03 July, 2014
Illegal migration still remains one of the unsolved problems of the world. Despite the fact migration laws all over the world get tougher, Georgia has implemented an opposite policy and in recent years it has vastly simplified the visa regime. According to specialists, opening of borders has sharply increased the number of illegal immigrants. Georgia has visa-free regime with 118 countries including African countries and the Arab and Asian ones where martial law is functioning. Marc Hulst, Program Coordinator of
the International Migration Organization:

– Nowadays majority of immigrants arrive here from China, India, Turkey, Iraq and Egypt. Majority of them enter the country legally but stay here longer than envisaged by the law. At present many countries enjoy visa-free regime with Georgia but this may change as soon as you have new migration legislation.

Q. – Why these people choose to come to the country where the employment issues and social problems are still unsolved?

A. – There are several motifs, for instance temporary employment, studying, shelter in Georgia due to unrest in their countries.
Some foreign immigrants think that they can use Georgia as a jumping-off place to hit Europe.

Q. – Europe has made the immigration legislation stricter while recently Georgia pursues the policy of visa liberalization.

A. – On 1 September 2014, Georgian Immigration legislation will change. The new legislation stipulates that the pre-immigration policy with regard to the citizens of the other countries and those having no citizenship will undergo conceptual revision and it will envisage stricter procedures for entering and leaving the country as well as for living here. This law is adjusted to the approaches of the European migration management and is more focused on the control mechanisms than migration liberalization.

Levan Machavariani, Deputy Director of the Interior Mi¬nistry Patrol Police:

– Despite the fact that we have no visa regime with some countries, within the existing legislation we can regulate activity of those people who desire to illegally penetrate into the country. Believe me, when people don’t know where they are arriving, don’t have the needed money or luggage, only a cellophane bag under the arm-pit and are trying to persuade the border guard that they are tourists, such guests won’t be received by the country.

Kakha Gogolashvili, Head of the European Research Center:

– After signing of the Association Agreement, we are assigned to review certain obligations of migration policy. Georgia will have to substantially review the immigration policy, begin exposure of the illegal migrants and make them leave the country.

Q. – What are the threats to national security caused by uncontrolled migration of foreigners?

A. – Illegal migration acquired mass character especially during the past years. Unless we deal with the problem it will be difficult to manage the processes. This will cause a lot of social problems and will especially aggravate crime rates. Illegal migrants are directly connected with drugs and trafficking. There is mass migration from the African countries and in case we let everybody in, results will be grave. To say the least we won’t be able to nourish the wave of illegal migrants and everybody knows what hungry people can do.
By the way, these people get employed in the spheres shunned by the Georgians. In case in-depth study of the issue is carried out, many facts of trafficking and other illegal activities will come to light.
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