In August 2014, the Migration Department was established within the Ministry of Internal Affairs. The Department is charged with the effective and efficient implementation of the Law of Georgia on Legal status of Aliens and Stateless Persons (further the Aliens Law), which entered into force in 1 September 2014. The main tasks of the Migration Department include detecting foreigners irregularly staying in the territory of Georgia, deciding on the legal status of foreigners, arranging their accommodation and establishing procedures for removing foreigners irregularly staying in the territory of Georgia. The Department is located in the same facility as the Temporary Accommodation Centre (TAC) that is close to the Tbilisi international airport.
According to the ENIGMMA project programme and in compliance with the agreement reached by the management of the Migration Department and ICMPD, the project will support capacity building for their employees. Therefore, the concept for training and on-the-spot support activities were developed and agreed with the Department. The course will focus on protection of migrants’ human rights within procedures related to the fight against irregular migration, including removal and pre-removal detention, and border control. The course will apply different methodologies (workshops, onsite support, exchange of practices between experts from the Georgian state institutions, NGOs and EU Member States, and study visits to EU Member States) and will cover four main components: 1) protection of the human rights of migrants in an irregular situation and restriction of movement under migration procedures, 2) mixed migration flows and 3) a comprehensive approach to migration management, and establishment and implementation of an effective human rights monitoring system under procedures related to irregular migration.
Protection of the migrant’s human rights in all procedures related to irregular migration is one of the highest priorities for the Department. Being one of a few European countries which have volunteered to act as an internal monitoring and control body for the human rights situation of detained irregular migrants, Georgia seeks to prevent human rights violations before they occur. Thus, to establish and implement effective human rights monitoring system within the procedures related to irregular migration Migration Department approved Human Rights Monitoring Mechanisms (HRMM) document developed by the ENIGMMA Project together with the expert from the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute of Human Rights (BIM). In parallel, the ENIGMMA project together with the experts permanently conducted assessment missions to Georgia to regularly evaluate structure and overall situation in the Migration Department and adapted the documents to the HRMM needs. Alongside with the mentioned activity the ENIGMMA project inclose cooperation with the mentioned experts from MBI provided input in legal drafting and institutional development, such as: support in development of SOPs for Human Rights Monitoring Unit; selection of 3 different motions and provided expertise; sharing examples of removal decisions issued by Lithuanian and Dutch Migration Services.
In 2014, the Country of Origin Information Unit (COI) was established within the Ministry of Internally Displaced Persons from the Occupied Territories, Accommodation and Refugees of Georgia (MRA) to focus on collecting, processing and analysing data on the countries of origin of asylum seekers in Georgia. Accordingly, after the establishment, draft standard operational procedures for the COI Unit were developed (in June 2014) supported by the ENIGMMA experts from Germany, Poland, ICMPD Asylum Competence Centre and UNHCR, further approved and operational from spring 2015. A standard national training programme “Introductory Course on International Protection” was developed (in summer 2015) within the ENIGMMA project based on the results of the “Building Training and Analytical Capacities on Migration in Moldova and Georgia” project (the GOVAC project implemented by ICMPD in 2013) in close cooperation with Georgian, Dutch and ICMPD experts. The manual is designed to assist the MRA’s management in organising and implementing training in the area of international protection and asylum, and is primarily for civil servants newly employed at the MRA, as well as representatives of other governmental institutions involved in the protection referral mechanisms in Georgia.
Support in facilitating cooperation on COI between the MRA and EU member states (e.g. Polish Office for Foreigners, Federal Office and of Migration and Refugees of Germany, Lithuanian Migration department) through ICMPD’s contacts was also provided (MOU was signed between the Lithuanian Migration Department and MRA respective Unit);
An agreement between the ENIGMMA project and the Austrian Red Cross’s Centre for Country of Origin and Asylum Research and Documentation (ACCORD) and MRA was signed in September 2015. According to the agreement (during 2015-2016) ACCORD provided answers on COI requests submitted by MRA on specific information about the situation in the asylum seekers’ countries of origin together with the feedback to the Georgian COI researchers on the requests submitted by the Georgian asylum caseworkers and on research methods applied by ACCORD in answering these requests. Contract is valid till the end of the project (till June 2017);
In parallel, three internships (1 person per internship) to the EU member states (Austria, Lithuania and Poland) were organized for the development of a sustainable COI system in Georgia. Internships were designed according to the specific needs of the Georgian COI Unit researchers and also contributed to the establishment of closer working contacts and exchange experience. The methodology of the internships provides that Georgian COI representatives will continually work on COI research requests submitted by the Georgian asylum case workers in close cooperation with EU MS experts. The representatives of Georgian COI Unit in all three countries worked on administration of queries, sources of information, quality control system, research methodology and international cooperation, COI products, with a focus on specific countries. ICMPD Asylum Competence Center together with ACCORD were hosting Georgian COI representative.