Brazil's decision to lift limit on Haitian visas humanitarian: official

Source:Xinhua Published: 2013-5-1 11:27:46

Brazil's decision to throw open its doors to Haitian immigrants by removing a cap on the number of work visas allotted to the country was a humanitarian one, Brazilian Foreign Ministry spokesman Tovar da Silva Nunes said Tuesday.

The decision to lift the cap on visas, announced on Monday, is designed to encourage Haitians to apply for a work permit, rather than enter the country illegally, said Nunes.

"It's a humanitarian decision. Our goal is to avoid having these people fall into the hands of smugglers," said Nunes.

Last year, the Brazilian government began granting some 1,200 work visas a year to Haitian citizens through its embassy in Haiti's capital Port-au-Prince.

However, the number of undocumented Haitian immigrants in Brazil has multiplied in the past year, especially along the northern border.

Earlier this month, the government of northern Acre state declared a state of emergency in two of its border towns, Epitaciolandia and Brasileia, saying the wave of immigration had overburdened municipal services and calling for federal aid.

With that in mind, Nunes said, the Brazilian government decided to do away with its cap on visas for Haitians.

The situation in Epitaciolandia and Brasileia has reportedly improved since the federal government stepped in to help state officials.

A foreign ministry team carried out a large-scale operation to provide assistance and documents to the new immigrants and try to help them find jobs so that they can more easily integrate into the Brazilian society.

Haitian immigrants have increased since a 2010 earthquake leveled much of the capital, devastating an already poverty-stricken nation.
Posted in: Americas

blog comments powered by Disqus