High level management of migration processes has increased interest of foreigners to our country
Baku, March 19, AZERTAG
9 years passed from establishment of State Migration Service of the Republic of Azerbaijan on March 19. AZERTAG presents article of Firudin Nabiyev, chief of State Migration Service related with this day, as well as the works done in the direction of management and regulation of migration processes in our country.
During the past period a number of important steps and fundamental measures have been realized in the areas of legislation and its implementation by President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev in order to improve management mechanisms in the migration field as it is in other areas, to manage and regulate migration processes. Thus, “State Migration Management Concept of the Republic of Azerbaijan” determining main objectives of state authorities, was adopted in 2007. The Order of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan “On approval of State Migration Program of the Republic of Azerbaijan (2006-2008)” was signed on July 25, 2006 in order to implement this Concept and to achieve the goals set forth. Establishment of special state authority implementing unified state policy in the migration field has emerged as an objective necessity on the basis of State Program, as well. Taking into account this necessity President Ilham Aliyev signed a decree on establishment of State Migration Service of the Republic of Azerbaijan on March 19, 2007.
March 19 is celebrated as the day of professional holiday of migration bodies’ employees of the Republic of Azerbaijan according to the Order of the President of Azerbaijan dated March 17, 2010.
Azerbaijan is experiencing an important period of history in terms of carrying out tasks before state and society and solving internal and external policy issues. Development dynamics of economy, implementation of economic and social programs and realization of giant transnational energy and social programs continue successfully. Necessary measures are being taken in order to improve social welfare of population, international position of our country is strengthening, national security and stability is being ensured.
Yes, provision of sustainable development and security of the republic necessitates implementation of migration policy in compliance with national interests, improvement and development of regulation system of migration processes on its base, coordination of activities of state authorities. Today State Migration Service is conducting significant works in implementation of several institutional and organisational measures and in the direction of formation of migration policy in accordance with the requirements of the modern period.
As President Ilham Aliyev said “A few years ago when the State Migration Service was established as an independent body in Azerbaijan, migration issues were not actual in the world as today. But having forecasted future development processes, we built an effective body that reflects migration management and regulation principles so that migrants feel themselves more comfortable in Azerbaijan and these issues are addressed in compliance with domestic procedures.”
The main aim of State Migration Service is respect for the rule of law, loyalty to motherland, care to each person and most importantly, respect for national and moral values.
Today we can say with confidence that high level protection of rights of foreigners arriving in the country on legal basis and legalizing their staying and residence in the republic and migrant workers engaging in paid labour activity on the basis of work permit, necessary measures related with illegal migration are successfully implemented by the Service. As one of the tasks set forth before the Service by President Ilham Aliyev is that “We have to strengthen migration policy even more and create very strict system. Every arriving foreign citizen has to get registered. No single person should work illegally here. In any moment we should know where any foreign citizen is, what and which work he/she is engaged in”.
Last year temporary staying period of 885 persons in the country was extended, temporary residence permit in the Republic of Azerbaijan for 53,200 persons and their children under 18 accompanying them, and permanent residence permit for 260 persons were issued on the basis of applications.
Necessary normative legal acts have been adopted and a number of organizational measures have been implemented in order to strengthen state control over migration processes since the establishment of State Migration Service.
In accordance with the Decree of the President of Azerbaijan dated March 6, 2008 participation of State Migration Service in citizenship issues was provided and investigation of inquiries from persons and different organization relating acquisition, restoration and revocation of citizenship of the Republic of Azerbaijan, as well as establishment of citizenship of the Republic of Azerbaijan has been started by the Service since that period.
One of the measures serving regulation of migration processes on the basis of unified and flexible procedures and facilitation of documentation is the Decree dated March 4, 2009 “on Application of “one-stop-shop” principle in the management of migration processes” signed by President of the Republic of Azerbaijan, Ilham Aliyev. Application of the decree resulted in management of migration processes on more flexible and efficient mechanisms in the country, provision of efficiency in this field, elimination of problems to be solved. According to the decree application of “one-stop-shop” principle in the management of migration processes is launched from July 1, 2009 and competences of the unified state authority on this principle were empowered to State Migration Service of the Republic of Azerbaijan.
