Dynamical development of the Republic of Azerbaijan makes necessary regulation of migration processes on the state level
National security conception of each country is established on different purposes depending on its geographical location, position in the international relations system, scientific-intellectual potential, natural and labour resources. The globalization processes with all its positive directions has made the management of internal and external migration one of the priority issues of the state policy.
The economical-political relations among states, integration in the socio-cultural sphere, at the same time, the problems arising because of national, racial, regional conflicts, the extraordinary situations and natural disasters results with the mass migration. Migration processes are closely connected with the level of economical development of different continents, states and regions. The great differences between the living standards of highly developed and undeveloped countries are considered one of the main reasons of migration processes. People not being able to provide normal living standards in their own country are trying to settle in the developed countries by all means-legally or illegally. Fight against illegal migration plays an important role in the protection of labour market, reduction of unemployment level, also in the prevention of international terrorism, religious-political extremism, drugs and human trafficking in the countries.
Locating between East and West and being on the way of dynamic economical development Azerbaijan has become the main global energy projects provider and the state control on the migration processes in the Republic plays an important role in the guarantee of national security.
It is important to mention that the national leader Heydar Aliyev beginning to head the government in 1993 on request of the nation considered the migration management processes necessary and provided the implementation of the respective measures in this sphere. As a consequence of these measures which have been implemented under the leadership of national leader, the emigration processes from our Republic to the developed countries have been reduced and many families represented other nations have returned to their countries.
The opinion expressed by our national leader Heydar Aliyev at the meeting held with the leaders of the distinguished USA Jewish organizations in 2000 is especially interesting:”As you know, the flow of Jews from the Soviet Union to Western countries, the USA and Israel beginning from 1988 and 1989 was increased. The same process was more difficult in Azerbaijan because of the socio-political processes, the war between Armenia and Azerbaijan and the strained international situation in the country. But since 1993 we achieved internal socio-political stability in the country and the migration of the population has stopped.
Even I can say that the Jewish people migrated from Azerbaijan to Israel are already returning back to Azerbaijan.”
As a result of our national leader’s political principality the “Contract of the Century” has been signed with authoritative oil companies of the world, the amount of the foreign investments to the national economy has increased, infrastructure and business projects in different spheres have been implemented, especially, the flow of labour migrants to the country has accelerated. At the same time, the use of their great experience in the modernization process has become objective realities of the new modern world.
Renewal in all spheres of our Republic, strengthening of highly qualified foreign specialists’ position in the labour markets related with the necessity of application of modern technologies in the management has resulted with organization of new structures in the relevant ministries. Establishment of migration departments under the Ministries of Labour and Social Protection of Population and Internal Affairs, as well as the State Border Service and effective activity of Ministry of National Security in the sphere of migration has become very important in the implementation of the state policy in this direction. These agencies have been strengthened the fight against illegal migrants-persons using invalid or false documents to change their countries for any reason.
Taking into account real need in the labour market our republic accepts the definite number of migrants every year and also takes steps within the frame of the law against foreigners illegally coming to Azerbaijan to work.
Azerbaijan Republic has faced with internal and external migration processes because of transitional period and implemented systematical measures to eliminate the negative effects of migration processes.
The internal migration has appeared in two forms - “forced migration” and “social-economical migration” and determined some actual duties in front of the government. Forced migration began as a result of genocide, deportation and aggression policy of Armenia from the end of 80s of the last century and Azerbaijan was the first Republic in the post Soviet Union faced with the refugee and IDP problem.
As a result of ethnic cleansing and aggression policy of Armenia, more than one million compatriots have been withdrawn from their native land and have taken asylum in different regions of our republic. During his presidency our national leader Heydar Aliyev did his best to solve the problems of the citizens faced with forced migration and provide them with the government care.
Successfully continuing the state policy in this sphere, the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Mr. Ilham Aliyev has implemented purposeful and efficient measures in the direction of elimination of negative effects of the external and internal migration in the last five years. The head of state has determined the prevention of the urbanization processes as a main priority in the development of economical policy and especially considered necessary the propositional development of each region of the republic from the view of protecting the principle of social justice. Taking into account the scale of the problem and its urgency for Azerbaijan, at the meeting with the government members held on November 17, 2003, Mr. Ilham Aliyev defined balanced and durable development of the regions as one of the necessary direction in the economical policy.
