State Migration Service conducts its activities based on the principles of rule of law, humanity and respect to human rights and liberties
Interview of the chief of State Migration Service, II rank state migration service counselor Mr. Firudin Nabiyev to the website of the New Azerbaijan Party.
- Mr. Nabiyev, few days ago You have participated at high-level Summit of UN General Assembly on “Addressing large movements of refugees and migrants”. Please give us detailed information about this.
- Heads of states and governments, ministers, representatives of research centers and civil societies have participated at the high level meeting conducted in the format of plenary meeting and six round tables. Serious issues such as prevention of large-scale refugee flows, elimination of reasons of migration and especially large- scale migrant flows and emphasis on positive contributions of migrants have been discussed at the event.
The purpose of the meeting chaired by the President of UN General Assembly was to bring the countries together for setting more humane and coordinated approaches in the mentioned sphere. We raised several serious issues at the high level meeting on “Addressing large movements of refugees and migrants” and at the round table conducted in the framework of this meeting on “International action and cooperation on refugees and migrants and issues related to displacement: the way ahead”. The reasons for significance and sensitiveness attached by Azerbaijan to IDP issues were voiced from this high tribune.
As known, our country has faced large scale internal displacement problem due to occupation of its territories by Armenia. Azerbaijan with total population of 9.7 million is one of the counties with the biggest burden of displacement for per capita IDPs. It is more than 25 years that Armenia grossly violating norms and principles of international law continues efforts towards consolidation of its aggression policy, as well as current status-quo and hinders return of thousands of Azerbaijani IDPs to their homeland. Furthermore, it should be mentioned with regret that Armenia taking advantage of current refugee and migrant crisis settles Armenians from Syria in occupied territories of Azerbaijan. It is gross violation of international humanitarian law, primarily 1949 Fourth Geneva Convention and its Additional Protocols.
As you know, with the leadership of National leader Heydar Aliyev and present honorable President Ilham Aliyev has undertaken all the problems of IDPs forced from their homeland. Measures on employment, education, accommodation, medical and social provision of these persons are continuously implemented by Azerbaijani Government. During the past period around a hundred modern settlements have been built, accommodation conditions of thousands of refugee and IDP families have been improved. During the past 20 years approximately 6 billion dollars have been spent to solution of social problems of IDPs in Azerbaijan. Efforts of Azerbaijani Government in the sphere of solution of problems of IDPs have been highly appreciated by UNHCR, International Organization for Migration and other organizations. These thoughts have been delivered to the participants.
- What measures are taken in Azerbaijan regarding the protection of rights of migrant and their family members, with which countries agreements have been signed or are expected to be signed?
- I should state that State Migration Service realizes its activity based on the principles of rule of law, humanity and respect to human rights and liberties and always gives importance to the protection of migrants’ rights. Migrants who are unaware of their rights and haven’t legalized their stay in the country can any time face danger of becoming victims of human trafficking. Then the protection of rights of migrants who are not following legal requirements becomes complicated. Particularly, for the purpose of preventing such unpleasant cases to happen foreigners should apply State Migration Service and regional departments of the Service for legalizing their temporary stay and residence in the territory of the country, should carry out its activities on legal base, should be aware of and follow our existing legislation in this sphere.
In this sense State Migration Service carries out a number of significant measures in order to raise awareness and to inform foreigners and stateless persons, as well as the public.
Pursuant to Article 54 of the Migration Code while processing applications of foreigners and stateless persons for issuance of permit for permanent residence in the Republic of Azerbaijan, their knowledge on the rights and obligations set forth by the laws of the Republic of Azerbaijan, as well as on the official language is tested by a commission consisting of experts from State Migration Service, Ministry of Justice and Ministry of Education. Of course, knowing official language of Azerbaijan is significant factor from the aspect of facilitation of migrants’ communication with local population and integration to our society. Foreigners and stateless persons temporarily or permanently residing in the Republic of Azerbaijan should apply with their own will to Training Center of State Migration Service in order to learn Azerbaijani language, history, culture, as well as legislation on their rights and freedoms. Relevant places have been allocated, special programs have been drafted and courses have been organized for them.
Moreover, Azerbaijan pays special attention to international cooperation in the spheres of study and application of best practices in order to ensure efficient protection of migrant rights, to prevent illegal migration, to manage and forecast migration processes.
The Republic of Azerbaijan has signed bilateral and multilateral agreements with a number of countries for the purpose of ensuring protection of the rights of migrants and their family members. There are bilateral agreements with Turkey, Moldova, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Ukraine and Belarus on cooperation in migration field. At present signing of such agreements with a number of countries is expected. Protection of the rights, social protection, facilitation of employment procedures of migrants, including citizens of the Republic of Azerbaijan residing in other countries as migrants are cornerstones of these agreements.
Furthermore, our country via implementation of return of illegal migrants in the frame of readmission agreements signed with European Union and Norway ensures protection of the human rights of them. Measures are being continued in the direction of signing such agreements with a number of other countries.