For the purpose of enhancement of preventive measures against illegal migration and improvement of the activity of the Service law-enforcement status was granted to State Migration Service with the Decree signed by President Ilham Aliyev on April 8, 2009.
Furthermore, with the Law of the Republic of Azerbaijan dated December 4, 2009 “Regulation on serving in migration bodies” and with the Decree signed by the President of Azerbaijan on December 13, 2010 “Regulation on special uniform and distinguishing marks of employees with special ranks serving at State Migration Service of the Republic of Azerbaijan” were approved.
Website of the Service (www.migration.gov.az) was put into operation on November 3, 2008 in order to inform foreigners and stateless persons, as well as public of the country. This year official website of the Service has been fully renewed and modernized from functional and design point of view and adapted to today’s requirements. Migration Information Center of State Migration Service which is operating in three languages – Azerbaijani, English and Russian, was established on December 1, 2008. The activity of this Center was also renewed, service quality was increased by expanding technical capabilities. 99 439 phone calls was received by Call Center of the Service only last year.
The first publication of State Migration Service – Migration Journal which is published in Azerbaijani, English and Russian was publicized in 2010 and publication of the journal is organized regularly. Azerbaijan’s migration history, migration policy, topics on regulation of migration processes, procedural rules of migration are widely covered in the Journal.
In accordance with “Regulation on Unified Migration Information System of State Migration Service” which is approved with the Decree of the President of Azerbaijan dated June 4, 2010, unified information system in the migration field - Unified Migration Information System (UMIS) was established and its integration with "Entry-Exit and Registration" Interagency Automated Information and Search System and State Registry of Population of the Republic of Azerbaijan was provided in order to maintain record of foreigners and stateless persons residing and temporarily staying in the Republic of Azerbaijan, to provide government agencies involved in migration management with the necessary information, to automate migration-related documentation, request and analysis, to advance electronic services. UMIS has created favorable conditions for taking appropriate measures in fighting against illegal migration and ensuring security by enabling to have notion about the dynamics of migration processes occurring in the country.
Migration Code has been drafted in accordance with "State Migration Programme of the Republic of Azerbaijan" and entered into force on August 01, 2013 according to the Law of the Republic of Azerbaijan from July 02, 2013 for the purpose of elimination of certain gaps in the normative legal acts in the migration sphere, adaption of legislation to the requirements of modern period, as well as further facilitation of procedures related with identifing status of foreigners and stateless persons within the country.
A number of measures have been taken, amendments and addendums have been made for the purpose of harmonizing national legislation with international experience, as well as facilitating current administrative procedures, increasing satisfaction level of the population served, including foreigners and stateless persons and improving international image of our country by this way. According to the Law of the Republic of Azerbaijan “On making amendments in Migration Code of the Republic of Azerbaijan” dated October 17, 2014, foreigners temporarily staying in the Republic of Azerbaijan for more than 10 days should be registered, not for more than 3 days. Moreover in accordance with the new amendments made in the Code, relevant notifications on registration upon place of stay in Azerbaijani, English and Russian are given to foreigners and stateless persons entering country, at state border checkpoints.
Several amendments and addendums were made in the Migration Code with the Law of the Republic of Azerbaijan dated December 16, 2014. A new chapter called “Rules on placement and detention of foreigners and stateless persons in the detention centers for illegal migrants” was added to the Code with the Law. Moreover taking into consideration problems occurring during application of foreigners and stateless persons regarding registration upon place of stay in the Republic of Azerbaijan by mail, applying by mail is abolished from April 1, 2015, according to changes made in Migration Code with the Law dated February 25, 2015.
Although the price of energy resources is decreasing sharply in the world market, we can say with confidence that tasks set forth regarding socio-economic development of Azerbaijan is implemented successfully. As to statistics economic growth is ensured in Azerbaijan in 2015, as well. Production of GDP over country is 50 billion dollar. It is a remarkable case that this growth is obtained through non-oil sector. In 2015 increase was observed in gross domestic product more than 1%, in industrial production 2.4%, in non-oil industry 8.4%. 20 billion dollar was invested to country economy from all sources. This indicates that Azerbaijan remains as an attractive country for foreign investors.
