There is sensitive approach to migration policy in our country Eight-year activity of SMS gives basis to say this
They say, Motherland begins from the border, to cherish it as the apple of our eyes means that, the state we trust and rely on gains strength, becomes powerful. Lots of people pass through borders every day, entrance doors of our country are opened before them. Demonstration of Azerbaijan`shospitality, giving help to every foreigner whose aim, purpose, intention of arrival is different is not onlyindicator of our national values, but also duty of every employee of State Migration Service within the framework of the law.
This is also the expression of protection of national interests of the Republic of Azerbaijan inside its borders as in other countries.
Recently, 19th of March is celebrated as the day of establishment of State Migration Service in Azerbaijan every year. 8 years have already passed from establishment of this body. We present to our readers the interview we have prepared with the chief of State Migration Service, III rank state migration service counselor Firudin Nabiyev on this occasion:
- Global intension is intensifying in our modern world every moment. Conflicts on religious and national backgrounds, separatism, ecological calamities, socio-economic crisis etc. has serious impact on migration processes. People move to other countries with intention of peaceful and comfortable life. Of course, Azerbaijan which is part of international community doesn`t remain beyond these processes. Mr. General, what can you say about activity of State Migration Service in this direction?
Large 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.Ilham Aliyev 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 criterion of economic growth. Construction works are expanded. Successes 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 just Azerbaijan is the following historical event for our country. The President of the Republic of Azerbaijan appreciated this project as equal to the “Contract of Century”.
Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway which is being realized 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 competiveness in the world`s most influential economic structure, the Davos World Economic Forum. As the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan noted it`s a historical achievement.
Azerbaijan is one of the rapid developing countries in the world during last 11 years for its speed of economic growth. For ex: Last year only economy of Azerbaijan has increased 3 % and non-oil sector 7 %. More than 30 industrial enterprises were established, second satellite observing the earth surface has been put into orbit, more than 60 medical centers and more than 50 school buildings have been constructed and put into operation.
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 on strategy of development 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, the choice of Azerbaijan as the country where the first European Games will be held is not accidental. Establishment of suitable conditions for foreign and internal invests as a result of location of Azerbaijan in a suitable geopolitical area, political stability in a country, dynamic growth, democracy, highly tolerable society, large international cooperation course and advisable 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 above mentioned has conditioned taking additional measures in the direction of intensifying state control over migration processes.
The main aim of establishing SMS was just this 8 years ago. The President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev 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 social-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 establishment of situation accelerating adaptation of migrants to existing social-economic situation, expansion of bilateral and multilateral relations in international cooperation and provision of participation in international projects, recruiting of SMS with new staff, continuation of systematic measures in improvement of professional skills of employees are issues SMS 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 successes 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-spiritual values.
Several serious steps have been taken for the purpose of coordinating migration policy with national interests and economic growth tendencies of our country during 2014 year. Thus, “Agreement among the Republic of Azerbaijan and European Union on the readmission of persons living without permission” was signed 28th February, 2014. The Agreement came into force 1st September 2014 and SMS was determined as competent national body responsible for implementation of this agreement. At present answering readmission requests which have entered SMS from EU member countries on the persons who are supposed to be Azerbaijan citizens have been started within the framework of Readmission Agreement. Belonging of 8 persons to Azerbaijani citizenship has been determined as a result of relevant investigations according to readmission requests which have entered SMS 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 90th and their interest to this process is observed.
- Today Azerbaijan is the most reformist country and grand transnational projects implementer country of the world. How does this process influence migration?
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 high level of legislation in this sphere. Development of our country, achieved successes create the importance of improving even the most progressive regulating provisions in the sphere of migration, as, in the developed legal state, provision of rights and freedoms of a citizen in 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 national law 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 17th October 2014, “On the amendments to Migration Code of the Republic of Azerbaijan ” foreigners and stateless persons temporary 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 country are given relevant notification leaflets related to registration upon place of stay in Azeri, Russian and English at state border checkpoints.
Also according to the Law of the Republic of Azerbaijan dated from 16th December 2014 several additions and amendments have been made to Migration Code. A new chapter of “Procedures of placing 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 placing foreigners and stateless persons in Detention Centers for Illegal migrants, procedure of placing, features of detention, rights and duties of foreigners and stateless persons placed in Centers forcedly or voluntarily, their security, measures of reproach applied in center, rights and duties of also center employees, conditions of providing special methods and physical power 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 discipline 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 16th May 2014, depending on validity period of work permits, different amounts of state fee have been envisaged for issuance of that fee now, but formerly this amount for the period of one year was the same. Or 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 innovations comprehensive explanatory works have been carried out in relevant way with 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 participants of more than 60 hotels acting in Baku and such meetings are also continued today. A number of video and printing 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 given now notification leaflets providing relevant information in Azeri, Russian and English at State Border checkpoints.
