According to Argentinean Deputy Consul in Brazil, Raul Ailán, since the end of the World Cup, about 250 Argentineans have sought help from the consulate. “Analyses on a case by case basis have found different scenarios. One of them is about documents stolen or lost, and another major case includes those among the Argentinean visitors who can’t afford to go back to their country. We have given special attention to those falling into one of these two scenarios,” he explained.
The Consulate of Argentina has issued 153 temporary passports for those of their citizens who do not have the required documents to return to Argentina. Furthermore, bus tickets were provided to 84 Argentineans to allow them to return to their home country.
“We have provided a bus ticket, and after looking at each case, we also gave an amount that should meet their meals costs in the coming days until they arrive in Argentina. Our estimate is that requests continue coming in for a few more days, but the flow should taper off in the course of the week,” Aidán said.
Among the 886,000 tourists who visited Rio de Janeiro during the World Cup, the paulistas (people from São Paulo state) (167,000) and the Argentineans (77,000) were the largest numbers according to the local tourism board.
In the same lines as it did in early 2013 to provide legal stay conditions for Haitian refugees who entered the country illegally, the federal government will set up a task force to expedite the issuance of temporary documents to Ghanaian immigrants who arrived in Brazil holding tourist visas during the World Cup and are now asking for asylum.
Justice Minister José Eduardo Cardozo met with representatives from the Foreign, Labor and Employment, and Social Development ministries, as well as the Federal Police, on Wednesday morning to discuss a plan of action.
In addition to the task force, the government will extend support – the specifics are still pending – to the City of Caxias do Sul, where the majority of Ghanaians are located. The efforts will begin immediately in the Federal Police units, but the joint mission of federal agencies in Caxias do Sul will start on Monday, July 21.
The Foreign Ministry reports 8,767 visas were issued to Ghanaians for the World Cup period. Not all visas authorizing entry into the country until July 13 for a period of 90 days were effectively used. The Federal Police Department confirmed that a total 2,529 Ghanaians actually entered the country, and of these, 1,397 have already left. Of those who remain in the country on the 90-day tourist visas, 180 applied as refugees.
Noerci da Silva Melo, head of the Federal Police station in Caxias do Sul, estimated that more than a thousand Ghanaians would apply to stay in Brazil permanently after the World Cup is over. They have been drawn to the mountainous region of the state, the Serra Gaúcha, lured by prospects of employment. As they arrive, they take shelter in churches and get support from local politicians.
“The Serra Gaúcha is widely perceived as an area with plenty of job opportunities, but the local market is now saturated. A lot of Haitians and Senegalese can be seen now around the city center selling watches and bootleg CDs. They were drawn by the local reputation of a thriving job market,” the police chief told Agência Brasil.
Since the World Cup began, Melo reported, the number of asylum applications has grown substantially. “We have focused our efforts on meeting the demands and giving them legal stay permits. But now we’ll have to limit our service targets. We have been able to provide those who came to us with special service standards, but this is no longer possible.
Now we are only dealing with 20 applications a day. We had been dealing with a much larger number before, some 65 a day,” the police chief said. With asylum applications, Ghanaians are eligible to apply for work permits and find jobs in the country.
According to the law that established the National Committee for Refugees (Conare), foreigners entering Brazil can express their wish to apply as refugees to any immigration authority in the border. The authority must then file all legal proceedings and submit the application to Conare. There are no specific deadlines for completion of the process.
The Foreign Ministry clarified that all visas issued free of charge under the General World Cup Bill were granted only to foreigners who have provided proof of purchasing the tickets for the matches. These visas are valid for 90 days and entrance in the country is only allowed until the final day of the competition.