Responding to the Global Detention Project’s Covid-19 survey, the State Migration Service of the Republic of Azerbaijan reported that since the application of the special quarantine regime in the country on 24 March, the placement of foreigners and stateless persons, present in the country irregularly, has been suspended. The country’s immigration authority also indicated that assessments were conducted to identify vulnerable groups, particularly at risk from Covid-19, currently in immigration detention and that medical examinations and monitoring of detainees are being carried out. Due to measures applied to reduce the risk of contagion of Covid-19, the daily outdoor walks for immigration detainees are conducted in accordance with the rules of internal discipline. Sanitary supplies are provided to individuals detained in immigration detention centres.
According to the Azerbaijan Migration Service, all foreigners placed in or leaving detention centres undergo a medical examination. In addition, the same sanitary-epidemiological requirements applied to citizens of the Republic of Azerbaijan are also applied to non-citizens that have left immigration detention as well as asylum seekers during their stay in the country.
The country’s immigration authority said that detainees who are in need of medical care receive treatment outside the Baku detention centre whenever possible. Taking into account the special quarantine regime applied by the government, social distancing measures, regular examination of detainees as well as general compliance with sanitary norms and hygiene rules are being strictly monitored.
The Migration Service also indicated that the administrative expulsion of foreigners and stateless persons staying irregularly in the country has not been carried out since the date of the application of the special quarantine regime (24 March 2020). The authority reported that restrictions on entry and exit to the country’s territory have been applied until 1 August and that the requirement to apply for an extension of temporary stay in the country for non-citizens living in the country and who cannot leave, has been suspended. Permits that expire while special measures are applied in the country have been extended without the need for applications. However, non-citizens whose permits were automatically extended will have to leave the country or apply for temporary residence permits shortly after border restrictions are lifted. The Migration Service indicated that to protect the health and safety of non-citizens and stateless persons during the quarantine period, many of its services were moved to online platforms. As a result, the number of non-citizens using e-services has increased during the quarantine period.
The Migration Service also advised that they engaged in awareness-raising activities and shared information via the Service’s website, Facebook, Twitter accounts, and their Call Centre.
The International Legal Initiative Foundation (ILI), based in Kazakhstan, confirmed that according to information it had received authorities in Azerbaijan extended permits for migrants to remain in the country for 30-60 days. In addition, Sputnik News indicated that 134,298 non-citizens are currently living in Azerbaijan and that since January 2020, there has been a decrease in the amount of migrants arriving in the country by around 44% compared to the same period in 2019. According to the Migration Code of Azerbaijan, non-citizens and stateless persons who wish to remain in the country for more than 15 days (maximum of 90 days) must register at a temporary address. In case of non-compliance with the specific period, persons can incur a fine of 300 to 400 manat.
- State Migration Service of the Republic of Azerbaijan, Global Detention Project Covid-19 survey, 29 June 2020.
- Migrants at Baku’s IOM-supported Shelter for Victims of Trafficking Making Masks to Help in the COVID-19 Effort, (IOM, “Trafficking Victims Join Fight Against COVID-19 in Azerbaijan,” 27 March 2020, https://www.iom.int/news/trafficking-victims-join-fight-against-covid-19-azerbaijan)
- Aina Shormanbayeva (International Legal Foundation), Email Exchange with Mario Guido (Global Detention Project), 30 June 2020.
- Sputnik News, “Азербайджан не даст в обиду мигрантов, соблюдающих законы страны,” 19 March 2020, https://az.sputniknews.ru/azerbaijan/20200319/423456139/-Azerbaydzhan-ne-dast-v-obidu-migrantov-soblyudayuschikh-zakony-strany.html
- Sputnik News, “Среди иностранных мигрантов в Азербайджане выявлены зараженные COVİD-19,” 20 May 2020, https://az.sputniknews.ru/azerbaijan/20200520/423995392/karantin-migracija-koronavirus.html