By Lise Alves, Senior Contributing Reporter
SÃO PAULO, BRAZIL – Due to the serious situation faced by Syrians today, the Brazilian government has announced that it will extend special visa concessions to those who sought asylum in Brazil as well as authorizing its diplomats in the Middle East to expedite the document processes for those requesting refugee status in Brazil.
“The committee has decided to extend for two years the concession of special visas to Syrian nationals and those affected by and also to authorize the Minister of Foreign Relations to conduct partnerships with international entities and agencies, such as the office of the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) to improve the issuance processes,” said Beto Vasconcelos, president of CONARE (National Committee for Refugees).
Vasconcelos spoke on Monday during a press conference in Brasilia, also noting that special attention would be given to Brazilian diplomatic mission offices in Turkey, Jordan and Lebanon. According to Vasconcelos the government is studying the possibility of increasing the number of Syrians to be allowed to seek asylum in Brazil.
The CONARE president also told reporters during the Monday press conference that the federal government has asked its Internal Revenue Service to accelerate the issuance of identity cards to these refugees as well as the work registry document so that these refugees may enter the Brazilian labor market as soon as possible.
“They are already the largest nationality of official refugees in Brazil today, but a small number compared to the number of Syrian refugees around the world which surpass four million,” he stated, noting that the country has taken in more Syrian nationals than any other country in South America.