Efficiency of implementing migration policy is increased
We sure open our doors before all guests.
But everything must be within the framework of the law.
We must struggle against illegal migration very strictly.
Those who come to Azerbaijan to work must respect
our laws, national values, traditions. In this case, all conditions
will be created for welfare of citizens of foreign countries
coming to Azerbaijan.
The President of the Republic of Azerbaijan
Large scale works are continued successfully in the direction of providing rapid growth and durable development of our country in period of current progress with the leadership of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Mr.IlhamAliyev in accordance with the strategy determined by the Great Leader Heydar Aliyev. New enterprises are established, working places are opened, fundamental steps are taken in the direction of implementing progressive infrastructure projects and ramifying economy.
Improvement of social welfare of each citizen, liberalization of state regulation mechanisms of economy give opportunity to free competition which is one of the principle criteriaof economic growth. Construction works are expanded. With one word achievements cover economic, political, social, energy projects and other spheres. Azerbaijan has approved its role of leadership once more in realization of Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline, Baku-Tbilisi-Erzurum gas pipeline and in running “Shahdeniz” deposit which are part of oil strategy of Great Leader Heydar Aliyev. On the 20th of September 2014 - 20 years after the signature of the “Contract of Century” the foundation of the “South” gas corridor with the participation of nearly 10 countries which will speed up long-term growth of Azerbaijan is another historical event for our country.The President of the Republic of Azerbaijan valued this project as equal to the “Contract of Century”.
Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway which is beingrealized today has an exceptional importance for the Region, Europe and also for the world countries. It`s the result of successful economic reforms that Azerbaijan ranks in 38th place in terms of competitiveness in the world`s number one economic forum, the Davos World Economic Forum. As the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan noted it`s a historical achievement.
Azerbaijan is the fastest growing country in the world for its economic growthduring last 11 years. Rate for example: last year economy of Azerbaijan has increased 3 % and non-oil sector 7 %. More than 30 industrial enterprises were established, second satellite of Azerbaijan observing the earth surface has been released into orbit, more than 60 medical centers and more than 50 schools buildings have been constructed and opened for use.
Of course, these successes have been achieved as a result of considered and far-sighted policy of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan based ondevelopment strategy of National Leader Heydar Aliyev. Azerbaijan which was formerly presented in international events with its history, geography and culture is now recognized also for its latest achievements and grand projects.
Our country has transformed into a place where several international forums, meetings, symposiums, dialogues, conferences, cultural events, sports competitions are held. Of course, selection of Azerbaijan as the venue for the Baku 2015 European Games is not a coincidence . Establishment of suitable conditions for foreign and internal investments as a result of location of Azerbaijan in a suitable geopolitical area, political stabilityin the country, dynamic growth, democracy, highly tolerable society, wide international cooperation course and purposeful policy directed to the development of oil and non-oil sector has created opportunity for the increase of capitals to a considerable extent and made our Republic attractive for foreign investors and migrants. Transformation of our country into country of transit and destination from country of origin as logical result of intensification of migration processes and of the abovementioned has conditioned additional measures in the direction of intensifying state control over migration processes.
The main aim of establishing State Migration Service8 years ago was this. The President of the Republic of Azerbaijan IlhamAliyev set important tasks before SMS for the purpose of intensifying control in the sphere of migration processes management, prevention of illegal migration, analysis, regulation and forecast of migration processes and directing all these to political and economic interests of the country. Regulation of migration processes on the level of current requirements by way of protecting socio-economic strength, national security of the Republic of Azerbaijan, cultural-spiritual progress of society and welfare of the nation, continuation of complex measures in the sphere of combat against illegal migration for the purpose of intensifying control over migration processes, efficient usage of labor resources taking into consideration economic growth speeds and directions of the country, continuation of establishing situation which accelerates adaptation of migrants to existing social-economic situation,expansion of bilateral and multilateral relations in international cooperation and provision of participation in international projects, recruitment of SMS with new staff, continuation of systematic measures in improvement of professional skills of employees are issues State Migration Service pays special attention to.
