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Over 200 Haitian refugees find jobs in Brazil

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Camila Maciel and William Douglas report from Agência Brasil

Edited by: Denise Griesinger / Augusto Queiroz

Over 200 Haitian refugees, who arrived in the city of São Paulo after the beginning of April, have found their place in the Brazilian labor market. The information was released by Missão Paz, an institution managed by the Our Lady of Peace Catholic Church, located downtown, which has sheltered the foreign newcomers. According to Father Paolo Parise, director of the parish, most of the positions offered to the refugees are in the fields of construction, cleaning and repair services, and restaurants in the Brazil’s South region and Rio de Janeiro.

Ever since the earthquake devastated Haiti in 2010, Brazil has welcomed thousands of refugees from the Caribbean country. Today, approximately over a thousand entry visas for Brazil have been granted these citizens every month. This week, the Brazilian government announced it will stimulate the regular influx of Haitians in an effort to stop the work of middlemen who charge for taking immigrants across the border illegally. The government is still considering the possibility of creating special policies for Haitians, which would include Portuguese classes.

As for Haitians coming into São Paulo by bus from the northern state of Acre, where the shelter for immigrants is not longer in operation, Father Parise pointed out that many are now in possession of a legal Worker’s Record Books. “Thanks to the hard work done by the Ministry of Labor, more than 300 documents were handed out. This lowered the circulation of Haitians, as many have already been sent to work,” he reported.

The priest also called for the swifter issue of a document entitled National Foreigner’s Register, which facilitates Haitians’ entry into the Brazilian labor market. “It’s been a sluggish process so far,” he complained.

Haitians must have all their documents in compliance with Brazilian labor law so they can take the positions offered. Brazil grants them a humanitarian visa, which allows them to work and study in the country, and to make use of the same public services as a Brazilian citizen.

Translated by Fabrício Ferreira