Migration processes in the contemporary world: in the context of Azerbaijan reality
International Migrants Day is celebrated on December 18 of each year throughout the world.
AZERTAG presents article of Chief of State Migration Service related to this day.
Today, the achievements of Azerbaijan, which is going through the most magnificent period of development and powerful statehood in its history, are based on the national development policy and social stability set by the National Leader Heydar Aliyev and successfully continued by President Ilham Aliyev.
As is known, for the first 9 months of this year, the currency reserves of Azerbaijan increased and now it is 42 billion dollars. Since the beginning of the year, our foreign exchange reserves have grown 4.5 billion dollars, and our non-oil economy has grown by 2.5 percent. All this is the result of the policy carried out and works done in our country by the President Ilham Aliyev.
Davos World Economic Forum placed Azerbaijani economy in the 35th place in the world (1st place among the CIS countries) for the competitiveness. Through the economic and financial crisis in the world, the economy of our country was highly appreciated.
As a result of development of Azerbaijan and the image of a stable country recognized in the world, for many years now our republic has hosted grandiose international events. At each event, as a result of the highest attention and organizational skills of personally President Ilham Aliyev and First Vice President Mehriban Aliyeva, large-scale, grandiose activity is demonstrated by our state.
In general, the IV Games of Islamic Solidarity, Azerbaijan Grand Prix Formula One, the IV World Forum on Intercultural Dialogue held this year were another perfect organizational model created by Azerbaijan. Hosting these events in our country is a clear example of the commitment of the Republic of Azerbaijan to tolerance and multiculturalism principles. Of course, the announcement 2017 as "The Year of Islamic Solidarity" with the Order of President Ilham Aliyev is not accidental, and has a great socio-political, international and ideological significance. Works done within the framework of this year covers wide spectrum, not only religious factor.
Another remarkable event is the recent signing of a new mega-oil contract with the consortium of leading international energy companies. This contract will allow Azerbaijan to develop gigantic oil deposits until the year of 2050. Tens of billions of additional investment will be invested to maintain a stable oil production profile.
October 30 became an important day as solemn opening ceremony of the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway was held on this day. President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev, first lady Mehriban Aliyeva, President of the Republic of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his wife Emine Erdogan, Prime Minister of the Republic of Kazakhstan Bakytzhan Sagintayev, Georgian Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili, Prime Minister of Uzbekistan Abdulla Aripov, as well as delegations of Tajikistan and Turkmenistan attended the opening ceremony at Baku International Sea Trade Port. The agreement on the construction of the railway was signed in Tbilisi on February 7, 2007. In November of the same year foundations of the railway line was laid at the Marabda area of Georgia. In July 2008, the groundbreaking ceremony for the Kars-Georgia border section was held in Kars. The 504 kilometer part of the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway line with a total length of almost 850 kilometers falls on the territory of Azerbaijan. The 263 kilometer section of the railway passes through Georgia. And 79 kilometers of the road is in Turkey.
According to the forecast it is predicted that in the 3rd year of its operation 3-5 million tons, the fifth year - 6-8 tons of cargo will be transported via Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway. After that, 3 million passengers and 17 million tons of cargo will be transported annually. Using this railway it will take one day to reach Kars, and two day and half to Istanbul. And this will have a powerful impact on the development of tourism in the region. All this clearly demonstrates the importance of the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway line, its security, reliability, speed and time savings. Thus, when the road is put into operation, time period of goods transportation will decrease twice as compared with existing ones.
Leading the realization of one of the great projects of our independence history, Azerbaijan once again confirmed that it can successfully implement projects of regional and global significance. This can be seen, also when the geopolitical and geo-economic efficiency of the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway is considered. Thus, implementation of this railway line is a great contribution to stability and economic development in the region.
Today, each of us is grateful to the national development policy, the foundation of which was laid by the Great Leader, for living in a calm, safe, stable country and for lack of any concern for our life and the lives of our loved ones. And every employee of the migration authorities unequivocally supports the wise activity of President Ilham Aliyev, who is the guarantor of continuing these achievements on an even broader scale.
