The Ministry of Internally Displaced Persons From the Occupied Territories, Accommodation and Refugees of Georgia is responsible for deciding on the issues of granting the status of a refugee to the nationals of foreign countries as well as to individuals having no nationality. The Refugee Status is granted to non-Georgian Citizens, who for the moment of making the application are on the territory of Georgia and have a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinions and who are unable or owning to such fear unwilling to return to their country of nationality, or a place of habitual residence.
Based on the data assessment conducted by IDFI, the tendency of the number of asylum seekers gradually rising year by year in Georgia has become obvious. According to the information received from the Ministry of Internally Displaced Persons from the Occupied Territories, Accommodation and Refugees of Georgia, during the past two years Georgia has received more than 1300 applications from asylum seekers coming from 30 different countries. The major part of the applicants come from the nationals of Asian and African countries.
The sharp increase in the number of the refugee seekers during the last two years, can well be explained by various events on international arena. The continuous tensions and armed conflicts in the middle east have forced the nationals of these countries to flee their residences and ask for a refugee status to different countries, among them Georgia.
For example during the period of 2005-2011 Georgia has received 300 applications from refugee seekers. Precisely, in 2005 23 individuals have requested a refugee status, in 2006 – 19 individuals, in 2007 – 21 individuals, in 2008 – 33 individuals, in 2009 – 43 and in 2010 – 57 individuals. Most of these applications were received from natural persons coming from the Russian Federation.
The increase in the number of refugee seekers coming to Georgia during the last two years, as compared to 2005-2011 becomes obvious when looking at the statistical data. In 2012 599 individuals have referred to the government of Georgia with an application requesting the status of a refugee or a Humanitarian Protection. Among the applicants were 443 nationals of Iraq. The government of Georgia has accepted 44 applications. In 2013 717 individuals have applied to the government of Georgia for a status of a refugee, and again the number of the applicants coming from Iraq constituted the majority – 478 individuals. 31 persons were granted a refugee status or a humanitarian protection. It should be emphasized one more time that the high number of applicants coming from Iraq is closely linked with the ongoing armed conflicts in the Middle East. Most of the applicants have been in the refuge for the second time. They were firstly forced to flee their home countries during the armed conflict in Iraq, and were granted a refuge by the Syrian government, but after the conflict unleashed in Syria itself, the nationals of Iraq were obliged to leave the country again and seek refuge elsewhere.
The Constitution of Georgia highlights that the President decides on the issues of granting the citizenship of Georgia to foreign nationals.
In 2005-2013 53 067 instances of foreign nationals being granted the Citizenship of Georgia were detected. The highest number of applications was granted in the year of 2013 and 9 626 foreigners were given the citizenship of Georgia.
During the given period 37 462 nationals of Russian Federation were granted the citizenship of Georgia. The figure is nearly twice the number of the applicants coming from all other countries (15 605 individuals).
The high number of the nationals of Turkey been granted the citizenship of Georgia during 2005-2013 can be explained by the enactment of a simplified procedure of granting the citizenship to the nationals of Turkey, being of Georgian ethnicity. During this period the President of Georgia granted the citizenship to an unprecedented number of individuals coming from Turkey. Nearly as many Turkish nationals were granted Georgian citizenship in 2013 alone, as in the years of 2005-2012 in all.
In 2005-2013 40 100 foreign citizens wee ranted a residence permit in Georgia. 8791 from these were given a permanent residence permit, while 31 309 were granted temporary resident permits. The highest number of permanent residence permits been granted can be traced back to 2010 with 2502 granted applications, and to 2012 for temporary resident permits with 6426 granted applications.
In 2005-2013 the highest number of permanent residence permits was granted to the nationals of Russia (5879), while the highest number of temporary resident permits were granted to the citizens of Turkey (7812). The nationals of China are also well distinguished with the number of temporary residence permits been granted to them. The tendency has become increasingly obvious in the last years. In 2011-2013 the number of temporary resident permits been granted to the nationals of China fluctuates between 1300-1800.
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