The State Program on “Social-economical development of the Republic of Azerbaijan (2004-2008)” approved by the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan on February 11, 2004, directed to the elimination of the negative effects and impacts of the internal migration connected with social-economical reasons. The conference held related with report on the results of State Program has affirmed the considerable decrease of the internal migration level connected with the social-economical reasons. The citizens coming to Baku from the regions or villages to find a job are returning back and provided with a suitable job.
From 2004 to 2008 the head of the state visited the most regions of the republic and interested in the works that have been done within the frame of the State Program on economical and social development of regions also gave necessary recommendations and instructions.
The head of the state has attended ground breaking and opening ceremonies of 500 enterprises and institutions being very significant for development and flourishing of the country.
As a result of these visits the president has signed 17 orders to accelerate the socio-economical development of regions and cities including into Quba, Khacmaz, Shaki-Zakhatala, Mountainous Shirvan, Lankaran, Aran, Ganja–Qazakh, and Mountainous Kharabakh economic regions and even some considerable measures that haven’t been mentioned in the State Program have been implemented.
Last year the volume of the investment directed to the implementation of the State Program on “Economical and social development of the regions of Azerbaijan Republic” has amounted 6.8 billion AZN, only in 2008 2 billion AZN was spent for this purpose. As a result of practical measures implemented towards the development of non oil sector and branch out of the economy, the investment to the non oil sector increased 6.8 times and its special weight increased from 26.8 % to 69 % during 2003–2008. The employment level of the population living in the regions has increased, 27.500 new institutions have been established and 766.300 work places have been opened as a result of successful implementation of this and other state programs for the development of the regions.
Despite the increase in the number of the unemployed related with the global financial crisis in some highly developed countries, opening of 120000 new work places in Azerbaijan is the result of successful economical policy in 2008. As a basic subject of internal migration, IDPs and refugees have been protected with high attention and care of Azerbaijan government.
During presidential election period in 2003 the head of the state Mr. Ilham Aliyev who declared the liquidation of all IDPs tents in all territories of the republic completely kept his promise in short time and provided them with modern new flats.
The State Program on “Improvement of living conditions and employment for refugees and IDPs” approved by the Presidential Order dated on July 1, 2004 has provided the moving of forced migrants to the new settlements. Within the State Program 12 tent camps were eliminated on December 2007. For these purposes 464 million AZN was spent from the State Oil Fund and more than 15 thousand houses were built in 54 new settlements for the last five years.
Great achievements - dynamical growth of the state budget and gross domestic products (GDP), opening of new work places with the creation of production enterprises, development of the entrepreneur activity, modernization of the infrastructure - gained in all spheres of the republic under the leadership of President Ilham Aliyev draw foreigner’s attraction to our country and intensifies foreign migration processes.
As Mr. Ilham Aliyev mentioned in the Cabinet of Ministers meeting dedicated to the results of the first half of 2008 Azerbaijan is becoming to an attractive country for foreigners, the number of labour migrants arriving in our republic to find well-paid job is increasing year by year. “The foreigners in Azerbaijan are working in different spheres. They are specialists with high salary and employees engaged in the energy or service sectors. Along with it, there are enough workers in the country and the number of them is increasing. I would like to say that, this is necessary indicator of the economic development. At the second it shows that, Azerbaijan is an attractive country to live. We have already known that, but now the entire world knows that. The security issues and public-political tranquility are solved and protected in high-level in Azerbaijan and there is development, tolerance and stability in the country. Along with it, we have to strengthen our migration policy and create a very strong system. I have told about it before. Each citizen arriving in the country must be registered, nobody must work here illegally. We have to know at any case where the foreigner is and what is he/she doing.
At the same time with high-speed socio-economical development realization of significant international projects in the energy and transport spheres, as well as suitable geopolitical position of the republic has intensified the migration processes in Azerbaijan. The adjustment of migration processes with efficient method and means by the state body and simplification of the registration procedures is the necessity of that objective reality dictated in the new stage of economical development in our republic.
Exact registration of migrants and implementation of statistics for regulating of the migration processes, provision of migrants with jobs within the frame of the law of the country is important from the point of national security of Azerbaijan. Mr. Ilham Aliyev who highly estimated this reality signed Order on “Affirmation of the State Migration Program (2006 - 2008) of the Republic of Azerbaijan” on July 25, 2006.
The present State Program has prepared in accordance with the “State Program on “Development of population and demography spheres in the Republic of Azerbaijan” approved by the Presidential Decree dated on November 11, 2004.
