By Chesney Hearst, Contributing Reporter

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – A significant rise in the number of foreign immigrants coming into Brazil is seen as an indication of the country’s varied opportunities, as well as the relative lack of options abroad since the global economic crisis. While the process of gaining legal residency and finding work in Brazil is not simple, more and more are finding a way each year.

Sam Flowers moved from the U.S. to open the Gringo Cafe in Ipanema, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil News
Sam Flowers moved from the U.S. to open the successful Gringo Cafe in Ipanema in 2010, photo by Gringo Cafe.

A recent report by O Globo states that the number of requests for a Cadastro de Pessoas Físicas (CPF) by foreigners after they have obtained legal residence in the country has increased ten percent since 2011.

Analyzed data from the Registro Nacional de Estrangeiros (RNE), a document issued by the Department of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Justice (MJ), also showed that the number of legal foreign residents has boomed in the last decade.

The report shows the numbers jumped from 22,418 in 2002 to last year’s figure of 1,466,584, equal to the entire population of the city Porto Alegre, the capital of southern state Rio Grande do Sul.

Immigration specialists are attributing the influx of people to Brazil’s increased credibility and economic stability which began during presidency of Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva (Lula) between January, 2003 – December, 2010.

Also in 2009, Brazil’s ex-President Lula signed into legislation Law 11961/09, better known as the Amnesty Law. The law promised temporary amnesty to foreigners living illegally in Brazil, and created a path towards permanent residency within two years.

Of the over 43,000 individuals who were granted amnesty, Bolivians are believed to be the greatest beneficiaries, numbering over 17,000, mostly in the state of São Paulo. Other notable nationalities to apply for amnesty are Chinese (5,500), Peruvians (4,600), Paraguayans (4,100), and Koreans (1,100). Approximately 2,400 Europeans are also believed to have received amnesty under the law.

Mutiple pre-sal discoveries off of the country’s south-east coast have also stimulated the Brazilian oil industry, causing many involved in that business to relocate to the country. “Brazil is the new hub of global petroleum. Anyone who works in the field has to be here now,” Joe Lochridge, a commercial director of an American company that drills and exports Brazilian oil, told O Globo.

A growing interest in gastronomy and international cuisine is also enticing international chefs and restaurateurs to take up residence in Brazil. By opening a business in Brazil using an investment visa, many foreigner entrepreneurs are able to establish a means of income and the ability to live in Brazil legally.

Read more (in Portuguese)

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