As you know, our period is full of extremely complicated, critical, changeable events. In 2017 dangerous trends have intensified in the world. And there are a lot of worrying aspects both in our region, and in other regions. Unfortunately wars, conflicts, bloody clashes, crises are elements of today's international panorama. So, 30 years ago there were 30 million refugees and IDPs, 25 centers of conflict in the world. But today the number of refugees and internally displaced persons in the world has exceeded 65 million people, and the number of conflict zones is up to 70. Already the confrontations and wars in many hot spots of the world took a large-scale, long-lasting character. And local authorities instead of increasing budget revenues and raising the social welfare of the population are forced to fight for ensuring internal stability. The other side of the issue now is that although the laws adopted in European countries provide equal rights and high standard of living for everyone irrespective of race, religion, but a number of countries treats migrants selectively for their religious affiliation. Azerbaijan as always carries out a peace-loving policy, invites countries to solidarity and shows an example to the whole world.
Today, occupation of 20 percent of our territory and the exposure of more than a million of our compatriots to ethnic cleansing by Armenia are the main threats to our security. Nevertheless, all attempts of Armenian side to bring the military occupation of Azerbaijani territories to political platform and to legitimize the fact of aggression under the pretext of self-determination have failed. The international community does not recognize the consequences of the military occupation of Azerbaijani territories by Armenia, on the contrary, UN Security Council resolutions and other international documents condemn attempts to change the borders of Azerbaijani territories using occupation and force. The international public opinion has formed a clear idea of aggressive policy and lies of Armenia. Armenia exposed itself for the next time by committing provocation in Alkhanly village. The murder of Zakhra and her grandmother showed to the whole world the true colours of Armenian fascism.
At the opening ceremony of 72nd Session of UN General Assembly Ilham Aliyev said: “Last April Armenia committed another war crime on the line of contact attacking our cities and villages. As a result of this attack, 6 Azerbaijani civilians were killed, including one child and 26 civilians were wounded. Hundreds of our houses were destroyed. Azerbaijan had to defend its citizens. As a result of successful counter-attack, Azerbaijan liberated some territories in the 3 occupied regions - Aghdere, Fuzuli and Jabrayil and hosed its national flag on the liberated territories. Armenian leadership should not forget this lesson. Otherwise, the result of the next Armenian provocation will be more painful for them.
International community must stop Armenian fascism and terror. Azerbaijan is committed to peaceful resolution of the conflict but at the same time will defend its citizens in line with UN charter if Armenian military provocations continue and if necessary will punish once again the aggressor as it was done in April, 2016”. Commander-in-Chief’s position gives us reason to say that we will return to our land.
During the fighting in April 2016 leading by President Ilham Aliyev, the army was able to restore the resettlement of the occupied village of Jojug Marjanli in the Jabrayil district after the liberation of Leletepe. The President of Azerbaijan signed decrees on construction of houses, proper infrastructure and road construction in the village. The life in Jojug Marjanli has already been settled. This year Day of Knowledge was celebrated, the first bell rang in this village. This is the beginning of the Great Return. April victory is the glorious page in the military history of Azerbaijani Army.
At the beginning of his term of office in 2004, Mr. Ilham Aliyev said that "we have to turn black gold into human capital." Since then government of Azerbaijan has invested large capital in education and health infrastructure. Appropriate works have been done regarding the accommodation of refugees and IDPs, nearly 100 settlements have been built, 250.000 of them have been provided with new houses and apartments, and this process is continuing.
As it is known, the terroristic act in USA on September 11, 2011 showed that terror is borderless and once again confirmed the thesis proposed by many critics “terrorism in the XXI century will be more dangerous". 4000 persons died in this terrorist act. As a result of the explosion of the World Trade Center, 95 billion dollars of damage was inflicted to New York City economy and 83 thousand persons lost their workplace. After the biggest terrorist act in the world, interest in improving the management of migration processes was increased.
