Parliament has received a legislative proposal to regulate the employment and residence of foreigners" />

Georgia may tighten the rules for employment and residence of foreigners

Parliament has received a legislative proposal to regulate the employment and residence of foreigners

Locks left by foreigners on a bridge in the historical part of Tbilisi. REUTERS / David Mdzinarishvili

Legislation governing the residency and employment of foreigners in Georgia may soon be changed.

A legislative proposal which aims to clamp down on illegal immigration has been submitted to parliament. The proposal includes changes to the rules regarding the employment of citizens of other states as well as the issuing of permanent residencies.

The proposal was put forward by the National Movement opposition party who wants amendments On the Legal Status of Foreigners and Stateless Persons to be included in Georgia’s legislation.

The main proposed change is that foreigners will only be offered a job if Georgian citizens do not apply for it. There will also be a list of specialties and professions for which foreigners will receive the right to work.

The National Movement believes that, in a country with high unemployment rates, there should be a regulation on the employment of foreigners so that they do not deprive the local population of jobs.

“The country is experiencing a shortage in both skilled and unskilled labour. Therefore the liberal rules regarding the employment of foreigners in Georgia are not justified,” the bill says.

Also read: Tbilisi mayor demands tougher rules for obtaining residency permits

According to the proposal, parliament should approve a list of specialties/professions for which there is a shortage. It should also include positions of state interest in which the work of qualified foreign personnel is allowed.

“It is unacceptable to offer a labour contract to a foreigner if a Georgian citizen who has comparable work qualifications applies for the same job,” the bill stresses.

Further amendments included in the proposal include stricter changes to the rules for granting the right to permanent residence and the right to receiving residency for investment purposes. The institution of short-term residency may also be abolished.

Moreover, the six-year temporary residency policy for obtaining the right to permanent residence will be insufficient.

“Knowledge of the state language at the elementary level will be necessary, as will investments in Georgia and property valued at a minimum of 200 thousand US dollars,” the bill states.

According to the current legislation, a businessman who invests 300 thousand GEL in the country has the right to reside for an unlimited time. However, the authors of the bill consider it necessary to change this provision: the investment visa will no longer provide for the right to reside for an indefinite period, but instead only for a period of five years’ temporary residence.

Furthermore, the rules for granting investment visas may also change. An investment of 300 thousand GEL will no longer be sufficient for obtaining a visa.

An investment visa will only be issued to an investor who purchases securities from the Georgian state for a period of no less than five years in the amount of 400,000 dollars in GEL equivalent. They should also have made investments to the amount of 100,000 dollars in GEL equivalent, or have made investments to the value of 300 thousand dollars in property and at the same time employ eight Georgian citizens on a permanent basis,” the draft continues.

  • From 2012 to 2016, a total of 70,508 residence permits were issued to foreigners in Georgia. In 2017, only 1,173 residence permits were issued (the reduction in the number of applicants is associated with the easing of the conditions of the visa legislation for staying in Georgia). The right of residence was mainly granted to citizens of Azerbaijan, Russia, Turkey, Armenia, Ukraine, India, China and Iran.
  • From 2012 to 2016, around 3,424 items were registered as property of citizens of other states.
  • In most cases (53 per cent), real estate in Georgia was bought by citizens of Russia, followed by Ukraine, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Israel and the United States. This information was prepared according to the Migration Profile 2017.

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