Azerbaijan develops rapidly, living standards, welfare of population is improving day by day. It`s impossible to imagine SMS now apart from achievements of modern information technologies. It`s not accidental that, great achievements are attained also in this sphere. Last year as a result of works carried out by SMS together with Data Processing Center 9 electronic services by SMS have been integrated in “Electronic government” portal and the number of electronic services by SMS has reached 10 in this way.
Several services are provided by “ASAN Services” centers which are the brand of Azerbaijan. Applications, as issuance of permits for temporary and permanent residence of foreigners and stateless persons, also issuance of work permits for their carrying out paid labor activity in our country are adopted.
- What kind of measures are taken related to the preparation of legal-normative documents regulating legal and illegal migration?
e 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 additions 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 question related to dual citizenship found its reflection. Article 10 of the Law reads 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 paragraph 32 of Article 109 of the Constitution of the Republic of Azerbaijan.
Under paragraph 2 of Article 10 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. A person who disobeys this rule should bear liability in a way envisaged by the Law of the Republic of Azerbaijan. The Article 12 of the Law in new editorial 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 experienced problems. Also providing Article 18 in new editorial, 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 31, 1961, thus protecting the objectives of the Republic of Azerbaijan arising from international conventions, the amendments have invited the citizen to be more liable in relation to the country. It must be noted that, the provisions envisaged with part 2 of Article 10 of the Law on “Citizenship of the Republic of Azerbaijan”, that`s with criminal liability and with the paragraph 1of part 1 of Article 18, 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 Law becomes valid.
- How are issues of national security,regulation of labor market, in the process of migration solved? How do you make use of international practice in solution of these and other issues?
In “State Migration Program of the Republic of Azerbaijan for the years 2006-2008” approved by the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan IlhamAliyev 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 legislation 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 fields.
Of course, the role of international cooperation is indispensible in the solution of migration problems in modern world. That’s why last year the issues of international cooperation were priority in business 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 prevention illegal migration. Thus, the cooperation with organisations, such as United Nations Organisation, High Commissariat for Refugees of United Nations Organisation, 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, Sweden and Norway Kingdoms, the Republic of Turkey, the Republic of Latvia and Russian Federation.
Understanding project on “Cooperation in the sphere of migration between State Migration Service of the Republic of Azerbaijan and Federal Migration Service of Russian Federation” drafted by the Service has been agreed in the expert`s level in Moscow. During the last period the project was viewed by relevant state bodies in two parties and proposals were exchanged in order to be commented mutually.
After being discussed the project of “Readmission Understanding between the government of the Republic of Azerbaijan and the government of Russian Federation” held in Moscow on 15-16 December 2014 it was decided that, both parties should organise the intrastate agreement of the project and the document should be re-discussed in the meeting to be held in Baku.
The execution 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 Netherland Kingdom and the other partners are Latvia and Romania.
In general, 27 events were held for the purpose of expanding awareness about legislation in migration, fight against illegal migration, development of teaching and learning methods for professional skills of State Migration Service employees and migration issues of society throughout 2014 within the project.
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 received results, citizenship issues, experience exchange in migration and development of inter-agency cooperation were successful.
In addition, 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 the 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 Europe 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.
At the 65th session of United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Executive Committee's 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 Europe Club development.
Institute of Human Rights of National Academy of Sciences of Azerbaijan, 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 Policy and Human Rights of Azerbaijan”.
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 which continued from May 18 till June 18, 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 held within the framework of “Children`s Rights Month ” with children of families which obtained refugee status.
Days of “Open door” are held according to “Open Government National Action Plan 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 recruiting to migration bodies, special attention to professionalism in choosing and placing them, appreciation of labor of every employee with objective criterion, forms principles of all these successes. Several efficient measures are regularly taken by SMS for the purpose of recruiting the 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 who made a good showing 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, transformation of Azerbaijan from the standpoint of migration into country of transit and destination lately, from country of origin is also approved by registration at our state border checkpoints 2 billion 269 thousand and 15 foreigners` and stateless persons` entrance in our country. I must remind that, according to period of staying 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 minor children immigrating together with them were issued temporary and 1859 permanent residence permissions, temporary staying period of 755 was extended.
Last year 37608 cases 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 regulation rules 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.
- What`s your perspective Action Plan?
Providing representation of 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 first profit by its development.
As implementation of this policy, SMS has contributed to realization of nationalization program in engineering, oil and gas projects of our country. Each of 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 engineering in 2018.
The President of the Republic of Azerbaijan gave concrete instructions for insuring socio-economic development of our Republic in 2015 and protection of our country from impacts of existing situation in the world in 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 before SMS in the regulation of these important issues. I want to express assurance that, SMS is resolved to fulfill with high professionalism duties and tasks as contributing to country’s economy, protection of security and domestic labor market of our country also in 2015.
Availing myself of this opportunity I congratulate everybody who take part in this process with the 8th anniversary of establishment of StateMigration Service of AR and professional holiday of migration employees.
- Mr. General, we also join this congratulation and wish successes to You and the staff you lead in your hard and honorable activity. Thank you for the interview.
(The interview was published in the edition of the newspaper “Respublika” dated from March 19, 2015)