Zenith, a 47.255 tons cruise ship, left the port of Lisbon to Recife, on December 1st 2013.The expected arrival date was December 9th, 2013. In recent times, the media has widely reported on the return of Brazilian immigrants who take advantage of the lower rates of transatlantic cruises departing from Europe to Brazil. Those particular careers run between October and December each year. Initially, these cruises carried only their crew and occasional passengers. Such Atlantic crossings are explained by the beginning of winter in Europe. With the consequent decline in tourist cruises in the northern hemisphere, ships depart for three months, at least, to the coastal tourism in Central and South America. Many carry both the aforementioned Brazilians returning to their home country and, recently, Portuguese temporary migrants who sail away.
For the project “Atlantic Crossings”, the Consulate General of Brazil in Lisbon (GCBL), like the Consulate of Brazil in Oporto, kindly made available information regarding the successful visa awarded to Portuguese intending to cross the ocean. An analysis of a sample of visas revealed that CGBL is one of most important and busy Brazilian consular services throughout the world. Having granted 9737 official entry visas over the past five years, it falls short only of Brazil’s Consulate in New York. Remarkably, this American consulate exceeds GCBL’s total number of visa requests, but works mainly via electronic mail.
The analysis of 801 visas awarded in the month of December throughout 2008-2012 – random sample selection – revealed that the four main types of visas are: permanent visas, work visas, tourist visas and student visas. This sample largely corresponds to the travel visa whose justification is to work in Brazil. Work visas comprise 28% of cases (228 in absolute terms), both of permanent or temporary nature. The second largest group (196 cases, corresponding to 24% of the total population) pertains to people travelling to accompany their relatives’ work visas or reunion with the family. A smaller group leaves to do research and participate in professional internships (28 cases), which raises the number of work related visas to 452 cases, thereby constituting 56% of the total.
The Portuguese population, which we focus on, comprised 579 cases. The gender ratio revealed a masculine flow: 362 men to 217 women (63% to 37%, respectively). The most popular destinations in Brazil are the federal states of São Paulo (238 cases) and Rio de Janeiro (132 cases) – corresponding, together, to 61% of the visas – which suggests a strong workforce and academic demand of the major urban centres. After subtracting the temporary student visas (125 cases), the Portuguese population moving for work related reasons yields 454 records – among which 83% have ages comprised between 25 and 64 years old. In the group of 371 individuals the most numerous are highly qualified professionals. Technicians and those involved in scientific activities comprised 45% (169) of the records. Examining the latter showed that the dominant professional areas are: engineering; education and research; consultancy and project management. Another 22% (80) of the total include representatives of the legislative and executive bodies; managers; directors and executive managers.
In addition to revealing the qualified nature of most of the population, examining the data indicated the salience of a particular flow: maritime professionals, who leave with renewable work visas for periods of 180 days. Many work in the crews of transatlantic ships as sailors and deck officers. Others are involved in the catering industry and the tourism management sector that in many cases work on the vessels operating on the Brazilian coast. Along with the latter, other professionals work also as mechanicals, ship repairers, engineers, boatswains, able seamen, hotel managers and directors; mates, assistant’s maîtres, among others.
Back to the initial sample, we find 24% (192) of tourist visas (Portuguese don´t need to apply to enter in Brazil when going on a temporary journey, without the intent to immigrate or work, for three months). The frequent atlantics crossings are by aeroplane. However, like the Portuguese that leave to work in the cruises, tourists aboard ships like the Zenith certainly have the following justification in their visas:
“The above mentioned guest will sail on-board the Zenith from December 1st 2013, port-of-call Lisbon, Portugal until December 9th, 2013, port-of-call Recife, Brazil.”
 Here you can find Temporary Work Visas, specific to persons who travel to work and perform services under contract until maximum two years and Permanent Visas to persons that are already working in Brazil or apply for family reunion.