Brazilian strike ends – embassy and consulate staff back to work

The strike has ended and embassy and consulate workers are back at their Brazilian overseas consular posts.

Brazilian strike comes to an end Immigration
The strike by the union representing the public workers in Brazilian Embassies and Consulates overseas ended today. Embassy and Consulate workers are back on the job at Brazilian overseas consular posts. The processing of visas and other consular filings is resuming, but delays will continue while the Brazilian consular posts work to overcome the backlog of pending cases.

Immigration process resumes with full staff – significant delays still expected

For the first time in seven weeks, the overseas Brazilian Embassies and Consulates are opening today with their full complement of staff. The labour strike by workers in the Brazilian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA), which had been on going since 22 August, has ended. See our Immigration Dispatch of 6 September for more details. The results of a strike vote of the membership held last week was announced yesterday by Sinditamaraty, the union representing the MOFA foreign service workers. The membership voted almost 80 per cent in favour of ending the partial work stoppage, which lasted 44 days and affected 112 consular posts worldwide. Pro-Link GLOBAL has been closely monitoring this situation through our personnel working both in Brazil and in Brazilian overseas consular posts around the world. The strike’s impact on the immigration process varied widely depending on the consular post, visa volume, and number of workers participating in the strike locally. In some locations, the Brazilian Embassies and some Consulates continued to accept visa applications and process them with their 30-percent-reduced staff – while other consular posts completely suspended visa services other than for “emergency visas”. While the union has called its members back to work, relations between the union and the MOFA remain strained. Active legal disputes over compensation and benefits for the period of the strike remain, and no official agreement has been announced on the underlying compensation demands, which lead to the strike. Lawyers for Sinditamaraty have reportedly recommended to the returning membership to not work on the case backlog but only process new cases until disagreements over compensation for strike days are settled. 

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The union and the government had been in negotiations since March of 2015, but talks broke down in August. The union’s primary grievance is over salaries for its foreign service workers, which it argues are 30 per cent lower than those paid for comparable positions in the executive branch in Brazil. It is unknown still when talks will resume and whether the two sides have made movement toward a final compromise. This situation and its impact on the immigration process still remain in a state of flux. So Pro-Link GLOBAL will continue to closely monitor events and report on developments, which may impact its clients. 

How these changes affect you

The ending of the MOFA public workers strike is welcomed news. The full staff, who process visa applications and other consular filings, are back to work today in Brazilian consular posts around the world. However, with the underlying issues and other on going disputes between the MOFA and Sinditamaraty still in play, the situation remains tenuous.For applicants who have cases currently pending at a Brazilian overseas Embassy or Consulate, expect your case to move forward but at a continuing diminished pace. For those who have had to postpone submitting cases because of the strike, embassies and consulates are once again accepting applications, but expect those cases to also move forward at a slower than usual pace as the returning workers deal with the resulting backlog. In all cases of upcoming business travel to Brazil over the coming weeks, please contact your Pro-Link GLOBAL advisor well in advance so that we can anticipate your needs and attempt to minimize any delays.

For related news and features, visit our Immigration section.

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