As known, according to Migration Code taking into account development rate of our country permit for temporary residence is issued for foreigners investing at least 500 000 manats in the economy of the country, up to 3 years. Previous legislation did not allow extension of temporary residence permit, as well as work permit for engaging in paid labour activity more than 4 times. However this limitation is removed in the existing legislation, as well.
President Ilham Aliyev stated in his speeches repeatedly stated that the citizen of Azerbaijan occupies the center of the policy implemented in our country. Social area has been always a priority and necessary preventive measures have been taken in order to prevent serious impacts of economic changes happening in the world, over the welfare of population of Azerbaijan. Therefore, there is no delay in the implementation of social programs. Several schools and kindergartens have been built and repaired owing to fund allocated for the establishment of social infrastructure. The number of medical facilities which are built and restored in accordance with modern standards in the recent years is up to 600.
It is a proud case that name of Azerbaijan is on the list of “the best countries” and Azerbaijani army is among powerful armies of the world.
Today each of us is witness of fast and comprehensive development of our Azerbaijan. In accordance with the strategy chosen by National Leader Heydar Aliyev, wide scale work in the direction of provision of rapid progress and sustainable development of our country in a period of modern development continues successfully with the leadership of President of the Republic of Azerbaijan, Ilham Aliyev. Great achievements in all areas have been gained in our republic in the recent years. New institutions are created, new work places are opened, fundamental steps are taken in the direction of implementation of giant infrastructure projects and diversification of the economy. Improvement in financial welfare of each citizen and liberalization of state regulation mechanism of the economy offers great opportunities for free competition which is one of the main criteria of economic development. Construction and renovation work was broadened. In a word, success covers economic, political, social, as well as energy projects and other areas. Last year 87 thousand new work places were opened. The number of new workplaces opened from 2004 until now has reached to 1.5 million, vast majority of them are permanent workplaces.
State Migration Service performing an important mission as protection of internal labour market, successfully continues consistent measures towards regulation of use of foreign labour forth in accordance with the law. In compliance with the task set force by the head of state, the Service successfully implements state control over involvement of foreigners in paid labour activity only within the determined quota in order to ensure, firstly, benefit of country citizens from the development of Azerbaijan. State Migration Service is taking relevant measures related with tightening labour migration quota in order to prevent participation of unskilled foreign manpower in national labour market and to ensure efficient use of local labour resources and with establishing mechanism for attracting highly qualified foreign workers in accordance with the requirements of formation of innovative and competitive economy in the country. Control over substitution of foreign staff with national manpower in oil-gas projects is strengthening, as well. Meetings with administrative staff of the companies in transnational oil-gas projects of the country were held by State Migration Service and the status of implementation of commitments on nationalization at those companies was discussed.
Amendments have been made in the legislation of the Republic of Azerbaijan on citizenship in order to further increase significance of right to citizenship which is one of the essential human rights and responsibility of citizens before state. Thus according to the Law of the Republic of Azerbaijan on making amendments in the Law of the Republic of Azerbaijan “On citizenship of the Republic of Azerbaijan” dated May 30, 2014 and Decree of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan on application of this law dated June 27, 2014, State Migration Service is determined as the relevant executive body establishing citizenship of the Republic of Azerbaijan. Later on “Rules for establishment of the citizenship of the Republic of Azerbaijan” approved with Decision №84 of Cabinet of Ministers’ dated from March 18, 2015, in order to provide implementation of Article 1.1.4 of the Decree. This decision entered into force after publishing on April 10, 2015. This rule defines rule of establishing a person’s affiliation to the citizenship of the Republic of Azerbaijan. While drafting this Rule issues relating to elimination of statelessness cases and fight against causes of these cases, protection of rights of stateless persons are indicated as main directions taking into account requirements of Convention “On eradication of statelessness” dated from August 30, 1961 and other international conventions. The Republic of Azerbaijan joined to the “Campaign to End Statelessness in 10 years” of UN High Commissioner for Refugees in order to raise awareness in the area of fight against statelessness cases by State Migration Service and to enhance cooperation for solution of the problems occurring during determination of legal status of these people, as well as effective protection of their rights. Relevant works have been done in all regions of the country by the Service to eliminate statelessness cases within short period.