In spite of intensive character of migration processes and increase of migrant flow in comparison with previous years, SMS has completed 2014 year successfully and with positive results. These achievements are the result of respect to superiority of the law, devotion to Motherland, care to our citizens, to those who come to our country and work here regardless of their identity and primarily of respect to national-moral values.
Several serious steps have been taken for the purpose of conformmigration policy with national interests and economic growth tendencies of our country during 2014 year. Thus, “Agreement between the Republic of Azerbaijan and European Union on the readmission of persons residing withoutauthorization ” was signed on February 28, 2014. The Agreement came into force on September1, 2014 and SMS was determined as competent national body responsiblefor implementation of this agreement. At present respond readmission requests which have entered State Migration Service from EU member countries on the persons who are assumed to be Azerbaijan citizens have been started within the framework of Readmission Agreement. Azerbaijani citizenship of 8 persons has been established as a result of relevant investigationsaccording to readmission requests which have entered State Migration Service from EU member States about 11 persons. It`s gratifying that, wish of our compatriots to return to Motherland who fled to Europe from Azerbaijan related to the situation in the country at the beginning of the 90s and their interest to this process is observed.
As in all spheres in our country, constant sensitive approach of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan, his attaching special importance, attention and care to migration sphere which stands in front row for its importance in global world, conditions legislation to be at high level in this sphere. Development of our country, achieved successes createthe importance of improving even the most progressive regulatory provisions in the sphere of migration.Because in the developed legal state, provision of rights and freedoms of a citizenat the highest level requires respect to rights and freedoms of a foreigner in this country as well.Several steps have been taken for the purpose of alignment of nationallaw with international practice, simplification of existing administrative procedures, improvement of the served contingent`s satisfaction, also of foreigners and stateless persons, it is also a requirement arising from humanist essence of the Republic of Azerbaijan. Amendments made to Migration Code are connected with this necessity.
According to the law of the Republic of Azerbaijan dated from October 17, 2014, “On the amendments to Migration Code of the Republic of Azerbaijan ”foreigners and stateless persons temporarily staying in the Republic of Azerbaijan not more than 3 days, but more than 10 days should get registered upon place of stay. Also, according to amendments to Migration Code foreigners and stateless persons arriving in the country are given relevant notification leaflets related to registration upon place of stay in Azerbaijani, Russian and English at state border checkpoints.
Also according tothe Law of the Republic of Azerbaijan dated from December 16, 2014 several addendums and amendments have been made to Migration Code. A new chapter of “Rule on placement and keeping foreigners and stateless persons in Detention Centers for Illegal migrants” was added to Migration Code with this law. This chapter reflects principles and periods for placementof foreigners and stateless persons in Detention Centers for Illegal migrants, procedure of placement, features of detention, rights and duties of foreigners and stateless persons placed in Centers compulsorily or voluntarily, their security, disciplinary measures applied in center, also rights and duties of center employees, conditions of applying special means and physical force in centers and provisions related to control over the activity of centers.A new chapter added to Migration Code also includes provisions related to determined regime in centers and internal disciplinary rules.
Besides it, state fee is paid by the employer in the amount envisaged by the legislation of the Republic of Azerbaijan for issuance of work permits to foreigners carrying out paid labor activity in our country and extension of their periods. According to amendments made to the “Law of the Republic of Azerbaijan on State fee” dated from May 16, 2014, depending on validity period of work permit, different amounts of state fee have been envisaged for issuance of that permit now, but formerly this amount for the period up to of one year was the same. With amendments made to that law, state fee for issuance of decision on the extension of temporary staying period of foreigners and stateless persons in the territory of the Republic of Azerbaijan, issuance of permits for temporary residence and extension of its period is determined for minors in the amount of 50% of the sum determined for adults.
