Problems and present situation of migrants in Azerbaijan discussed

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A roundtable “Problems and present situation of migrants in Azerbaijan” has been held under the organization of the Association for Civil Society Development in Azerbaijan and Public Association “Protection of rights of migrants and IDPs in Azerbaijan”. Speaking at the event the chairman of the organization Nadir Abdullayev said that the social-economic growth observed within the past years in the country, the works done in the sphere of human rights and freedoms protection, growing of the possibility of peaceful solution of Garabagh problem, strengthening of the processes of integration to Europe, political stability in the country and other cases caused the rapid growth in the number of the people coming to Azerbaijan from different countries. According to rough estimates, nearly 200 mln of world population now live as emigrants outside their countries, and about 1 mln of them live in Azerbaijan. Thus each of 35 persons in the world and each of 8 persons in Azerbaijan are migrants. Whereas 97-98% of the world migrants are the citizens of other countries, in Azerbaijan 70% of the migrants are the internal migrants, i.e. the citizens of Azerbaijan who were forced to change their domiciles as a result of the occupation of territories.
According to independent calculations, at present more than 100 000 migrants from different countries of the world live in Azerbaijan. According to official information, more than 54 000 migrants have been registered at the Ministry of Internal Affairs, they have a right to live here for more than one month. 3786 of the migrants are permanent residents, and 1954 of them are those not having citizenship. Most of the migrants are from Georgia, Middle Asia republics, and also Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Nigeria, China, Philippines and other countries. According to N.Abdullayev, the migrants coming to Azerbaijan can be divided into three groups according to their purposes. First, those who came to be engaged in labour activity (labour migrants), second, those who came to get the refugee status, third, those who want to use the territory of the Azerbaijani Republic as a transit country. Majority of the migrants coming to Azerbaijan are labour migrants.
Some years ago the citizens of the country went to foreign countries to work, but now the number of the labour migrants coming to the country is growing year by year. According to unofficial information, at present there are about 60 000 labour migrants in Azerbaijan, nearly 6 000 of them have been registered by the state agencies. The majority of the labour migrants being not registered damages the budget of the republic. In 2007 the Ministry of Labour and Social Protection issued individual labour permissions to nearly 1.7 thousand of migrants, but in 2008 the figure reached 6 000. 43% of the foreigners who obtained individual labour permission that year worked in the oil sector, 33.5% in the construction sector, 4.3% in the financial and insurance sector, 7% in the manufacturing and trade sector and 8.5% in other sectors and the number of legally employed foreigners increased by 4 times.
Afterwards deputy director of migration police department of State Migration Service of the Azerbaijan Republic Vahid Gahramanov took the floor. He said that 8574 persons have applied to the State Migration Service. Duration of stay for 1410 of them has been prolonged, 1359 persons have been issued commorancy permission, and 32 persons received immigrant status. State Migration Service official informed that 87 refugees applied to the organization to receive refugee status and only 1 person have been given this status. The speaker noted that the organization operates hotline for complaints and proposals and launched the e-mail address (www.migration.gov.az).
Section director of migration department of the Ministry of Labour and Social Protection Fuad Jabbarov, International Migration Organization project official Sarkhan Aktoprak, head of Chechen society in Azerbaijan Ramzan Mollayev, Ombudsman administration official Zaur Aliyev, Representative of Turkish embassy in Azerbaijan Mustafa Gur, president of Azerbaijan Migration Centre Alovsat Aliyev, representative of “Vatan” society of Akhiska Turks Kamal Ibrahim, head of Afghan society in Azerbaijan Hamza Imami and others spoke at the event.
But there are shortcomings regarding social security of migrants, prevention of illegal migration, registration of migrants, their adaptation to the country, collection of dues for labour activity, struggle against human trafficking and smuggling etc. Elimination of these shortcomings is important from the point of view of regulating the migration processes in the form that may meet the obligations arising from the international agreements.

Samir Sadayev

PAPRMIA