The main purpose of the State Migration Program is to realize the state policy in the sphere of migration, to develop migration management system, to adjust and forecast migration processes, to improve the legislation in accordance with international norms and current requirements, to ensure efficiency of law application, to create unified database in the field of migration, as well as modern automated control system, to prevent illegal migration and to take measures related with the social protection of migrants.
In order to implement the state policy in the sphere of migration, to develop migration management system, to regulate and forecast the migration processes and to coordinate activity of relevant bodies in the sphere of migration the Presidential Decree on establishment of the State Migration Service and its Regulation approved on March 19, 2007. Implementation of state policy in the field of migration, improvement of legislation according to the international norms and current requirements, elimination of negative impacts of irregular migration, organization of national security and stable social – economical and demographic development of Azerbaijan Republic is the priority for the State Migration Service. Rational use of labour recourses, proportionate settlement of the population in the country, using of intellectual and labour potentials of migrants, prevention of illegal migration including human trafficking also belong to its duties. The State Migration Service acts together with the Ministries of Interior, Foreign Affairs, National Security, Labour and Social Protection of the Population and other relevant bodies, also coordinates activity of these bodies in the field of migration. During realization of its duties and rights the State Migration Service coordinates its activity with central, local executive governmental bodies and non-governmental organizations (NGOs). Service considers issues on citizenship, extension of temporary staying period of foreigners, granting permissions for foreigners and stateless persons intending to reside temporary and permanently in the country, granting refugee status for asylum seekers. The State Migration Service makes respective decisions after consideration of appeals of persons applied according to the legislation. The State Migration Service realizes control in conformity with the legislation of Azerbaijan on foreigners and stateless persons temporary and permanently resided in the territory of the country and takes relevant steps for deportation of foreigners violating existing legislation.
In order to inform foreigners and stateless persons about migration legislation several brochures have been prepared in different languages. Migration Information Center started its functioning and official Internet site of the Service (www.migration.gov.az) has been updated.
In order to regulate migration processes in the regions two regional departments of the State Migration Service in Shirvan and Yevlakh regions have been started its functioning.
To learn international experience, improvement of the legislation in this sphere the State Migration Service collaborates with international organizations as International Organization for Migration (IOM), United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), European Union (EU), European Council (EC), Commonwealth Independent States (CIS), as well as Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Russia, and other countries. Azerbaijan has signed bilateral and multilateral agreements, has also acceded to the conventions and legal acts of European Council.
Regulation of migration processes makes necessary application of international experience in the country, improvement of national legislation according to the international standards, signing of the international treaties on the bilateral and multilateral bases, coordinating of migration policy with other countries.
Expedient of the joining the international treaties in the field of migration, intensification of agreement signing processes with other countries, cooperation with the relevant bodies of foreign countries in the field of fight against illegal migration, specially, with the International Organization for Migration, as well as organization of training courses for learning international experience are successfully being implemented within the frame of the State Migration Program (2006 - 2008) of Azerbaijan Republic.
Last years a number of measures have been implemented in the legislation field for the purpose of managing and regulating migration processes.
Additions and amendments were made in the migration legislation along with the elimination of gaps in this sphere, also served to the strictly execution of procedures connected with granting immigrant status to foreigners and stateless persons and improvement of the legislation database related with the development of migration system. On June 24, 2008 additions and amendments were made to the Laws of the Republic of Azerbaijan on “Exit from, entry to the country and passports”, “Legal status of foreigners and stateless persons”, “Registration for the place of residence and staying”, “On immigration”, “Citizenship of the Republic of Azerbaijan” on regards to human rights and freedoms and according to the international legislation. At the present relevant measures are being continued in the direction of improvement of legislation acts.
Within the frame of Presidential Decree (August 5, 2008) on “Development of migration management system and Application of the Law of the Republic of Azerbaijan on “Additions and amendments to some legislation acts of Azerbaijan Republic numbered 658-III QD, dated on June 24, 2008” concrete complex measures are being implemented in this field.
President Ilham Aliyev has put the duty of strengthening control in the sphere of migration management processes for the state bodies and for this purpose, he charged the State Migration Service to analyze and prognosticate migration processes, organize monitoring, prepare statistical information and reports, also to provide maintaining of record by means of new technology. Strengthening of the control in this area, as well as, establishment of unified information system will create a suitable condition for taking relevant measures in the field of ensuring security and combating illegal migration.
