Labour Migration

Both Georgian and international experts have characterised the Georgian labour migration policy as particularly liberal in the recent years. On the one hand, it was driven by the wish of the Georgian government to attract foreign investment to the country by pursuing a liberal economic model; on the other hand, this policy has resulted in the lack of a fully developed regulatory and institutional framework for managing labour migration. Georgia is party to a number of international instruments regarding labour rights and labour migration, such as the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, the Convention Concerning Discrimination in Respect of Employment and Occupation, the Private Employment Agencies Convention, the European Social Charter, etc. In November 2009, 16 EU member states and Georgia signed a joint declaration on cooperation in the framework of the EU’s Partnership for Mobility (Mobility Partnership). Among other issues, the facilitation of legal employment of Georgian citizens in EU MS, including through circular migration, is discussed in the framework of the Mobility Partnership. It is a priority for the Georgian government to work towards bilateral contractual relations with a view to creating opportunities for circular migration with the EU MS. Such opportunities prevent brain drain and alleviate the ineffective use of human capital in the country. Furthermore, Georgia seeks to conclude agreements on circular migration that will promote the legal migration of Georgian citizens and, thus, will facilitate and support the protection of their human rights. Such an agreement was concluded with France in November 2013 (Agreement on Circular Migration and Residence of Professional Workers), but has not yet entered into force. Access to the Georgian labour market is steered in a liberal fashion as well. There are no regulations that limit access to the Georgian labour market; foreigners arriving in Georgia do not need work permits. Both the Migration Strategy of Georgia for 2016-2020 and its Action Plan for 2016-2017 recognise the importance of regulating labour migration in Georgia as well as the establishment or further development of the institutional framework for the implementation of the labour migration policy. Legal migration is defined as one of the main areas of the Migration Strategy. The Georgian government supports the further development of opportunities for legal emigration and immigration. Furthermore, the Georgian government is committed to establishing a legal framework to get positive effects of temporary legal labour emigration of Georgian citizens. By promoting legal employment, the government will create a basis for providing social security and protecting the human rights of labour migrants.

Considering the above-mentioned needs, as a first step, the Ministry of Labour, Health and Social Affairs (MoLHSA) of Georgia elaborated a draft of the Law of Georgia on labour migration and initiated a discussion on the Draft law with the relevant state agencies, international organisations and local non-governmental organisation working in this field. During the discussions it became evident that for the MoLHSA needed policy advice on best practices on regulating labour migration in the EU for the further development of the Draft Law.

ICMPD ENIGMMA Project was requested to assist MoLHSA in reviewing of the Draft Labour Migration Law and providing relevant comments on the Draft Law, defining priorities and corresponding operational mechanisms and procedures for labour migration in Georgia as well as in providing recommendations on the existing good practices on the management of the labour migration in the EU MS. Consequently, the ENIGMMA project provided a comprehensive Review of the Draft Law containing specific comments on the provisions of the Draft Law as well as general policy recommendations based on the international practice. The Review was prepared by EU and local labour migration experts with active involvement of ICMPD in-house expertise.

The Law of Georgia on Labour Migration was adopted on 1 April 2015 and came into force on 1 November 2015, followed by the Ordinance of the Government of Georgia on Approval of Employment and Paid Labour Relation Procedures between the Local Employers and the Stateless Persons without Permanent Residence Permits adopted on 7 August, 2015 which also entered into force on 1 November 2015. Furthermore, in 2015 the Department of Labour Conditions Inspection was created within the MoLHSA. The main function of the department is to monitor the labour conditions of local and foreign labour force employed in Georgia.

In 2016 the ENIGMMA project continued its support in this field through the assistance of the work of the Working Group on Aliens’ Integration established within the SCMI in 2016 and led by the MoLHSA.