The one of the main activity directions of State Migration Service established for the purpose of implementing state policy in the field of migration, developing migration management system, regulating and forecasting migration processes, coordinating activity of relevant state agencies in this field is to develop cooperation with relevant agencies of foreign states, international and non-governmental organizations in order to strengthen interstate dialogue, to expand cooperation in relevant spheres and relations in combatting illegal migration, to apply practical and innovative methods in the field of interrelated management of migration and development. In this regard State Migration Service utilizes possible international instruments, cooperates bilaterally and multilaterally with international organizations acting in migration sphere and relevant authorities of foreign states for more efficient regulation of migration processes.
State Migration Service expands cooperation links multilaterally with International Organization for Migration (IOM), European Union (EU), United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), International Centre for Migration Policy Development (ICMPD), International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), as well as with the Republic of Turkey, the Russian Federation, the Kingdom of Netherlands, the Kingdom of Belgium, the Federal Republic of Germany, Ukraine, the Republic of Tajikistan and other states bilaterally in the field of legal migration, effective management of migration, readmission, voluntary return, social protection of migrants, carries out joint projects, and also studies progressive and innovative practices in migration sphere.
State Migration Service actively uses EU programs such as Twinning and Technical Assistance and Information Exchange instrument (TAIEX). 1 Twinning and 9 TAIEX projects have been successfully implemented by the Service with the support of EU so far. Moreover, State Migration Service is represented in the first “Democracy, good governance and stability” platform of EU Eastern Partnership. One of the significant steps put forward with regard to enlarging relations with the organization was signing of “Agreement between the European Union and the Republic of Azerbaijan on the facilitation of the issuance of visas” on November 29, 2013 and “Agreement between the European Union and the Republic of Azerbaijan on the readmission of persons residing without authorization” on February 28, 2014, as well as “Joint Declaration on a Mobility Partnership between the Republic of Azerbaijan and the EU and its participating Member States”. The organization mainly funds migration related international projects implemented with international partners.
Cooperation between IOM strengthened after admission of the Republic of Azerbaijan to membership of this organization. Regular meetings and opinion exchange are conducted between the two entities on regulating migration processes, improving e-services rendered in migration field, establishing efficient readmission management, consolidating labor market information system and other directions of interest. An official visit of William Lacy Swing, Director General of IOM, to our country at the invitation of Azerbaijani Government and his meeting with President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Mr. Ilham Aliyev is a reflection of importance that our state gives to this organization as an outcome of our productive cooperation. The participation of the delegation represented by State Migration Service in IOM Council sessions and high level conferences on various periods, as well as visits of the delegations headed by Ms.Laura Thompson, Deputy Director General of the organization and Ms.Argentina Szabados, IOM Regional Director for South-Eastern Europe, Eastern Europe and Central Asia to the country are the indicators of the enhancement of aforementioned cooperation.
The organization carried out a number of significant projects focused on protection of migrants’ rights and their sustainable integration in our country. Currently, the “Enhancing passenger processing capacities in Azerbaijan in line with international best practices and standards” project and “Pilot Project on Assistance for the Voluntary Return of Migrants from Azerbaijan” are ongoing with success, as well as discussions on the implementation of a number of new projects are held.
The Republic of Azerbaijan efficiently cooperates with UNHCR in solving problems of refugees and displaced persons in our country. Expert meetings and events are held constantly between the representation of the organization in Azerbaijan and officers of the Service on topics of determination of refugee status, organization of their integration to society, voluntary repatriation of asylum seekers to their country of origin and other subjects of interest.
The signing of cooperation agreement between Government of the Republic of Azerbaijan and ICMPD, one of the international organizations which State Migration Service closely cooperates in 2006 has led to the entrance of relations between parties into new stage. The abovementioned organization implemented several projects in our country in the framework of Migration: EU expertise (MIEUX) programs. At present, “Reintegration Support to Azerbaijani Returnees (RESTART)” project is successfully implemented and the possibility of realization of numerous new projects are investigated.
