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New Brazilian Migration Law is approved in Senate

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Photo: Cesar Muñoz Acebes/HRW

The Brazilian Senate approved on Tuesday, April 18, the Migration Law (Nova Lei das Migrações). The new Law text establishes the rules for the entry and residence of immigrants in Brazil. Now to go into effect it must await the signature of the President Michel Temer.

Among the elements of the new law is the guarantee of equal status of immigrants to that of Brazilians and access to public health and education services. The law also requires the issuance of documents that allow immigrants to enter the labor market and the right to social security benefits.

The law also grants permanent residence to immigrants who are legally or illegally in the country. The rule is valid for immigrants who entered Brazil before July 6, 2016 and apply up to one year after the beginning of the law, regardless of the previous immigration status.

The theme of migration has been debated in the Brazilian Congress for more than four years with suggestions from dozens of national and international organizations, government agencies and nongovernmental entities. It is estimated that approximately one million foreigners live in Brazil today, including those seeking refugee status.

However, according to lawyer Grover Calderón, president of the National Association of Foreigners and Immigrants of Brazil (ANEIB), there are approximately 60,000 foreigners in Brazil today who will benefit from the amnesty clause of the law and who can not be considered refugee.

Nor will the nationals of the Mercosur countries, with the exception of Venezuela (Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay, Bolivia, Chile, Peru, Colombia, Ecuador and Suriname) be automatically included in the amnesty, who are automatically granted authorization to live in Brazil.