Chief of SMS: “Economic success, socio-political stability in Azerbaijan has triggered return of emigrating citizens
“Composition of labor migrants arriving in Azerbaijan is diverse”.
Chief of State Migration Service of the Republic of Azerbaijan, II rank state migration service counselor Mr. Firudin Nabiyev’s interview to “Report”
- Mr. Nabiyev, a few days ago you met with entrepreneurs and listened to them. What are major problems concerning them in the sphere that you are representing?
- It was next business forum organized by Caspian-European Integration Business Club with participation of Chief of State Migration Service. we had a number of meetings with entrepreneurs and business sector representatives in such forums before. I can say, at the last business forum businessmen, the representatives of employers and entrepreneurs raised not problems related to State Migration Service but questions on novelties in migration legislation, including on forecast-information about employers’ demand for foreign labor force for the next year that should be submitted to State Migration Service online before may 1st every year indicating professions upon employment classification according to the “Rules on determination of labor migration quota”, and made proposals. Considering that online receipt of forecast information has been recently introduced, we prolonged the deadline until May 15th.
SMS demonstrates attention and care to private and business sector, takes interest in their problems, analyzes and finds solutions.
It is encouraging that business sector has no more problems related to State Migration Service. We just listened to their various proposals and are analyzing them. Relevant structural units of the Service were assigned for possible inclusions of those proposals in normative legal acts in future.
- Which problems caused by entrepreneurs concern State Migration Service more?
- According to the Migration Code, foreigners and stateless persons who is engaged in entrepreneurship activity in the Republic of Azerbaijan (in case those persons work actually by concluding labor contract with at least 5 persons on full time employment or 10 persons on part-time employment, as well as at least 80 percent of the workers are the citizens of the Republic of Azerbaijan), as well as hold positions of head or deputy head in the branch or representation of a foreign juridical person in the Republic of Azerbaijan are not required work permits. I mentioned at that forum also that there are 12-14 deputy head positions vis-à-vis 50-60 employee positions in some foreign companies. We suggested decreasing deputy head positions in the branch or representation of a foreign juridical person in the Republic of Azerbaijan to 3-4.
Let me give an example, Azerbaijani experts are trained in compliance with the agreement signed between BP and SOCAR a few years ago. Currently the number of foreigners working in this sphere fell to 10 percent. Works in this direction should be conducted in all spheres, Azerbaijani experts should be trained.
On the other hand, foreigners are appointed to the vacant positions from which Azerbaijani citizens were fired in the result of staff reduction, and this worries us, this should not be allowed. Our aim is to protect domestic labor market, to take local work force into account in first place, to provide with job citizens of Azerbaijan. As President Ilham Aliyev pointed out, first of all Azerbaijani citizens should benefit from economic development of the country. Of course, existence of vacancies which are not applied by the citizens of the Republic of Azerbaijan with professional skills and qualifications relevant for requirements of the job, absence of ability of employment service bodies to meet requirements of employers for manpower at the cost of local labor resources, as well as necessity of attracting highly qualified foreign specialists are considered, and usage of foreign labor force is handled in accordance with legislation within the framework of labor migration quota, i.e. by obtaining work permit by employer. As you know, though according to the Law of the Republic of Azerbaijan “On suspension of inspections carried out in the field of entrepreneurship” adopted for the purpose of stimulating development entrepreneurship in the Republic of Azerbaijan inspections carried out in the field of entrepreneurship has been suspended for 2 years starting since November 1, 2015, in cases any information is received we conduct discussions with companies. I mentioned at the meeting with entrepreneurs that suspension of inspections made some companies over-relaxed. However entrepreneurs should demonstrate adequate attitude to head of state’s attention and care, should obey the laws. Compliance with law is major duty of each citizen, including entrepreneurs.
- Have employers already presented information on labor migration quota demand for the next year?
- Yes, employers have already presented forecast-information about demand for foreign labor force. Let me remind that according to the “Rules on determination of labor migration quota” employers are required to present online forecast-information on their demand for foreign labor force for the next year to State Migration Service before May 1st every year indicating professions upon Employment Classification.
- Some experts consider that there remains no legal consequences when the person married with foreigner via religious marriage get divorced. In general, what problems do exist in the sphere of marriages with foreigners?
- According to the Constitution of the Republic of Azerbaijan, everybody has a right to get married when reaches the age defined by law. Marriage is contracted voluntarily. No one can be married by force.
According to the Convention “on Consent to Marriage, Minimum Age for Marriage and Registration of Marriages” men and women of full age, without any limitation due to race, nationality or religion, have the right to marry and to found a family. They are entitled to equal rights as to marriage, during marriage and at its dissolution. No marriage shall be legally entered into without the full and free consent of both parties, such consent to be expressed by them in person after due publicity and in the presence of the authority competent to solemnize the marriage and of witnesses, as prescribed by law.
According to the Family Code of the Republic of Azerbaijan legal regulation of marriage and family relations in our country is conducted by the state and only the marriages registered by relevant executive authority are recognized.
