Brazil is Working Hard to Attract More Immigrants
The Brazilian government is squarely focused on long-term economic development. Understanding that increasing and sustaining economic development relies on an educated workforce, Brazil is seeking to attract several million new immigrants.
“We’re not after population; we’re after talent and human capital,” said Brazil’s Secretary of Strategic Affairs Ricardo Paes de Barros in an interview with the Miami Herald. “By opening society, we can accelerate the development process.”
Amazingly, in the early 1900s, nearly 7% of the workforce in Brazil was foreign born, according to Paes de Barros. Now, that figure has fallen to only 0.3%. This is an extremely low number compared to the United States where 15.9% of the workforce is foreign born as reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. “We need our foreign workforce to reach a level of 2% or 3%,” Paes de Barros recently told Reuters. Reaching that target won’t be easy.
Brazil Needs to Attract Highly-Skilled Immigrant Workers
While it’s true that Brazil needs skilled workers to help complete major infrastructure and modernization projects in time for the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil’s economic future depends on attracting highly skilled immigrant workers. Brazil needs these professionals to stay in the country on a temporary or permanent basis.
Unfortunately, Brazil has developed a reputation as a country where it is difficult for professionals to get work visas. That’s why over the past year the Conselho Nacional de Imigração (National Immigrant Council) has been working hard to reform Brazil’s immigration policy to reduce the bureaucracy that visa applicants face while attempting to prove their eligibility for a visa.
The reforms appear to be working. In 2012, Brazil saw a 137% increase in the issuance of temporary work permits for foreign-born workers. As immigration reforms progress, the number of immigrant workers in Brazil will continue to rise.
Brazil’s Doors Are Open to People with Technical Degrees
According to Andres Saconnato of the Brazil Investment and Business Think Tank, Brazil needs to attract thousands of doctors, engineers, and people with technical degrees. The reason they are targeting these groups is that Brazil has a very low number of citizens who are studying these professions. Additionally, Brazil’s population has been getting older since the 1960s. The combination of these two factors makes it extremely important that Brazil injects younger professionals into its workforce.
Brazil has a bright economic future, and the Brazilian government appears to be taking the necessary steps to include immigrant workers in their plans for sustained economic development.