The growth of the number of migrants in our republic in connection with economic development, as well as the location of our country in a sensitive region made it important for Azerbaijan to improve the management of migration processes in the early 2000s. Throughout the history on the ancient land of Azerbaijan, located at the crossroads of Europe and Asia, people belonging to different religions and cultures have lived in peace and tranquility. Azerbaijani people still maintain its rich traditions of tolerance and multiculturalism which has deep historic roots, contribute to the inter-civilization dialogue, intra-Islamic and inter-confessional solidarity. At the same time national and religious tolerance supported at state level. As political will is essential here. At the time of tragedies in the world, radicalization on religious and ethnic basis, extremism, crisis of moral values, problem of migrant, multicultural lifestyle in Azerbaijan is a rare example of culture. This is our lifestyle. By way of example we represent it to the world and proud that author of this elitist idea is President Ilham Aliyev. In a word, efforts of Azerbaijan serve to the peace and its protection against background of confrontations in the world based on racial, national, ethnic and other motives. No human rights violation on national, ethnic and religious grounds was registered in Azerbaijan so far.
As stated in “State Migration Management Policy Concept of the Republic of Azerbaijan” approved on July 13, 2004, ensuring national security and stable socio-economic, demographic development in our country, efficient use of labour resources, efficient distribution of people on the territory of the country, regulation of Armenia-Azerbaijan, Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, ensuring refugees and internally displaced persons’ return to their home in secure environment and with dignity, creating national asylum application system in accordance with international standards, using intellectual and labour potential of migrants, elimination of negative impact of irregular migration processes, prevent illegal migration, including human trafficking, exploring factors that can be a cause of unexpected mass migration and timely preparation of comprehensive measures for the optimal solution are the main goals of regulation of migration processes in Azerbaijan.
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. Vis-à-vis the globalization occurring in the world Azerbaijan pursues active migration policy in order to influence the migration processes in the region, to control migration flows to the country and to manage and regulate migration processes in the country in compliance with national legislation.
The Service implements functions such as registration of foreigners and stateless persons upon place of stay, extension of temporary staying period in the country, issuance of permits for temporary and permanent residence, adoption, revocation and restoration of citizenship, as well as establishment of citizenship and determination of refugee status, granting work permits and extending existing ones in order to carry out paid labor activity.
Today we can say with confidence that high level protection of rights of foreigners arriving in the country on legal basis and legalizing their stay and residence in the republic, and labor migrants engaging in paid labor activity on the basis of work permit, as well as 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: “We have to strengthen migration policy even more and create very strict system”. Every arriving foreign citizen should get registered. No single person should work illegally here. At any moment we should know where any foreign citizen is, what and which work he/she is engaged in”.
Several measures serving the regulation of migration processes with unified and flexible procedures and facilitation of the documentation yield their results. One of these measures was Decree of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan “On Application of “one-stop-shop” principle in the management of migration processes” dated from March 4, 2009. 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 was launched from July 1, 2009 and competences of the unified state authority on this principle were entrusted to State Migration Service.
The law-enforcement body status was given to State Migration Service according to the Decree of President Ilham Aliyev dated from April 8, 2009 in order to enhance measures against illegal migration and to improve the activity of the Service.
Keeping migration processes under control in Azerbaijan first of all, is significant in terms of ensuring national security comprehensively. As, preventing the negative effect of irregular migration processes is a serious issue. But of course, in any case respect to human and citizen rights and freedoms, rule of law and humanism principles should be taken into account. According to amendments to the legislation for the purpose of development of migration management system since 2009 within the framework of entrusted competence, State Migration Service participates in fight against illegal migration, processes issues on administrative offences regarding the infringement of migration legislation, and detains foreigners and stateless persons violating the requirements of legislation, if necessary.
Today Azerbaijan is an island of stability. As a result of this, global interest towards Azerbaijan has increased. The number of tourists’, foreign citizens’ inflow to our country has considerably increased during the previous year and today this tendency continues, as well. Thus, for the first 9 months of 2017, 1.243.346 foreigners entered the territory of the Republic of Azerbaijan in 2.072.076 cases and in 2.077.544 cases, 1.241.005 foreigners left the country.
66.828 applications were received by State Migration Service on obtaining permits to stay and reside within the territory of the Republic of Azerbaijan, obtaining work permits to carry out paid labor activity, determination of refugee status, adoption, revocation and restoration of citizenship of the Republic of Azerbaijan and establishment of citizenship.
