By Jay Forte, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – New laws are being introduced in Brazil to increase and better regulate the influx of Haitian immigrants entering the porous borders of northern Brazil. The resolution of the National Immigration Council, which provides for the issuance of limited work visas for Haitians, was published today (January 13th).
The government press announced the new visa is granted for humanitarian reasons, and available for a term of five years. Recipients will receive a temporary CIE – Cédula de Identidade do Estrangeiro (Foreign Identity Card).
Justice Minister José Eduardo Cardozo said that Brazil would grant the work visas to 2,400 Haitians who are stuck in two Amazon border towns and that an additional 1,600 Haitians in Brazil have been given visas already.
The humanitarian reasons are in reference to the worsening living conditions in Haiti since the earthquake there on January 12, 2010. Brazil has responded to the call for help in Haiti, spending R$1 billion on relief efforts so far.
The objective of the new immigration legislation is to control the recent arrival of Haitian immigrants who have entered the country through Acre and Amazonas. According to the Ministry of Justice, 4,000 Haitians arrived last year alone.
The new visa will be granted through the Embassy of Brazil in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, and allow up to 1,200 visas per year, corresponding to an average of 100 per month.
In addition, Haitians who have their status legalized in Brazil may bring their relatives, as any other foreigner who lives in the country regularly. Parents, spouse or partner, children up to the age of 24 years if single, may accompany the immigrant.
In October it was reported the number of foreigners residing in Brazil has increased by 52.4 percent over the previous six months, reported the Ministério da Justiça (Ministry of Justice).
Former president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva in 2009 granted immigration amnesty to those then living illegally in Brazil with the possibility of permanent residency status within two years, which has added to the number.
The largest groups that received the immigration amnesty are the Bolivians (40 percent of the total of about 47,000 temporary visas issued), Chinese (13 percent), Peruvians (11 percent), Paraguay (10 percent) and Korean (3 percent).
Read more (in Portuguese).
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