The Draft Law reflecting changes and new provisions to the Migration Code on the grounds for granting temporary and permanent residence permits to foreigners and stateless persons in the territory of the Republic of Azerbaijan is currently in the first reading of Milli Majlis. Thus, on February 25, 2023, complex changes to the Code in the following areas were put under consideration by Milli Majlis:
(1) Grounds of granting temporary residence permits to foreigners and stateless persons in Azerbaijan:
In accordance with the Draft Law, a new ground is introduced for obtaining temporary residence permit. Thus, a foreigner and a stateless person, who owns state securities with a nominal value of at least 100,000 AZN or same value investment securities of legal entities with at least 51% state ownership, can apply for a temporary residence permit in the Republic of Azerbaijan. The list of persons, who have been granted a temporary residence permit on this ground, will be sent to the National Depository Centre (NDC) within 3 working days and in case the total nominal value of the investment securities, including state securities, owned by the persons specified in that list falls below 100,000 AZN or in case those securities are expropriated, the NDC will provide information concerning this to the relevant executive authority within 3 working days.
(2) Grounds of granting temporary and permanent residence permits to foreigners and stateless persons in Azerbaijan:
At the same time, the changes are proposed for the grounds on granting the temporary residence permit related to the persons holding high-level positions in legal entities with foreign investment. Currently, the persons holding the position of head and deputy head of a legal entity established in Azerbaijan with at least one shareholder being foreign legal or natural person has the right to obtain a temporary residence permit. In accordance with the proposed changes, instead of above-mentioned case, the heads and owners of at least 51% shares of the legal entities established in the country with the paid-up authorized capital of which is not less than the specified amount and with at least one of the founders being foreign legal or natural person will be eligible to obtain temporary residence permit. The minimum turnover limit for foreigners and stateless persons temporarily living in the territory of the country for at least 1 year on the above-mentioned ground will be determined and approved by the relevant competent authority. These requirements are also intended to be applied to foreigners and stateless persons who are engaged in entrepreneurial activity and are temporarily living in the country on that basis.
(3) Exceptions from the requirements on granting temporary and permanent residence permits to foreigners and stateless persons in Azerbaijan:
According to the Draft Law, heads and owners of at least 51% of shares of (i) legal entities that have an investment promotion document or a "startup" certificate; (ii) business entities operating in economic regions to be determined by the relevant administrative body; (iii) non-commercial legal entities and (iv) industrial park, industrial district and agropark residents can apply for a temporary residence permit without any requirements for authorized capital and turnover. Whereas, only heads and owners of at least 51% of shares of non-commercial legal entities can apply for a permanent residence permit without any requirements for authorized capital and turnover.
(4) Tightening of requirements for granting permanent residence permit to foreigners and stateless persons in Azerbaijan:
The Draft Law proposes to limit the scope of relatives obtaining a permanent residence permit due to family relations to the citizens of the Republic of Azerbaijan and narrow it to applicant's father, mother, husband (wife), child, sister or brother. Additionally, the requirements for foreigners and stateless persons intending to permanently reside in the territory of the Republic of Azerbaijan are proposed to be increased 2 times and defined as follows:
(i) having real estate worth at least 200,000 AZN in the territory of Azerbaijan;
(ii) having funds in the amount of at least 200,000 AZN based on deposit agreement with the banks operating in Azerbaijan;
(iii) having state securities with a nominal value of at least 200,000 AZN or same value investment securities of legal entities whose shares are at least 51% state ownership.
Finally, we note that the transitional provision of the Draft Law determines that the holders of permanent residence permits, which are issued (extended) before the mentioned changes enter into force, will be able to continue to obtain those permits on the same basis.