I would like to inform that 1434 persons acquired citizenship of the Republic of Azerbaijan with the relevant orders of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan since 2008. Besides, during this period of time 36 467 persons’ citizenship of the Republic of Azerbaijan has been established and they have been provided with identification documents of the citizen of the Republic of Azerbaijan by relevant state body.
As to the amendments made in Criminal code with the Law of the Republic of Azerbaijan “On making amendments in Criminal Code of the Republic of Azerbaijan” dated April 28, 2015, criminal responsibility is envisaged for failure to inform relevant executive authorities within 1 month in written by the citizen of the Republic of Azerbaijan who voluntarily acquired citizenship of a foreign country. I would like note that the person should apply to State Migration Service while being within the territory of the Republic of Azerbaijan and to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs via diplomatic representation and consulates of the Republic of Azerbaijan while being abroad. The sample of application for is available on the official website of State Migration Service – www.migration.gov.az. Those persons who did not inform are charged with fine in the amount of 3 thousand up to 5 thousand manats or with public works from 360 up to 480 hours as envisaged by the Criminal Code of the Republic of Azerbaijan. The abovementioned facts are applied to the citizens of the Republic of Azerbaijan who acquired citizenship of another country after July 1, 2014.
It should be reminded that last year 270 persons acquired and 9 persons restored citizenship with the Orders of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan. Persons admitted to and restored the citizenship solemnly took an oath on loyalty to the Republic of Azerbaijan in the state language before the National flag by placing their hands on the Constitution. It should be noted that the oath ceremony was held for the first time according to Article 15-1, which was added in the new context to the Law “on Citizenship of the Republic of Azerbaijan”.
A number of services are rendered by State Migration Service at the “ASAN Service” centers which are Azerbaijani brand and was created taking into account importance of increasing transparency in the activity of state authorities, implementation of services provided to citizens with higher quality, more convenient in a new style and applying modern innovations. Receiving and responding to inquiries on establishment of citizenship of the Republic of Azerbaijan were added to the list of these services with the Decree of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan dated August 31, 2015.
During the past period international cooperation has been enlarged, relations on bilateral and multilateral basis have been developed, a number of significant steps have been taken towards discussion of cooperation perspectives in the areas of expansion of intergovernmental dialogue, exchange and application of experience, regulation of migration processes, combatting illegal migration.
Visit of Director-General of the International Organization for Migration William Lacy Swing to our country and expression of work done in the migration area in our country and examplary activity of State Migration Service in regulation of migration processes and discussion on cooperation perspective between the organization and State Migration Service during the meeting of Director-General of this organization with the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan should be highlighted. Thus, at the meeting with President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Director-General of the International Organization for Migration William Lacy Swing told: "I express my admiration for the truly successful work carried out in the country under your leadership and congratulate you on this occasion. Migration service is carried out at a very high level in Azerbaijan and, Mr. President, achieving success in this area definitely would not have been possible without your support. In my opinion, the work carried out in your country in migration area may be a very good example for migration management in general."
Last year Azerbaijani delegation participated at high level conference on “Migrants and Cities” within International Dialogue on Migration with the initiative of International Organization for Migration.
Next 8th high level dialogue dedicated to “Understanding and addressing root causes of displacement” organized by United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in Geneva, created favorable opportunities for expansion of multilateral cooperation.
Yes, truth is that nowadays migration crisis is on top of the agenda. People suffering from foreign intervention, especially people from Eastern Europe turned to refugee and displaced person in order to save lives of their families and themselves. They head to Europe enduring these troubles and facing big threats just for the sake of staying alive. Unfortunately the attitude towards those people doesn’t fit to the principles that Europe declares. Sometimes they face misconduct and humiliation there. In world media negative opinion is already being molded about them.
As it is known Azerbaijan also faced humanitarian disaster in the beginning of 1990s. One million people were displaced from their residences as a result of Armenian occupation. Azerbaijan overcame that crisis almost alone. Even today a lot of work is done for improving living conditions and employment of displaced people. Approximately ninety towns were settled, about 250 thousand displaced persons were relocated in new apartments and houses.