In total, 79.614 calls were received by the Call Center division during the 9 months of 2017. According to Article 21 of the Migration Code which entered into force on August 1, 2013, foreigners or stateless persons should get registered upon place of stay within 10 days in case they intend to stay in the Republic of Azerbaijan for more than 10 days. For this purpose, the management of hotel, sanatorium, rest home, guest house, camping, tourist base, hospital or other similar places or the owner of the apartment or other residential area where the foreigner or stateless person stays, in a word, the receiving party should apply to State Migration Service via e-services on the official website (www.migration.gov.az) of the SMS or directly to Regional Migration Departments with the application and copy of the foreigner’s passport or other border crossing document for registration upon place of stay of the foreigner or stateless person within 10 days after his/her arrival in the country. When foreigners and stateless persons leave their places of stay, the receiving party or the person himself/herself should inform migration bodies about it and they should be deregistered upon place of stay based on that information. As well as, when foreigner changes his/her place of stay, he/she should be registered upon new place of stay in a relevant way. Foreigners are considered deregistered when the registration period expires.
I want to mention that during only 9 months of this year 633.827 foreigners and stateless persons applied for registration upon the place of stay.
Some persons does not approach to this registration seriously and register persons whom they don’t know, have no any information about, and as a result of the investigation it is revealed that this foreigner does not live in his/her place of registration. In some cases people carelessly approach to this requirement of the legislation and generally do not provide foreigner’s registration. Of course, an administrative liability emerges because the requirement of Code is violated and both guest and the receiving physical or juridical person are fined. According to Article 575.3 of the Administrative Offences Code (AOC) for violation of rules determined by the Migration Code of the Republic of Azerbaijan on registration and deregistration of foreigners or stateless persons, issuance of documents entitling them to stay or reside in the Republic of Azerbaijan by officials of enterprise, department or organization which hosts foreigners or stateless persons in the Republic of Azerbaijan, ensures rendering of services to them or their recruitment and fulfills duties on observing conditions of their stay, residence in the Republic of Azerbaijan or transit through the territory of the Republic of Azerbaijan, the fine is imposed on officials in the amount from three hundred manats up to five hundred manats, on juridical persons in the amount from two thousand manats up to three thousand manats.
According to Article 577 of the AOC citizens of the Republic of Azerbaijan or foreigners or stateless persons residing in our country who provide foreigners and stateless persons with residential area are fined in the amount from three hundred up to five hundred manats for not taking measures for their timely registration and deregistration in a way envisaged by the Migration Code of the Republic of Azerbaijan.
Today, arrival date, residence and work place, as well as departure of every foreigner and stateless person are kept under full control via Unified Migration Information System by SMS. But considering the foreigner who becomes an illegal migrant by residing without authorization and violating the requirement of the law only as a person committing an administrative offence may not be accepted as a good approach vis-a-vis events occurring in the world. As, here security issues of the state, citizens and people emerges.
I would like to mention that during 9 months SMS conducted relevant measures in the field of fight against illegal migration within its competences and in total 17.076 decisions were made on violation of the requirements of migration, as well as administrative legislation of the Republic of Azerbaijan by foreigners and stateless persons.
Certainly, today the security has been completely ensured and stability exists in Azerbaijan. The relevant structural units of the State implement their activities with a high professionalism. However, not only special service, security and law-enforcement entities, but also every citizen should be agile for the security of the country and worthily implement just a simple duty envisaged by the law like ensuring the registration of foreigner or stateless person upon place of stay, as well as informing State Migration Service when the registration period expires or person changes his/her place of residence. In that case, both our guest and country will be safe.
As you know, substantial works have been done for the development of tourism which is determined as a priority field in the country by Mr. President for instance enforcement of “ASAN Visa”.
Of course, Service understands its own responsibility regarding all of these. I can say without doubt that employees of migration bodies are trying to decently fulfill the duties of Service, as well as to ensure free arrival and departure of foreigners and stateless persons visiting our country and to address effectively issues on migration.
Chief of the State Migration Service
of the Republic of Azerbaijan,
II rank state migration service counselor