Refugees in Brazil Have Higher Level of Education than Brazilians on Average

UN agency study shows that 34% of them have concluded higher education

Flávia Mantovani
São Paulo

Refugees who live in Brazil have a higher education level on average than Brazilians, but few manage to use their degrees and work in their area of specialty. They also suffer the most from unemployment. 

This is the revelation of an unedited study about the socioeconomic profile of refugees in Brazil launched Thursday (30) by the UN agency for refugees (ACNUR). Researchers from eight Brazilian universities completed the study through a program—Cátedra Sérgio Vieira de Mello—that promotes research about forced displacement.

Refugees are immigrants who left their countries fleeing armed conflict or persecution due to religion, race, political opinion, and other factors. In Brazil, they go through a process that usually lasts two years, until they have their residency request judged by the Ministry of Justice.

Blaise Musipere used to sleep on a bench in the Leblon neighborhood. Today he is an actor and was selected for a novela about refugees.( Foto: Ricardo Borges/Folhapress) - Folhapress

The results show that 34.4% of them completed higher education, while 15.7 percent of Brazilians have attained the same level, according to 'Brazil's census. Additionally. Only 3.3% of refugees are illiterate or 'haven't completed lower education, compared to 41% of Brazilians.

However, just 31.8% are able to use their professional skills in their current work. In addition to this, although a majority of them work, the level of unemployment among them (19.5%) is higher than the general population.

The study concludes that Brazil is a difficult option but definitive for immigrants, who "believe in their capacity for adaptation and social advancement in the country." According to the data, 85% want to remain in Brazil, and 57% desire to reunite with their families in the country.

Translated by Kiratiana Freelon

Read the article in the original language