The new law project concerning “compatriots and diaspora organisations”.

This announcement was made in a conference at YAP’s Executive Secretariat by head of State Committee for Work with Diaspora Fuad Muradov.

Hundreds and thousands of our compatriots living abroad have been expecting this project. Our collaborator Ulviyya Shahin asks jurist and head of the committee Shahin Jamalov questions concerning them.

– Mr. Shahin, could you provide information on what the main concept and thesis is behind the law project on “compatriots and diaspora organisations”?

– Generally speaking, the law serves to provide better results in diaspora related matters. This project was created under the President’s instructions in order to regulate activities in this field. The project was made with our compatriots living abroad and their dependencies on their native country in mind. That is our main objective.

– The term “compatriot” was used in this law project. Definition of this term is in everyone’s interest. At the very least, to whom this law will address to depends on the definition of the said term. When you say “compatriot”, who do you mean exactly?

– In this law we used the phrase “compatriot living abroad”. That phrase is used as the main target in this project. This category includes Azerbaijanis living abroad: those with temporary or permanent residency, foreigners of Azerbaijani origin and even those without any citizenship. This is how we defined “compatriot”. We assume that, in order to strengthen the dependencies of our compatriots living abroad to the state and for them to always feel like Azerbaijanis it is imperative to grant certain benefits. For this reason benefits for compatriots living abroad was included in the law. The first step is to define “compatriots living abroad” and assign them special ID’s. Such identification exists certain other countries. In Poland “polyak”, in Turkey “blue card” is used to identify compatriots living abroad within other nationalities.

– What benefits will these compatriot ID cards offer?

– As I mentioned before, this is still a project. According to the project, compatriots who possess these ID cards will be granted visa free entry and residence in Azerbaijan for 90 days. On later stages providing them full scholarship in state education institutions is also planned. Another important benefit is that they will be able to work based on employment contracts without having to obtain a work permit for migrants. Future plans also include increasing their financial and economical opportunities by, for example, providing discounts on country investments. Differentiating our compatriots living abroad from foreigners of other nationalities in this manner create a special condition.

– Aside from the benefits you listed what else will this project grant our compatriots?

– Most importantly, our compatriots will be able to freely travel back and forth to their country of origin (Azerbaijan). This is the major point. As an example, let’s consider a German citizen whose country of birth is Azerbaijan. With this law he/she will have the right to enter and leave Azerbaijan visa free.

– As we know, parliament has ceased to function and It will take a while for a new one to be formed. Would it not be better to put this law project up for public discussion before presenting it in the National Council? Thoughts and suggestions of our compatriots to whom this law will concern would also be voiced and taken into consideration. There used to be a practice and experience of organizing public discussions…

– I have heard rumors of this project being sent to the parliament. In truth, this project hasn’t reached the parliament yet. One of the members of parliament mentioned the project in National Council. But the matter has not been put up for discussion. Currently, a team consisting of representatives from various ministries is formed. The project will be put up for public discussion after being processed by the said team. Thus, after being refined and sent first to Cabinet of Ministers it will be presented to the president for approval. In other words, the processing will take a while. We have considered your question. This law will certainly be put up for public discussion.