Nearly 60,000 immigrants in Brazil requested or updated CPF amidst the pandemic, says IRS

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emergencial, o que virou obstáculo para muitos imigrantes
CPF era o documento primordial para solicitar auxílio emergencial, o que virou obstáculo para muitos imigrantes (Foto: Divulgação/Receita Federal)

Data were obtained via the Access to Information Act and exemplifies the difficulties faced by immigrants in accessing information and documentation in Brazil

Wrriten by Rodrigo Borges Delfim
Translated by Natália Valverde Jatobá
Read the Portuguese version
Read the Spanish version

Since April 2, almost 60,000 immigrants living in Brazil have requested or regularized their CPF with the IRS. This is what data obtained by MigraMundo through the Access to Information Law points out.

Having a valid CPF was the main documentary requirement to obtain emergency assistance. The benefit was created in early April by the federal government as a response to the pandemic of the new coronavirus and was also sought by immigrants living in Brazil. The application deadline was July 2.

The CPF requirement became a real barrier to immigrants’ access to the benefit, even for those who already had the document. A simple spelling difference in the mother’s name or the absence of this information from the CPF’s registry with the IRS was enough to stop the application for the benefit. This was because the aid form required this information.

In addition to the documental difficulty, technical instabilities and delays in returning requests for updates were also barriers for immigrants seeking to regularize the CPF in the midst of the pandemic. With the vast majority of posts closed, the service was basically remote, through online forms and e-mail.

IRS Data

According to data provided by the IRS, a total of 9,961 immigrants had no CPF and requested it from April 2. Most of the applications came from Bolivians (2,950), followed by Paraguayans, Venezuelans, Haitians and Uruguayans.

Country Number of applications for CPF since 04/02

Bolivia- 2,950

Paraguay- 1,304

Venezuela- 1,236

Haiti- 854

Uruguay- 590

Source: IRS Brazil, via LAI

On the other hand, according to the IRS, 49,838 immigrants who were with CPF in irregular situation also sought the federal agency to settle the situation. It draws attention, however, to the nationalities that most demanded the service, mostly European – Portuguese, followed by Italians, Japanese and Spanish.

Country Requests for regularization of CPF since 02/04

Portugal 12,239

Italy 4,571

Japan 4,236

Spain 3,242

Argentina 2,405

Source: Federal Revenue of Brazil, via LAI

It is important to emphasize that the request and update of the CPF made in the midst of the pandemic did not consider the migratory situation of those who made the request, since the services of migration regularization were suspended by the Federal Police in the period.

Barriers and access difficulties

For lawyer Karina Quintanilha, legal advisor of the CDHIC (Center for Human Rights and Citizenship of Immigrants) and researcher-curator of the International Forum Frontiers Crossed, at USP, draws attention to the fact that most requests for new CPFs come from Latin American and Caribbean nationalities.

“This may indicate that, in the case of immigrants from Bolivia and Paraguay, despite reflecting a flow characterized by constituted social networks, they present precarious working conditions and access to rights, such as the regularization of documents and, with the loss of income in the pandemic, they found themselves impelled to seek a form of regularization.

Karina, however, drew attention to the absence of nationalities from African countries among the greatest demands linked to the CPF. She related this fact to the inequalities in access to rights, information and benefits that affect these communities, as well as language barriers.

The language issue is also raised by lawyer Carla Mustafa, current president of the Committee on Refugee Law, Asylum and International Protection of the Brazilian Bar Association (OAB-SP).

“The entire process of regularization of the CPF is available on the website of the IRS, but the content is all in Portuguese and this can be an obstacle for migrants and refugees to understand and seek help.

Mustafa also credits the number of requests for regularization of CPF by European nationalities to international social security agreements with the countries cited by the IRS.

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