Another organization that the Republic of Azerbaijan cooperates with is Commonwealth of Independent States. State Migration Service represents our country in the Council of Heads of Migration Bodies (CHMB) acting within CIS. The Service cooperates within its competences with member states of the Council (except the Republic of Armenia) considering special comments of state leadership. The 8th and 19th meetings of the Council were organized in Baku, respectively, on September 30, 2010 and October 12, 2016.
Along with aforementioned, relevant steps are taken towards enhancement of existing relations with other international partners, such as International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA), German Society for International Cooperation (GIZ). Thus, regular meetings are held with the officials of abovementioned organizations, study visits and workshops are organized with the purpose of raising knowledge and capacity building of the Service employees. Moreover, visits of ICRC’s monitoring group to the Detention Centers for Illegal Migrants of the Service are ensured without any obstacle.
State Migration Service develops its bilateral ties with authorized bodies of different countries responsible for migration issues, as well. The Republic of Turkey, the Russian Federation, the Kingdom of Netherlands, the Federal Republic of Germany can be particularly mentioned among these countries.
Friendship and brotherhood relations between the Republic of Azerbaijan and the Republic of Turkey have been at high level through the history. Regular meetings are held and cooperation perspectives are discussed between the heads of relevant authorities of the Republic of Turkey, as well as its ambassadors in the Republic of Azerbaijan and Service leadership. Currently, works are continued with the Turkish Party towards negotiating new draft projects in the field of migration.
Bilateral relations with state authorities of Russian Federation developed since the establishment of State Migration Service. Between the authorities mutual business visits and meetings were arranged either on managerial and working level, exchange of practices in migration sphere was conducted, also relations were established in the framework of realized cooperation platforms. The visit of Alexandr Gorovoy, First-Deputy Minister of the Internal Affairs of Russia to Azerbaijan for participating in CIS CHMB’s 19th meeting held in Baku in 2016 contributed to the enhancement of bilateral relations.
Relations between the State Migration Service of the Republic of Azerbaijan and Immigration and Naturalization Service, also the Repatriation and Departure Service under Ministry of Justice of the Kingdom of Netherlands are being successfully improved both at bilateral level and within international projects. Regular meetings are held and issues of mutual interest are discussed between chief of the State Migration Service and heads of abovementioned authorities and Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Kingdom of Netherlands in the Republic of Azerbaijan. The visit of the delegation headed by Ms.Jannita Robberse, Director General of Repatriation and Departure Service of the Ministry to our country in 2018, and meetings held with the heads of Repatriation and Departure Service, as well as Immigration and Naturalization Service within the visit of the Service chief to the Kingdom of Netherlands in 2019 further extended bilateral relations and agreement was reached towards the development of Memorandum of Understanding in the field of migration between two entities.
One of the countries of which the Service closely cooperates is the Federal Republic of Germany. The State Migration Service expands ties with the Migration Department of the Ministry of Interior of Germany, Bielefeld city Central Foreigners’ Office, German institutions functioning in Azerbaijan in various fields, such as improvement of migration legislation, protection of the rights of migrants, as well as citizens residing abroad, readmission, reintegration and citizenship. The official visit of the delegation representing the State Migration Service to Germany on November of 2018 and meetings held within the framework of the visit was one of the main steps taken towards strengthening the cooperation. The Agreement on cooperation in the field of migration, as well as “Implementing Protocol to the Agreement between the European Union and the Republic of Azerbaijan on the readmission of persons residing without authorization” between two countries are reviewed.
For the purpose of improving regulation of migration processes and capacity building of employees serving at migration bodies State Migration Service successfully implemented number of joint projects in cooperation with authorized bodies of leading countries responsible for migration issues and works in this direction are being continued currently.
State Migration Service of the Republic of Azerbaijan also enlarges cooperation within the framework of international dialogue instruments, as well as, Almaty process which is a consultative process on international migration and protection of refugees, Prague Process which was launched in order to trigger cooperation among EU countries, Schengen countries, Eastern Partnership and Western Balkan states, Central Asian countries, Russia and Turkey in migration sphere, and Budapest Process including in itself more than 50 governments and 10 international organizations, acting in direction of establishing system of constant regulation of migration.