For directing attention to all these innovationscomprehensive explanatory works have been carried out in relevant waywith the public and foreigners, in the meetings held at higher educational establishments of the country, regions covered by regional migration departments and in the meetings together with the Ministry of Culture and Tourism with representatives of more than 60 hotels in Bakuand such meetings are also continued today. A number of video and printed materials have been prepared and spread on the rules of registration of foreigners and stateless persons upon place stay, temporary and permanent residence, work permit, extension of temporary staying period and a number of articles have been published in periodical press. Foreigners and stateless persons are now given notification leaflets providing relevant information in Azerbaijan, Russian and English at state border checkpoints.
Azerbaijan develops rapidly, living standards, welfare of population is improving day by day. It`s now impossible to imagine State Migration Service apart from achievements of modern information technologies. It`s not accidental that, great achievements have been attained also in this sphere. Last year as a result of works carried out by State Migration Service together with Data Processing Center 9 electronic services by SMS have been integrated into “Electronic government” portal and the number of electronic services by SMS has reached 10 in this way.
Several services are provided by “ASAN Service” centers which is the brand of Azerbaijan. Applications such as issuance of permits for temporary and permanent residence of foreigners and stateless persons, also issuance of work permits for them in order to carry out paid labor activity in our country are adopted.
As we know, last year legislation of the Republic of Azerbaijan related to citizenship is adapted to international acts our country is a party to, also several addendums and amendments were made to the Law of the Republic of Azerbaijan on the “Citizenship of the Republic of Azerbaijan” dated September 30, 1998.In the new amendments made to the Law concrete approach to the dual citizenship issue found its reflection. Article 10 of the Lawreads as follows:
When the citizen of the Republic of Azerbaijan has dual citizenship, his belonging to citizenship of foreign country is not recognized, except for the cases provided in international agreements the Republic of Azerbaijan is a party to and according to Article 109paragraph 32 of the Constitution of the Republic of Azerbaijan.
Under Article 10 part 2 of the Law, the citizen of the Republic of Azerbaijan who obtained citizenship of foreign country should inform the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and State Migration Service of the Republic of Azerbaijan hereof in a written form within a month. Persons who do not provide such information should bear liability in a way envisaged by the Criminal Code of the Republic of Azerbaijan. The Article 12 of the Law in new edition with amendments clarifies the issue of whether foreigners’ and stateless persons` children born in the Republic of Azerbaijan are citizens of the Republic of Azerbaijan or not and this is effective in the solution of several problems which are encountered in practice. Also providing Article 18 in new edition, new amendments have expanded the scope of cases of loss of citizenship by considering the provisions of the Convention on “Reduction of Statelessness” dated from August 30, 1961, thus protecting the obligations of the Republic of Azerbaijan arising from international convention, the amendments have invited the citizen to be more liable in relation to the State. It must be noted that, the provisions envisaged with Article 10 part 2of the Law on “Citizenship of the Republic of Azerbaijan”, that`s with criminal liability and with Article 18, part 1, paragraph 1, that`s with loss of citizenship of the Republic of Azerbaijan of a person who obtained foreign citizenship voluntarily, it`s not applied to citizens of the republic of Azerbaijan who obtained citizenship of foreign country till the date this legal act entered into force.
In “State Migration Program of the Republic of Azerbaijan for the years 2006-2008” approved by the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev with the decree dated from July 25, 2006, improvement of management mechanisms in the sphere of migration, increase of efficiency of regulation by government in this field, the coordination of the activities of the relevant state bodies in the sphere of migration, improvement of existing legislative base, application of quota in the sphere of labour migration, implementation of complex measures on the prevention of illegal migration, as well as the cooperation with migration bodies of other countries and international organisations are taken into account as the main activity directions.