As a result of existence of a non-visa regime with several countries, the number of foreigners passing through the territory of our republic under transit rules or entering the country for a short period, trying to visit the third country or residing permanently without legal base is increasing day by day.
Prevention of illegal migration is one of the considerable issues in the national security of our republic. The migration control system must be corresponding with the existing situation related with illegal migration. The migration management process strictly demands the implementation of the international obligation, protection of human rights and freedom, national interests and state security.
The measures on strengthening of cooperation with international organizations and relevant state bodies, intensification of the contract signing processes with neighbor countries and signing important agreements, determining obligations and responsibilities are being realized at the present. The concrete steps in the direction of adoption of the normative legal acts on control strengthening, also on transit passage rules from the territory of our country, legally adjustment of internal migration, deportation of illegal migrants from the country, coordination of the state bodies’ activities are taken.
Functioning of Migration Information Center of the State Migration Service-“Hot line” from December 1, 2008 is considerable form the point of ensuring of transparency in this sphere and obtaining of necessary information. Persons intending receiving comprehensive information related to granting permission on temporary and permanently reside for foreigners and stateless persons, immigrant status, making decision on extension of temporary staying period of foreigners and stateless persons arriving in the Republic of Azerbaijan, as well as on determination of citizenship and refugee status and other issues should apply to the Migration Information Center.
The continuous measures implemented by the President of Azerbaijan Republic Mr. Ilham Aliyev serve to the regulation of migration processes on the bases of unified procedures, completely elimination of the obstacles in this field and simplification of the documentation processes.
The Decree on “Application of the “Single window” Principle in the migration management” dated on Martch 4, 2009 is important from the point of management of migration processes by means of mobile and efficient mechanisms, elimination of the problems in this sphere.
In the first place, this decree serves to improve migration management mechanism and to simplify the procedures of grating permissions to foreigners and stateless persons entering the Republic of Azerbaijan for lawful residence and engaging in labour activity, and of their registration for the place of residence, as well as to ensure transparency in this sphere.
According to this decree, the “Single Window” Principle in the migration management processes will be applied from July 1, 2009 by the State Migration Service as a unit state body.
The State Migration Service should perform the following duties with regard to the present decree:
• Receipt of documents for the purpose of granting to foreigners and stateless persons permission to reside temporarily or permanently in the territory of the Republic of Azerbaijan;
• Receipt of documents for the purpose of granting to foreigners and stateless persons work permits to engage in paid labour activities, and submission of those documents, together with its opinion, to the Ministry for Labour and Social Protection of the Population of the Republic of Azerbaijan;
• Granting to foreigners and stateless persons permissions to reside temporarily or permanently in the territory of the Republic of Azerbaijan;
• Registration of the foreigners and stateless persons, who obtained permission to reside temporarily or permanently in the territory of the Republic of Azerbaijan, for the place of their residence;
• Issue relevant cards to the foreigners and stateless persons, who obtained the permission to reside temporarily or permanently in the territory of the Republic of Azerbaijan;
• Extension of the temporarily staying period in the country for foreigners and stateless persons entering the Republic of Azerbaijan;
• Maintaining records of the foreigners and stateless persons residing and temporarily staying in the Republic of Azerbaijan, by means of the Unified Migration Information System of the State Migration Service of the Republic of Azerbaijan;
• Other actual issues.
Applications for granting to foreigners and stateless persons permission for temporary residence in the territory of the Republic of Azerbaijan shall be processed by the State Migration Service within 20 days.
The foreigners and stateless persons, who obtained permission for temporary or permanently reside in the territory of the Republic of Azerbaijan shall be entitled, from the date of application of the “Single Window” Principle in the migration management, to exit and re-enter the Republic of Azerbaijan on the base of valid identification documents (passport or relevant document confirming a stateless person’s identity) and the relevant cards issued by the State Migration Service.
The arrival and departure of transit migrants is inevitable because of suitable geopolitical situation of the independent Azerbaijan Republic. The main goals are to prevent illegal settlement of these migrants in the territory of our country and crossing to the third country through the territory of our republic as a transit passage. The purposeful measures implemented by the President of Azerbaijan Republic Mr. Ilham Aliyev ensure the efficient activity of the State Migration Service in this sphere, also improve its work methods and means. The State Migration Service gratefully meeting this confidence has possibility to execute its duties on time and correctly, to implement the effective measures against illegal migration, to make contribution to the national security of our Republic.
Mr. Arzu Rahimov
State Migration Service Chief