- How is the precise record of foreigners and stateless persons conducted?
- Highlighting economic growth and democratization line as invariable formula of national development in accordance with development strategy drafted by Great leader Heydar Aliyev, President Ilham Aliyev ensured recognition of our republic in global political arena with positive image, as well as its transformation into regional and international center for economic cooperation. Rapid socio-economic development observed in the Republic of Azerbaijan, measures taken in the field of protection of migrant rights and freedoms, political stability in our country, as well as geopolitical position of our country has resulted in increase in the number of persons migrating to Azerbaijan from various corners of the world. Unified Migration Information System (UMIS) has been established under State Migration Service in order to keep precise record of foreigners and stateless persons residing, working and temporary staying in the Republic of Azerbaijan, to provide the state agencies participating in migration processes management with necessary information, to automate measures on documentation, monitoring, query and analysis and to improve electron services in this sphere. UMIS allows full picture of dynamics of migration processes occurring in the country and creates favorable condition for taking relevant measures in the sphere of fight against illegal migration and ensuring security.
- Information is given related with implementation of wide-scale measures on eradication of statelessness by State Migration Service recently. What measures are taken?
- The Republic of Azerbaijan has acceded to UNHCR campaign “To end statelessness in 10 years” in order to increase awareness in the sphere of fight against statelessness and to eliminate problems arising during determination of legal status of such persons, as well as efficient protection of their rights. Concrete measures are taken towards eradication of statelessness. Numerous awareness raising events and meetings on statelessness held by State Migration Service in various regions of the republic are yielding results. Number of application on establishment of citizenship, as well as on acquisition and restoration of citizenship allows that to be said.
Thus, 1682 persons have acquired and restored citizenship of Azerbaijan since 2008 with the relevant Orders of Azerbaijani President. Besides, affiliation of more than 61 thousand persons to the citizenship of the Republic of Azerbaijan was recognized and they have been provided with identity documents confirming identity of the country citizen by the relevant state authority.
- In which cases affiliation of the person to citizenship of the Republic of Azerbaijan is recognized?
- Pursuant to the “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 case of existence of any of the following grounds persons affiliation to citizenship of the Republic of Azerbaijan is recognized:
· In case the persons, who were citizens of the Republic of Azerbaijan (or Azerbaijan SSR) had been permanently registered upon place of residence until the date when the Law “On Citizenship of the Republic of Azerbaijan” came into force (by October 7, 1998);
· In case the person is a refugee settled on the territory of the Republic of Azerbaijan from January 1, 1988 to January 1, 1992;
· In case the person is a child staying on the territory of the Republic of Azerbaijan and whose both parents are unknown;
· In case the person is one of the following persons born on the territory of the Republic of Azerbaijan:
1. In case one or both of the parents have been citizen of the Republic of Azerbaijan at the time of birth;
2. In case both of the parents have been stateless persons;
· In case the person born from citizen(s) of the Republic of Azerbaijan beyond the territory of the Republic of Azerbaijan;
· In case both of the spouses adopting a foreign or stateless child are citizens of the Republic of Azerbaijan;
· In case one of the spouses adopting a foreign or stateless child is a citizen of the Republic of Azerbaijan, the other one is a stateless persons, the child;
· In case citizenship of parents is changed and as a result of this both of them acquire citizenship of the Republic of Azerbaijan, their child;
· In case one of the parents of the child is known and that parent acquires citizenship of the Republic of Azerbaijan, his/her child;
· In case one of the parents of the child residing on the territory of the Republic of Azerbaijan is a person who acquired citizenship of the Republic of Azerbaijan, the other one is a stateless person;
· In case citizenship of one of the parents is revoked, the other one remains in citizenship of the Republic of Azerbaijan, their child.
Furthermore, in case of not registration upon place of residence of the person, who had been citizens of the Republic of Azerbaijan (or Azerbaijan SSR) until the date when the Law “On Citizenship of the Republic of Azerbaijan” came into force (by October 7, 1998) and who had not left the territory of the Republic of Azerbaijan, by the day this Law entered into force results in their statelessness, the persons affiliation to citizenship of the Republic of Azerbaijan is recognized.
- In what cases foreigners and stateless persons can be admitted to citizenship of the Republic of Azerbaijan?
- A foreigner or stateless person who permanently resided without interruption for the last 5 years on the territory of the Republic of Azerbaijan on legal bases, has legal source of income, undertakes obligation on observing Constitution and laws of the Republic of Azerbaijan, as well as submits a document certifying his/her knowledge of the official language of the Republic of Azerbaijan may be admitted to citizenship of the Republic of Azerbaijan upon his/her own application according to the Law of the Republic of Azerbaijan “On Citizenship of the Republic of Azerbaijan” irrespective of his/her origin, race and nationality, gender, educational background, religion, political and other convictions.
