Interview of the State Migration Service Chief Mr. Arzu Rahimov for AmCham’s official journal “Impact”

In order to improve the mechanism of migration management and to simplify the procedures for granting permissions to foreigners and stateless persons for lawful residence and engaging in work activity, as well as to ensure transparency in this sphere, the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan signed a Decree on Application of the “Single Window” Principle in migration management from 1 July 2009. The State Migration Service of the Republic of Azerbaijan was appointed as a unit body implementing the “Single Window” Principle.
We asked the Chief of the State Migration Service of the Republic of Azerbaijan Mr. Arzu Rahimov to answer our questions about recent changes made in the migration management mechanism and appeal procedures for obtaining cards and required documents.

- What are the appeal procedures for obtaining residence cards and work permits and which documents should be submitted to the State Migration Service? What is the duration of the process?

- First of all, I want to clarify the reasons for such changes. As you know, the economic growth, rapid development of the oil and non-oil sector and huge investment opportunities attract foreigners to Azerbaijan. Regulation of migration processes and insurance of transparency are the main purposes of these changes. This Decree simplifies this process. Concerning the relevant required documents, all information is presented on the official Internet site of the State Migration Service The English version of the website will be available from 15 June. Consideration of the documents should take 20 working days from the date of submission of documents to the State Migration Service. If before the foreigners had to apply to different ministries and relevant bodies for obtaining cards, now related to these issues he/she will apply only to the State Migration Service.

- There are foreigners working some days offshore and some days onshore. What are the procedures for them?

- The foreigners arriving in and working in the Republic of Azerbaijan need to obtain cards for lawful temporary residence and engaging in labor activity. If the validity period of card is expired and the foreigner hasn’t completed his/her work, he/she has to apply to the State Migration Service for extension of the period of temporary residence card and work permit indicating the purpose of extension. For this purpose the foreigner must submit a letter from the organization indicating the reasons. If the foreigner enters the country as a labor migrant under a visa regime for a period of 30 days within 30 days he/she has to apply to the State Migration Service in order to legalize his/her staying in the country. After relevant procedures, this foreigner will be provided with the temporary residence card and work permit.

- What will the procedure be for the foreigner who has terminated a contract with one company and concluded a contract with another one?

- If the foreigner has terminated the contract with one company and concluded a contract with another one, the first company must inform us about termination of the contract. Then the foreigner must submit the copy of the contract concluded with the other company and after this he/she can obtain a new permission card and work permit.

- If the foreigner has obtained a temporary residence card and work permit before 1 July and the validity period of his/her document expires in October of this year, will he/she have to obtain a new one?

- If the foreigner has obtained a temporary residence card from the State Migration Service, if he/she have notification and if we have the list of such persons we will gradually invite and provide them with a new cards.

- Do you have enough resources to cope with the huge flood of application after 1 July?

- We would not start a process if we were not sure of our resources and opportunities.

- Is the new card valid for all entry points by air, land and sea?

-Yes. At the borders of all types of transport there are border control points.

- A medical certificate is one of the required documents. Could you please provide more information on the exact medical tests to be carried out? Who can issue the medical certificate?

- The certificate could be issued in any clinic. Concerning tests, we don’t stipulate any special tests, we just need a Health Certificate. That is the current situation. In the near future we plan to open a clinic under the patronage of the State Migration Service. After this we will determine which laboratorial tests will be carried out for obtaining a medical certificate.

- Children under the age of 14 do not always travel with their parents. Will you issue a separate document for them to travel?

- Yes, as in other countries we will issue a separate card to all family members of migrants. Naturally, if the parents allow their children to travel.

- If the foreigner has lost his/her permission card abroad how can he/she re-enter the country?

- This person should apply for an entry visa to the Embassy of the Republic of Azerbaijan in his country and after entering the country he/she should apply to the State Migration Service with a statement that he lost the card. We’ll research the case, and if he really did have it before, we will restore the card.

- What if there is no Azerbaijan Embassy in the country? Where should the person apply for the entrance visa to Azerbaijan?

- In these cases the foreigner can obtain a visa through a third country where the Azerbaijan Embassy is.

- What exemptions will be made for employees working on longer running projects who need to stay longer than the 5 year limit?

- According to the law of Azerbaijan Republic a foreigner may engage in labor activity in the country for not more than 5 years. After 5 years he/she should leave Azerbaijan for one year. The law is the law. There will be no exemptions.

- What if the validity period of the visa is expiring, but the Card is not issued for a foreigner yet?

- We issue a receipt to the person who submitted documents and applied for the card to the State Migration Service. They can submit this receipt to the relevant bodies.

- How can one invite his/her relatives if he/she is a labor migrant in Azerbaijan?

- First of all, he should send an invitation letter to his/her relative, and the relative should apply to the Azerbaijan Embassy for entrance visa. If the foreigner wants to invite one or several relatives who will stay with him in the country for a longer period, he should apply to the State Migration Service of the Republic of Azerbaijan and explain the reasons why he needs these people to stay with him. If there is a fundamental reason for this (spouse, son, daughter and etc) we issue a residence card for them. All such cases are addressed individually.

- Thank you very much Mr. Rahimov. We were pleased to meet with you.

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