Meetings with ambassadors and heads of different institutions of foreign countries in our country, representatives of international organizations, as well as international experts, also with members of Caspian European Integration Business Club, Caspian Energy - International Media Group and American Chamber of Commerce held in different dates in order to enhance bilateral relations, carry out experience and information exchange, to exchange views on changes made in the legislation was memorable for State Migration Service.
Furthermore, “Agreement between the European Union and the Republic of Azerbaijan on the readmission of persons residing without authorization” was signed on February 28, 2014. The Agreement entered into force on September 1, 2014 and State Migration Service was assigned as the national competent authority for its implementation. Fundamental works have been done for execution of the agreement, efficient and sustainable reintegration of readmitted citizens to the society within the previous period.
All these positive factors mentioned, that is both recent changes made in the legislation for the purpose of management and regulation of migration processes and a number of steps taken and measures implemented for its application turn our country a more attractive place for foreigners. The level of services rendered to the migrants to enjoy their rights to stay, reside, work and study in the country on legal basis by State Migration Service is increasing year by year with the support of President Ilham Aliyev. To put in operation of 11 e-services, as well as the portal regarding the implementation of measures of which execution in state programs entrusted to State Migration Service is an obvious example of aforementioned thought.
Today State Migration Service is one of the first and foremost authorities to which foreigners arriving in our country apply. The Service bearing law enforcement body status which deals with registration of foreigners and stateless persons upon place of stay in the country, extension of temporary staying, issuance and extension of permits for temporary and permanent residence, work permits, determination of refugee status, acquisition, restoration and revocation of citizenship, establishment of citizenship, as well as solution of citizenship issues, realizes effective preventive measure against errors and abuse that could be encountered in the application of migration legislation, elimination of negative impacts of migration processes and fight against illegal migration. Last year 26.567 cases of infringement of administrative legislation by foreigners and stateless persons were revealed and relevant measures were taken.
Last year Public Council which was established under the State Migration Service according to the “National Action Plan on promotion of Open Government for the years 2012-2015” started functioning. Several meetings were held with Council members by the Service management and relevant works have been done.
In accordance with the same National Action Plan, “Open door days” – civil forums in Gusar which is included in the service area of Khachmaz Regional Migration Department (RMD), Gazakh which is included in the service area of Ganja RMD, Gakh which is included in the service area of Shaki RMD, Hajigabul which is included in the service area of Shirvan RMD, Shamakhi which is included in the service area of Aghsu RMD, mobile services with the participation of foreigners and stateless persons, citizens, relevant state authorities, public institutions, employers, representatives of entrepreneurs in Aghdash and Mingachevir which is included in the service area of Yevlakh RMD, Zagatala which is included in the service area of Shaki RMD were organized.
It should be noted that last year 105.550 applications on extension of temporary staying period in the country, granting temporary and permanent residence permits, adoption, revocation and restoration of citizenship, as well as establishment of citizenship and determination of refugee status, as well as issuing work permits for carrying out labor activity and extending validity period of existing work permits were received from foreigners and stateless persons by the State Migration Service of the Republic of Azerbaijan. Each application was investigated in accordance with the requirements of legislation and relevant decisions were made.
Moreover, last year 670.326 of foreigners whose entry to our republic was recorded, were registered upon place of stay according to their staying period in the country. In general the primary standard is provision of satisfaction of persons applying to the Service, responsibility, efficiency and transparency.
Of course staff policy forms the basis of achieved success. 28 employees positively characterized in their service activities were promoted, labor of 248 employees was distinguished for good work indicators last year.
Currently, potential of Azerbaijan both in socio-economic and military fields are great enough.State Migration Service is willing to contribute to regular implementation of measures towards realization of national development strategy of Azerbaijan, increase of the social welfare of the people, improvement of international reputation of country, provision of economic security, national interests and stability by being loyal to ideas of Great Leader Heydar Aliyev under the leadership of the Commander-in-Chief, President Ilham Aliyev in 2016 and in the future.
Chief of State Migration Service
II rank state migration service counselor