Brazil: Trade unionists and migrant workers discuss new migration law on World Refugee Day

Participants of the event that was organized by the Trade Union of Workers in the Civil Construction of Porto Alegre (STICC POA)

On the 21st of June, the Trade Union of Workers in the Civil Construction of Porto Alegre (STICC POA) organized a public debate under the theme "The new Migration Law and the world of work: Humanitarian perspectives in a context of class struggle".

The purpose of the debate was to discuss how the new migration and labour laws affect the the situation of migrant workers in Brazil.

The event brought together a group of speakers, among them many Haitian migrant workers who shared their stories of working in Brazil and opinions about the new legislation. The lawyer Márcia Abreu, a specialist in International Law and Migration, welcomed the positive changes in the new migration legislation, but said that there is still much to be done. The Haitian social scientist Vanito Ianium Vieira Cá who recalled that Brazil is a country of migrants.

Israel Guterres do Nascimento, President of the union, said that this event "is an opportunity for the exchange of knowledge on migrant workers’ issues and on the impact of labour reform. We will always remain active against any changes that affect the workers".

Finally, the union announced the program "Construction in Movement" in partnership with the organization Casa Rosa, which has the aim is to provide education for migrant workers living in Brazil. 

The labour reform among other things makes it easier for companies to hire freelance workers, cuts statutory lunch break from 1 hour to 30 minutes and makes it possible for employers to dismiss workers without getting approval from unions. The reform also takes away the obligatory dues that all employees before had to pay their company's designated union.

The new immigration law makes it easier for temporary migrant workers to get a visa and restructures Brazil's previous visa categories.