domingo, 30 de agosto de 2009

Lula announces amnesty for foreigners living in Brazil

July 5, 2009.

Up to 50,000 foreigners living illegally in Brazil look set to benefit from an amnesty announced by President Lula on Thursday (July 2).
From Monday, July 6, foreigners living in the country illegally since February 1 or before can register to have their situations ‘regularised’. The amnesty is a repeat of a process carried out in 1988, and again in 1998, when 60,000 ‘irregulars’ benefited.
Brazil doesn’t recognise ‘illegal’ immigrants - foreigners living in the country without the appropriate visa are termed ‘irregulars’. Irregular immigrants have 180 days to apply to the federal police for an inicial two-year visa. Ninety days before the two years are up, foreigners can apply to have their situation made permanent.
The news looks set to benefit those ‘gringoes’ who have fallen in love with the country and found themselves unable to drag themselves back home after their tourist visas have expired. The two-year visa will give foreigners full health and education rights, as well as the rights to work legally in the country.
During the two years, foreigners are free to leave and re-enter Brazil as they please.
But first-world immigrants are in the minority, and the aim of the amnesty is to benefit workers from poorer South American countries such as Bolivia and Paraguay.
Announcing the amnesty bill, President Lula said that he wanted Brazil to set an example to the rest of the world. He commented: “Nobody leaves the place of their birth because they want to, but because they want a better life for their family.”
Lula, who himself comes from a very poor family, added: “We don’t want to appear superior to anybody. All we want is for Brazilians living abroad to be treated in the same way that we are treating immigrants in this country. This is one more example that Brazil is giving to the world.”
Foreigners hoping to benefit from the amnesty will need to register with the federal police, and provide evidence that they have been living here since February 1 or earlier. People with criminal records in their home country will not be able to benefit from the amnesty.
To begin the process, a fee of R$98 applies. However, it looks like those who succesfully apply will be exempt from the overstay fine, which exceeds R$800 in many cases.

Source: The Rio Guide.

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