Today Azerbaijan, together with the fact that it is the country exporting labor force, gradually became the center that accepts labor resources. The State Migration Service (SMS) daily receives 100 - 150 appeals from the migrants. A notable increase in the number of foreign citizens arrived into the country and persons without the citizenship caused the creation of a similar service to regulate migratory flow.
SMS commenced full-scale activity since August of this year. Most of citizens, who arrive in Azerbaijan, are mainly from Southeastern Asia - India, Pakistan, Indonesia, Philippines, Malaysia, China. There are labor migrants also from Turkey, Africa. Furthermore, considerable descendants from Western Europe - Great Britain, Germany works in the country.
They are involved in different spheres of the economy of Azerbaijan. Moreover, migrants are interested in the non-oil sector. Thus, as seen from the data by the Migration Department of the Ministry of Labor and Social Protection of the Population of Azerbaijan, if last year 54% of foreigners, who legalized their activity, fell on oil sector, this year the share of the oil sector was only 30%, and other 70% of the citizens of foreign countries were engaged in the non-oil sector.
According to the data provided by the State Statistics Committee, currently a total of 5,000 foreign workers were registered at the enterprises and organizations of the Country. Of them, 1,500 were involved in industry, 1,300 in construction, 1,000 in operations with real estate and rent, 500 in wholesale and retail trade and repair, 300 in education, 100 in other spheres. At the same time, according to different versions, 18,000 foreign citizens work in Azerbaijan on the contract and sub-contractural contracts, but State Social Protection Fund registered only more than 20 percent of them.
Creation of favorable conditions for them is one of the reasons, which explains the continuous flow of foreigners into Azerbaijan. The wage obtained by the foreigners strongly differs from those obtained by the local specialists, who have equal position and qualification. The long years observations over the estimation of the payment for labor in the foreign oil companies show that it is possible to conditionally divide it into four categories. Thus, the first category includes employees from the countries of Western Europe, whose wages varies from $10,000 to 30,000.
The second group includes specialists from East Europe, who earn up to $15,000. The third category - workers from the third countries, mainly the citizens of India, Indonesia, Singapore, whose monthly salary varies between $3,000 and $10,000. And finally the fourth category is represented by the local engineering personnel, whose average earning totals $1,000 per month.
As positive, the foreigners, together with themselves, bring new investments, new technologies, advanced experience to the country. However, often the migratory processes, proceeding today in Azerbaijan, generate serious problems. As a result of increased number of foreign migrants, local workers can have the high degree of risk to prove to be amongst those discriminated. First of all, this is the threat of unemployment, because migrants select work in local and depreciate the labor of local residents.
Worsening in the social situation of local population, price hike for housing and food products, problems with the provision of health services and social protection are possible in the places densely settled by the foreign migrants. But the illegal foreign migrants without official registration have an essential effect on the labor market. They deviate from taxes and are involved in the shadow economy, bringing heavy damage to state.
According to the data provided by the Migration Department of the Ministry of Labor and Social Protection of the Population of Azerbaijan, the number of foreigners, who received permission for the labor activity in the country increases each month. Thus, in January 2008 permission was obtained by 722 foreigners, in February - 632 foreigners, in March - no one, in April - 443 foreigners, in May - 442, June - 330, in July - 233, in August - 281 foreigner, in September - 253 foreigners.
But, besides the legal labor migration, there is large number of illegal migrants from other countries in the territory of Azerbaijan. Unfortunately, exact statistics regarding the number of illegal migrants in Azerbaijan is absent, but according to unofficial information, approximately 15,000 foreign citizens are engaged in illegal labor activity in the country, but according to the legislation of Azerbaijan, foreigners, not registered in the services of employment, must be deported from the country.
The migratory service of the Interior Ministry periodically carries out raids over the illegal migrants, who are in the territory of Republic without registration. However, at the same time, in the law-enforcement agencies it is possible to meet with the elements of the corruption and briberies, which support even the increasing percentage of illegal migrants in the country.
Another reason of the increasing number of migrants is the recent financial crisis, sharply appeared firstly in Europe, which caused non-payment of wages, reductions and dismissal of specialists. People are forced to search for job in other countries.
However, the wave of labor migrants from abroad only increases in Azerbaijan, as a country incurring financial crisis less as compared to the European countries and the image of Azerbaijan's economy because of the present economic indices that constantly rises in the world.
Today if the foreigners work in one or other company illegally, penalty totaling AZN 30-35,000 ($37-43,000) is applied to the employer.