Moreover, in the following cases a person may be admitted to citizenship of the Republic of Azerbaijan without taking into consideration the mentioned period:
1. in case the person has high achievements in the spheres of science, technology, culture or sport;
2. in case the person is of special interest for the Republic of Azerbaijan and in other exceptional cases.
At the same time in case the person has special services before the Republic of Azerbaijan, he/she can be admitted to citizenship of the Republic of Azerbaijan without taking into consideration the mentioned conditions.
Furthermore, the person who has been citizen of the Republic of Azerbaijan or whose citizenship has been revoked can restore his/her citizenship of the Republic of Azerbaijan upon his/her application.
I should mention one issue that Article 10 of the Law on “Citizenship of the Republic of Azerbaijan” amended on May 30, 2014 stipulates that if the citizen of the Republic of Azerbaijan has dual citizenship, affiliation of that citizen to citizenship of a foreign state shall not be recognized, except for the cases envisaged by international treaties of the Republic of Azerbaijan, or for the cases dealt in accordance with paragraph 32, Article 109 of the Constitution of the Republic of Azerbaijan. The citizen of the Republic of Azerbaijan who acquired the citizenship of a foreign state should notify State Migration Service of the Republic of Azerbaijan about it in written form within a month if the person is on the territory of Azerbaijan or Ministry of Foreign Affairs via diplomatic representations or consular departments of the Republic of Azerbaijan if the person is beyond the territory of the country. The person who doesn't give such information will bear responsibility in a way envisaged by the Criminal Code of the Republic of Azerbaijan. We assume that our citizens who are abroad of Azerbaijan borders will inform relevant state authorities about the issues of citizenship from now on.
Otherwise according to Article 318-2 of the Criminal Code those persons are punished with a fine in the amount from 3 thousands to 5 thousands manats or community works from 360 hours to 480 hours.
- As an entity implementing migration processes management and regulation the Service that you lead carries out state control over the process. What can You say about organization of state control?
- According to the Decree signed by President Ilham Aliyev in order to ensure convenience of migrants in Azerbaijan State Migration Service has been implementing competences of unified state agency on “one-stop-shop” principle in management of migration processes since July 1, 2009. The Service which has the status of law-enforcement body engaged in registration of foreigners and stateless persons upon place of stay in the republic, extension of temporary staying period, issuance and extension of temporary and permanent residence permits, as well as work permits, determination of refugee status, acquisition, restoration and revocation of citizenship, establishment of citizenship, as well as solution of citizenship issues, carries out measures for elimination of shortcomings and abuses that may arise in application of migration legislation, negative impact of migration processes, as well as for effective fight against illegal migration.
In case foreigners and stateless persons violated declared purposes of arrival in the country during their previous stay in the Republic of Azerbaijan or gave falsified information about themselves or on the purpose of their travel, when submitting an application for entry to the Republic of Azerbaijan or has been involved in administrative liabilities for violating the migration legislation twice or more in the last 3 years entry ban for 5 years is imposed on their arrival in the Republic of Azerbaijan.
I should mention that in case of no longer existence of the cases which have been ground for obtaining permission for temporary residence on the territory of the Republic of Azerbaijan and absence of other grounds for obtaining the permission for temporary residence on the territory of our country is not issued to foreigners and stateless persons and previously issued permission is cancelled. Furthermore, according to requirement of the Migration Code in case of stay beyond the territory of the Republic of Azerbaijan for 90 days within 180 days or violation of the purposes of arrival in the country during temporary residence permission for temporary residence is not issued to him/her and previously issued permission is cancelled.
Furthermore, persons illegally residing on the territory of the country, as well as those who intend to obtain refugee status are placed in Detention Centers for Illegal Migrants in Baku and Yevlakh cities which comply with international standards for the period indicated in the Law till their legal status is determined, relevant measures are taken, appropriate decisions are made.
The procedures of consideration of the person’s stay on the territory of the Republic of Azerbaijan undesirable is envisaged by the Migration Code. I would like to mention again that determination of the period of consideration of foreigners and stateless persons undesirable for 5 years, possibility of its extension for additional 5 years in case of not removal of relevant grounds and making decisions on expulsion of those persons from the territory of the Republic of Azerbaijan are carried out by migration bodies. Of course, we cannot say that there are not illegal migrants who violate rules of temporary stay, temporary and permanent residence, reside without invalid documents, carry out illegal labour activity. There are illegal migration cases in all countries of the world. The main problem is to prevent this undesirable situation and to carry out strict fight against illegal migration. State Migration Service successfully copes with this work and information about it is constantly reported to the public.
Availing this opportunity I would like once more to address foreigners and stateless persons arriving in our country and ask them to legalize their stay and residence in the country in compliance with requirement of the legislation and to get registered within determined period. In case foreigners or stateless persons change their place of stay, he/she should without fail inform State Migration Service about it and get registered upon place of stay.