According to Migration Code one of the cases when foreigners and stateless persons are issued permit for temporary residence in the Republic of Azerbaijan is his/her close relationship with a citizen of the Republic of Azerbaijan. Definition of close relatives is reflected in the Code. Father, mother, husband (wife), child, brother, sister and their child, grandfather, grandmother, the father and mother of the grandfather (grandmother), grandchild, father-in-law, mother-in-law, brother-in law, sister-in-law are considered as close relatives. At the same time, Article 64 of the Code defines the scope of cases where work permit is not required. Persons married with the citizen of the Republic of Azerbaijan, provided that the citizen is registered on the territory of the Republic of Azerbaijan upon place of residence falls within the scope of this article.
According to Migration Code permit for temporary residence in the territory of the Republic of Azerbaijan is not issued for foreigners and stateless persons carrying virus of the disease included in the list of dangerous infectious diseases, approved by the relevant executive authority (except the persons who are married to citizens of the Republic of Azerbaijan). All of these arise from humanitarian concept of Azerbaijani state and value put upon family and marriage relations.
It is true, sometimes we receive information on marriages of convenience concluded by persons who want to benefit from these privileges, to receive temporary residence permit in the republic, and in cases of existence of founded suspicions relevant investigations are conducted and measures are taken.
- Are there cases of involving minor and teenager migrants as labor force in Azerbaijan?
- No such case has been revealed by State Migration Service. The Article on “Regulation of the Labor Rights of Foreigners and Stateless Persons” of Labor Code of the Republic of Azerbaijan envisages that foreigners and stateless persons while staying in Azerbaijan shall enjoy the same labor rights as the citizens of Republic of Azerbaijan and bear obligations relevant to these rights unless otherwise is provided by the law or an international agreement which the Republic of Azerbaijan is a party to. Article 12 of the Code envisages that employers who violate employees’ rights, who do not fulfill their obligations under employment contract, employing persons under the age of 15, involving children in activities that may endanger their life, health or morals shall be involved to liability in the manner established by legislation.
- From which countries labor force is mainly involved in Azerbaijan?
- Azerbaijan celebrating 25th anniversary of its independence this year achieved great economic success in short period of time. In 2004-2014 Azerbaijan economy was the most rapidly developing economy in the world. Through those years unemployment sharply decreased from 40 to 5 percent. Our economy became more competitive and in accordance with estimates of Davos Economic Forum, Azerbaijan economy holds 40th place in the world for its competitiveness. Today our country is initiator of Southern Gas corridor project which is one of the biggest infrastructure and energy projects implemented in Europe.
All mentioned economic achievements per se are results of established socio-political stability and high level provision of security created in our republic. This in itself affected the number of foreigners visiting our country. It also affected number of labor migrants arriving in our country alongside with return of citizens left the country in previous years. Composition of labor migrants is diverse. There are persons carrying out paid labor activity in Azerbaijan from various countries of the world. Majority are citizens of Turkey, Georgia, Russia, India, Iran, China, Bangladesh, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Pakistan, Ukraine and other countries.
- What is the amount of the fine that should be paid by the companies involving foreign employee in Azerbaijan in case of law infringements?
- According to the Article 578 of the Code of Administrative Offences officials are fined for engaging foreigners or stateless persons in labor activity by violating requirements of Migration Code without obtaining work permit from three thousand to four thousand manats and legal persons from fifteen thousand to twenty thousand manats. In case the same offence is committed in regard to three and more foreigners or stateless persons officials are charged with fine from five thousand to seven thousand manats, legal persons from thirty thousand to thirty five thousand manats. For employment of foreigner and stateless person out of his/her working place by employer the officials are charged with fine for five hundred manats.
- Which services does the entity that you represent render in “ASAN service” sector?
- At “ASAN service” centers, which is Azerbaijani brand, State Migration Service renders services of receiving and responding queries related to issuance of temporary residence permit (extension of its term), issuance of permanent residence permit (extension of its term), issuance of work permit for paid labor activity to foreigners and stateless persons on the territory of Azerbaijan as well as establishment of person’s citizenship of the Republic of Azerbaijan.
- What kind of problems do exist in collecting by companies, and are measures considered for eliminating such cases?
- Yes, some problems exist in collecting prepared cards. Foreigners and stateless persons who received temporary or permanent residence permit in the territory of the Republic of Azerbaijan are presented temporary or permanent residence permit cards. Sometimes issued cards are not collected. Let me remind that foreigner or stateless person who received work permit for carrying out paid labor activity on the territory of the Republic of Azerbaijan are issued permit for temporary residence here. Work permit is presented to employer after the document certifying payment of the state fee for such permit is submitted. Work permit is revoked in case the state fee for issuance and extension of work permits is not paid by employer within 30 days or issuance of a permit for temporary residence on the territory of the Republic of Azerbaijan to a foreigner or stateless person is rejected.
- What kind of measure are taken in regard to collecting and keeping passports of foreigners or stateless persons engaged in labor by employers?
- In case the indicated act does not create criminal liability in compliance with the Criminal Code of the Republic of Azerbaijan, according to the Administrative Offences Code officials are charged with fine in the amount of five hundred manats for collecting and keeping passports or other identity document of foreigners and stateless persons engaged in labor by employers.