In another step towards the welcoming of Venezuelan immigrants into the country, the Brazilian government began the process of settling these immigrants in the cities of São Paulo and Cuiabá. At first, 300 immigrants was acclimated, including 80 families, who have opted to leave their point of entry in Boa Vista (Roraima).
São Paulo received single immigrants, while Cuiabá is prepared to receive families. The Venezuelans who chose to be settled have already received status as refugees or temporary residents, undergone
medical examinations and taken the vaccines indicated by the Ministry of Health (yellow fever, measles and diphtheria). The federal government is working in partnership with the municipalities involved and also the United Nations).
According to the deputy Head of Liaison and Monitoring of the Presidential Chief of Staff’s Office, Natalia Marcassa de Souza, the immigrants were transported in a Brazilian Air Force aircraft and accompanied throughout the process to the shelters, where they received support to integrate with Brazilian society and labour market.
“Before they are settled they receive a lot of guidance, including about the city they are, for them to understand things better. The idea is that they stay for three months in this initial shelter,” she explains. While in the shelter, they will have contact with the Portuguese language and obtain vocation training, while the children will be enrolled in Brazilian public schools.
Two other cities, Manaus and Campinas (SP), have shown interest in participating in the program to receive Venezuelans currently in Boa Vista, which has received about 38,000 immigrants in the last two years, increasing the local population by almost 10%. “Brazil does not close its borders. We have several international and humanitarian agreements. Brazil is a receptive country, and, to the extent of our possibilities, we will treat this as humanitarian assistance,” Souza reinforced.
In addition to the settlement of these immigrants, the government is already welcoming immigrants with shelters in Boa Vista, offering them food, access to healthcare and documentation. In the last month, the Ministry of Justice has published an ordinance that expedited the regularisation of these immigrants’ status in the country, making it easier for them to obtain a residence permit and request a temporary visa.
Another shelter, with the capacity to host and feed 220 immigrants, was opened in partnership with the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) in March. The Armed Forces have received and distributed meals to more than 1,200 Venezuelans in four shelters. A fifth one is currently being built, also in Boa Vista.