China-town in Baku: problems related to migrants

Recently, Azerbaijan has saw an increase in the number of migrants, particularly in number of Chinese and Indians who trade on the Baku streets.
This is evidenced not only signals coming to the Day.Az editorial, but own observationsof the article’s author.

In general, most of these migrants who arrived in Azerbaijan sell all kinds of little things including mechanical watches, lighters, wallets, souvenirs, household appliances and much more.

These migrants do not like to stay too long in one place preferring to roam the city streets and sell their products by hand. Some of them are engaged in catering, while others go to apartments offering their products.

In addition, household appliances that the migrants sell are not of high quality, as evidenced by the cheapness of the goods they sell.

Unfortunately, the number of such migrants in Azerbaijan is growing every year. Interestingly, what is the reason for a such a sharp rise in number of migrants in Azerbaijan? In what other areas the migrants are involved?

Director of the Legal Protection Center of Migrants of Azerbaijan Alovsat Aliyev answered the questions of the Day.Az correspondent.

He said majority of Chinese migrants, for example, arrive in Azerbaijan on tourist visas.

«The exact number of Chinese migrants is difficult to calculate, since they stay in our country as long as their visa indicates and then returned back to their home. They again buy a visa and travel to Azerbaijan.

Basically, the Chinese migrants in Azerbaijan are engaged in illegal street trade, some work in the construction sector, the catering facilities, hospitals, beauty salons, including massage parlors.

Most migrants live, but also are engaged in illegal activities in Azerbaijan,” said Aliyev.

Talking about what caused the recent increase in the number of migrants in Azerbaijan, Aliyev said that in connection with the financial crisis, many countries have tightened the rules of entry for migrant workers.

«One of these countries, for example, is Russia. One reason for the large influx of migrants to our country is tightening of migration policy of Russia in relation to this category of foreigners. The immigration rules in the neighboring country, compared with Azerbaijan, are more stringent,” Aliyev noted.

Aliyev also said that previously the migration legislation provided an item to provide all migrants who come to Azerbaijan with a migration card.

«This card allows to identify the number of illegal migrants in the country. But, unfortunately, in June 2008, this item was removed from the legislation. So now, migrants arrive in Azerbaijan without any difficulty. So, their numbers grow every day. This is especially true of Chinese,” Aliyev added.

When asked about the number of Chinese migrants who reside on the territory of Azerbaijan, Aliyev said:

«I have no information regarding the number of Chinese migrants in Azerbaijan. But I can say that last year their number was about 8, 000.”

As it is known, street trade has been banned in Baku, but majority of labor migrants from different countries, turning a blind eye to it, continue to do so. It is interesting to know whether Baku’s local authorities conduct raids to curb street trade.

Spokesperson of the Department of Trade and Services of the Baku Mayor’s Office Abbasali Bagirov answered questions of the Day.Az correspondent in this regard.

He said the department conducted some raids several years ago.

«However, during the raids, we faced unexpected situation. The Chinese embassy said that such activities are not considered street trade, as mobile trade is available in all countries,” Bagirov said.

“After that, we suspended the raids. Due to the fact that the law does not stipulate such activities to be street trade, we do not conduct these raids at the moment. It is known that traders do not sit in one place to sell their products and constantly move. It is for this reason that we are unable to apply all the requirements of the law to them,” he said.

“If we receive instructions from higher authorities to stop street trade, we will continue our work on a high level,” Bagirov said.