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How to contract and pay remote workers in Brazil

Brazil is a country integrated into the global economy but at the same time famous for its huge amount of regulations. This makes it often challenging for foreign investors or international companies that want to participate in the Brazilian economy in one way or the other.

For large companies it is almost a must to have a physical presence in Brazil. Having a Brazilian tax number and an office in the country opens a lot of doors that otherwise would remain closed. Since the market is very big it is even interesting for mid-sized companies to start a physical presence, especially for suppliers of goods and merchandise.

In the digital economy, however, physical location is not of the same importance. Therefore, more companies are now willing to contract remote workers from outside the country. Brazilians looking for interesting and challenging jobs are very happy to accept such opportunities. Home office activities have gained growing importance over the past years. Especially individuals working in the IT-sector are familiar with the concept of remote jobs. But also other activities like sales and marketing for international brands are organized in this way.

How to find international remote workers in Brazil

Finding qualified remote workers in Brazil can be challenging. Especially when you are located in another country and have little knowledge about Brazil and maybe do not speak Portuguese as well. International companies looking for remote workers in Brazil need to find the few individuals that are qualified for the job and are more or less fluent in English at the same time. There are in deed people in Brazil who are fluent in different languages. But how to find them?

Job search engines in Brazil are one way to get started. There are quite a few of them including Catho, Vagas and InfoJobs. Companies located outside of Brazil might find it challenging to use one of these sites in case the registration process requires a Brazilian tax number. It is quite common in Brazil to use tax numbers as a requirement for online registration procedures. The second challenge is the language barrier. Since most job search engines in Brazil are focussed on the Brazilian market, they are not available in English.

One solution is to hire Brazilian headhunters or a Brazilian human resources company. Another option is to switch over to LinkedIn to look for Brazilian remote workers. LinkedIn has become one of the most important social networks for Brazilian professionals who are looking for international opportunities. There is a high chance that professionals using LinkedIn also have an advanced knowledge of English language.

How to contract international remote workers in Brazil

Contracting a Brazilian remote worker from his home office is not that easy if the contracting company does not have a physical presence in Brazil. For this reason, Brazilians working for companies abroad register their own tax number and become self-employed or freelancers.

While this is technically a bureaucratic step that can be taken by any Brazilian citizen of full age, the payment of Brazilian remote workers is more complicated. Regulations in the financial sector plus the taxation of cross-border payments are giving headaches to Brazilian remote workers and their purchasers.

To solve this problem, most Brazilian international remote workers decide to avoid traditional banks and use digital payment systems or fintech companies from inside and outside the country.

How to pay international remote workers in Brazil

Brazilian professionals working out of their home office for international companies abroad usually do so as an independent collaborator or freelancer. That means they use their own business tax number but they do not become an employee of the contracting company. Being an employee in Brazil means falling under the regulations of the Brazilian labor law CLT. CLT is defining every detail of the relationship between employer and employees but it is usually applied within the national borders of the country. Professionals working for international companies abroad do not fall under the CLT law. They are independent collaborators running their own small business which could be an ME company for example (ME = micro empresa).

To pay an international remote worker in Brazil foreign companies need to transfer money to Brazil. This usually happens on a monthly basis similar to a salary payment. Regulations in the Brazilian banking system are not very helpful for such transactions. That is why Brazilians working for companies abroad avoid traditional bank accounts to receive their payments and use fintech solutions instead.

The best solutions to pay international remote workers in Brazil are:

Each of these fintechs or online payment providers has its own business model. One of the big obstacles in the Brazilian financial system is to get money into the country. It is not possible to simply transfer money to a Brazilian bank account from outside Brazil. Professionals who need to receive their payment from outside the country are confronted with bureaucratic issues and obstructions, financial import taxes and prejudicial (tourism) exchange rates. This means they loose a considerable amount of their payments even before they pay regular income tax. In an international digital economy where people work independently from their physical location this is a problem. And fintechs have found solutions.

Husky

Husky is a Brazilian payment provider focussing on the needs of Brazilian professionals working for companies abroad. They charge a fixed fee of 4% which includes regular financial import taxes. Users can reduce their fee by inviting others to the platform.

Husky colaborates with Brazilian investment banks who open up international bank accounts for Husky clients. This way, the employer abroad will receive an invoice from his Brazilian remote worker and make the payment directly to the international bank account using international wire transfer. In its current version, Husky only allows to receive payments from abroad. There are no additional functions like sending money to other accounts or other countries. It is simply about receiving international payments.

The employer abroad does not need a Husky account. Only the Brazilian freelancer needs an account on the Husky platform. Once the payment has arrived in Brazil (which usually takes about 2 days), Husky will automatically transfer it to the individual banking account of the Brazilian freelancer.

Husky was created in 2016 and registered about 6.000 clients in the first three years. In 2017, Husky received the title of “Best Startup in Latin America” at the Demo Day Event in Chile.

RemessaOnline

RemessaOnline is a Brazilian payment provider that works similar to Husky. The company receives payments from abroad using international bank accounts in colaboration with Brazilian banks. It charges a fee of 1,38%. For the employer abroad the procedure is the same as on the Husky platform: he/she will make an international wire transfer to a bank account in Brazil. Once the payment has arrived, RemessaOnline will transfer the amount to the bank account of the Brazilian remote worker.

Different than Husky, RemessaOnline also offers to send money abroad from Brazil. This makes it a more complete payment provider. The company was founded in 2016 and got about 200.000 clients in its first three years.

Wise

Wise is a financial transaction provider from the United Kingdom. Formerly known as TransWise the company has a number of transaction services and is widely used within the international freelancer and remote worker community. Besides transactions from a Wise account the company also offers debit cards that can be used in many countries of the world.

To pay a Brazilian remote worker using Wise the company from abroad needs a Wise account. The Brazilian collaborator, however, does not need a Wise account. It is possible in Brazil to open such an account but technically the payments from abroad can go straight to the bank account of the Brazilian remote worker. In these transactions the fees are not paid by the remote worker in Brazil but by the employer abroad.

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