Monday, 18 July 2011

Busy days in Rio

Someone asked me how we proceed regarding our Visas (Troy!).  As I have been unable to comment in my own blog (!  Seems to be stuck in a loop!) I will answer here.
Many people immigrate to Brazil but this is not easy! For us the company for which Alistair works is opening an office in Rio. Alistair is doing this with a lot of help from the Parent company which is already present in Rio and the help of agents employed by the parent company to help for proceedings. Even with all the logistic help from the parent company (lawyers, finance etc…) we are not finding the process easy. After 4 months the company that Alistair is creating is not event registered. As such we cannot apply for a permanent Visa.
So far he was on a 3 months tourist visa, and when he went back to the UK at expiry, applied for a Business visa of 3 months.  I am currently on a tourist visa. Once the company is registered, we will be able to apply for a “permanent visa”. That is 2 or 5 years.  On non-permanent visas we can only stay 6 months a year in Brazil.
Other people are coming because their partner is Brazilian. Even like that it is rather complex to obtain the permanent visa. The best bet is to employ an agent (extremely costly) and create a company (not easy!).
We met last Saturday with various expats and from their experience the same things came out:  the bureaucracy in this country is incredibly complex! Be patient and get through the hoops!

Anyway, last week was very busy. Through my language school we visited a favela that has been recently “pacified” in the complexo Alemao.  The process of “pacification” of the favelas started few years ago. Now the police (or often the Military Police”) takes control of a favela, root out the drug dealers and remains there.  I was interested in the point of view of the people living in the favelas. The tour was guided (in Portuguese) by an artist who was born and still lives in one of the favelas of Complexo Alemao.
In one hand they are happy that there is no risk of getting shot in a cross fire between cops and dealers, but in another hand, for what I understood, the police was rather heavy handed and people who have members of family involved in drugs were targeted. Angelo told us of the cops coming into houses and destroying TVs for example, saying it was the result of drug money from a family friend or member….
The inhabitants of the pacified favelas also fear that once the world cup and the Olympics are over, the police will retreat and violence will return.

It was interesting to walk through the favelas and visit our guide’s house. If you expect cardboard houses you would be wrong. As you can see from the pictures, these are mainly like town houses built in bricks over 2 or 3 levels. There is for what I saw running water, electricity, TVs and more or less modern facilities. As Angelo told us, nobody goes hungry. The main problems there are similar to any inner city town or, in France, to the suburbs council estates:  bad schools, poor teaching, low expectation, and lack of opportunities…
 Although to be fair, Brazil has now a growing middle class which 10 years ago would have been categorised as poor or very poor.

nice bike in the favela! Honday CB300... sexy toy! :)

Policia militar I think! with BIG guns! We saw few patrols around... 
Street where Angelo, our guide still lives with his family and his grand mother. His father was a drug dealer who got killed in a shot out when he was a baby.  

Angelo, a painter and artist, and Otovio Junior, a writer from the same complexo Alemao. Otavio wrote a book about (his happy childhood, honest!) growing up in the favela and his love of books.... He runs a library to get kids into books.

Standards of living have definitely been improving a lot, but there is still a lot that needs to be done and changes are slow. I read this morning in the local “Metro” that internal flights are now up 230% y-o-y as flying is not anymore the privilege of the rich but also accessible to a very new and  growing middle class!

On Saturday we met with some expats living in Rio (and Sao Paolo!). It was a guided tour of the city centre organised by Jim, an American blogger living in Niteroi! His partner was our guide as Ruiz  is Carioca (i.e. born in Rio). It was very interesting to get a guided tour of the city centre and hear about the history of Rio, but also to meet and compare notes with some expats who have been herefor some time.
(Jim's blog is very interesting by the way:

Rio town centre.

The cathedral is such a monstrosity that I could not bring myself to take a picture. Here it is reflected from the British Gas tower!
That's all for now!

1 comment:

  1. Maria, thanks for your incite into the "bureaucracies that bind", as far as the visa procedures go. Most of which I already knew, but still yet it's good to get confirmation that I am not the only one banging head against a brick wall!! I wish you all the best of luck.
    About the problem with commenting. It's not just you, since Google upgraded it's blogging platform, I've had nothing but problems leaving comments on Blogger using Internet Explorer. You have to use Chrome, Google's explorer. If you don't already have it, you might want to download and install it on your computer. From my experience that is the only browser that doesn't leave you in this endless cycle when trying to comment. Ate mais... hopefully I will be there soon, xau.