Of course, the role of international cooperation is unique in the solution of migration problems in modern world. That’s why last year the issues of international cooperation were priority in working visits of State Migration Service management to foreign countries and in the meetings conducted. During the last period many essential measures were taken by State Migration Service in the direction of expansion of international cooperation, development of bilateral and multilateral relations, strengthening of interstate dialogues, exchange and application of practice in migration field, regulation of migration processes and discussions of cooperation perspectives in the sphere of preventing illegal migration. Thus, the cooperation with organisations, such as United Nations Organisation, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, International Organisation for Migration, European Union, Commonwealth of Independent States has been developed and a number of meetings and mutual visits have been held with the relevant bodies of the Federal Republic of Germany, Netherland, Belgium, Kingdoms ofSweden and Norway, the Republic of Turkey, the Republic of Latvia and Russian Federation.
Draft Agreement on “Cooperation in the sphere of migration between State Migration Service of the Republic of Azerbaijan and Federal Migration Service of Russian Federation” prepared by the Service has been agreed at the expert level in Moscow. During the last period the draft was reviewed by relevant state bodies of both parties and proposals were exchanged in order to be commented mutually.
After discussion of the draft of “Readmission Agreement between the government of the Republic of Azerbaijan and the government of Russian Federation” in Moscow on 15-16 December 2014, it was decided that, both parties should arrange the intrastate agreement of the draft and the document should be re-discussed in the meeting to be held in Baku.
The implementation of Twinning project on “Support to the professional development of the staff of State Migration Service of the Republic of Azerbaijan” financed within the framework of the European Neighbourhood and Partnership Instrument of European Union has been continued successfully. Within the project that covers 2013-2015, the main partner of State Migration Service is theKingdom of Netherlands and the other partners are Latvia and Romania.
In general,throughout 2014 27 events were held on migration legislation,fight against illegal migration,developing trainingand teaching and learning methodsfor professionaldevelopment of State Migration Service employees and expanding awareness raising among society about migration issues within the project.
Moreover, execution of “Asylum Systems Quality Initiative in Eastern Europe and South Caucasus” project, financed jointly by the European Commission and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees is continued. The main objective in the implementation of this project is to support improving quality of asylum procedures of the national authorities of the Eastern Partnership countries. Project consists of three components in the directions of increasing the quality of national asylum systems, improving asylum-related training skills through European asylum curriculum and collecting data on countries of origin. A number of events were held under the project in the previous period. Considering the importance of the project its duration was extended until June 2015 by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.
Dialogue on important issues as implementation of the Twinning project executed with the support of the European Union during the official visit to the Kingdom of the Netherlands and the Republic of Latvia and achieved results, citizenship issues, experience exchange in migration and development of inter-agency cooperation were successful.
At the 65th session ofExecutive Committeeof United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in Geneva we could once again draw the attention of participants on violations of rights of Azerbaijani refugees and internally displaced persons who were driven out of their homeland as a result of Armenian aggression as noted in a number of documents adopted by international organizations.
Views were exchanged on development prospects of migration policy in Azerbaijan, the main trends and innovations in this field in monthly business meeting organized in Azerbaijan by the American Chamber of Commerce, in joint business forum organized by the State Migration Service and the Caspian European Club.
Together with Human RightsInstitute of AzerbaijanNational Academy of Sciences, besides representatives of organizational parties, international experts invited from Georgia, Moldova and Russia, representatives of many state institutions, international and local, as well as non-governmental organization, authorized persons of acting diplomatic representations took part in “International Conference on Migration Policyof Azerbaijan and Human Rights”.
During the conference, reports were made, discussions were held and questions were answered on Migration Code of the Republic of Azerbaijan, protection of rights and freedoms of foreigners, stateless persons and labor migrants, international practice and cooperation in regulation of migration policy of the Republic of Azerbaijan. SMS which establishes its activity with regard to human rights and freedoms and humanism principles held events in Masalli and Tartar within the framework of human rights month which continued from May 18 till June 18, as well as in regional department of SMS in Khachmaz related to 21st of September – International Day of Peace which is celebrated in all countries every year and meeting was heldwithin the framework of“Child Rights Month ” with children of families which obtained refugee status.
