998. Since then, many of those companies have been bringing in employees to set up operations. “Government workers that were not needed after telecommunications privatization are jobless,” Mr. Faulk said. political situation is driving a backlash against immigration.”

Mr. Faulk may be reached by telephone at (404) 249-1214, or by fax at (404) 249-1391. His E-mail address is gfaulk@fragomen.com