Days of “Open door” are held according to “National Action Plan for encouraging Open Government for the years 2012-2015”.
As we see, SMS successfully realizes the policy the State pays a special attention to. The staff policy – provision of transparency in recruitment to migration bodies, special attention to professionalism in choosing and placing them, valuing work of every employee with objective criterias, forms principles of all these successes. Several efficient measures are regularly taken by SMS for the purpose of recruitingthe staff with decent young specialists and formation of conditions which will provide their professional training on the level of current requirements.
Including the candidates who passed the exams successfully held by SMS together with State Commission on Student`s Admission in atmosphere of transparency, 98 candidates were recruited to migration bodies, taking into account their general level of knowledge, personal qualities and organizing abilities, 34 employees who are characterized positively in their service were promoted, 132 employees with good work indicators in service were distinguished.
SMS is covered with attention and care of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan. Awarding of the Service employees, orders of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan related to construction of new administrative building for SMS is met with great enthusiasm by the staff.
As we noted,from the standpoint of migration, transformation of Azerbaijan into country of transit and destination latelyfrom country of origin is also approved by registration at our state border checkpoints 2 million 269 thousand and 15 foreigners` and stateless persons` entrance in our country. I must remind that, according to stayingperiod in the country 823 thousand and 620 of them have been registered upon place of stay. Increase in the number of applicants for registration is important also as a result of public awareness events.
91003 applications on extension of temporary staying period, granting temporary and permanent residence permissions, adoption, revocation and restoration of citizenship, as well as determination of citizenship and refugee status, issuing work permits for carrying out labor activity and extending period of existing work permits were received from foreigners and stateless persons by State Migration Service. Each application was investigated in accordance with legislation of the Republic of Azerbaijan and relevant decisions were made. 51366 foreigners and stateless persons and their children under age of 18 immigrating together with them were issued temporary and 1859 permanent residence permissions, temporary staying period of 755 was extended.
Last year 37608cases concerning infringement of requirements of administrative legislation by foreigners without observing rules of stay, temporary and permanent residence, as well as residence with invalid documents in the Republic of Azerbaijan have been revealed. Residence of 3306 of them in the country was legalized, decisions were made on 27683 foreigners to leave the territory of the Republic of Azerbaijan and 6431 foreigners were removed in administrative order from the country.
Last year 12000 foreigners were issued work permits for carrying out paid labor activity. Inspections were carried out in 257 entrepreneurial subjects by SMS as law-enforcement body implementing state control over observing rules of regulation of usage of foreign labor resources, 164 cases concerning infringement of rules were revealed and 2543 foreigners were removed from the country for carrying out illegal labor activity.
Providingparticipationof local labor resources in grand projects implemented in our country is one of the main priorities today, as the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan noted, citizen of the country must firstbenefit from its development.
As an executor of this policy, SMS has contributed to realization of nationalization program in energetics, oil and gas projects of our country.Each operator, contract and sub-contract companies have completed their nationalization program according to provisions reflected and fixed in the “Contract of Century” and nationalization program covering 2014-2018 years has been approved. In accordance with provisions of that program, 95% of employees together with specialist training should consist of citizens of the Republic of Azerbaijan in sector of energetics in 2018.
The President of the Republic of Azerbaijan gave concrete instructions for ensuring socio-economic development of our Republic in 2015 and protection of our country from impacts of existing situation in the world within the meeting of the Cabinet of Ministers dedicated to the results of socio-economic development of 2014 and objectives for the future. Serious tasks are put beforeSMS in the regulation of these important issues. Rest assured I want to express that, SMS is resolved to fulfill with high professionalism duties and tasks such as contributing to country’s economy, protection of security and domestic labor market of our country in 2015, as well.
Chief of State Migration Service of the Republic of Azerbaijan
III rank state migration service counselor