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ISET Economist Blog

A blog about economics in the South Caucasus.

Georgia’s New Immigration Law: Many Losers and no Winners

This year, the International School of Economics at Tbilisi State University (ISET) admitted nine Armenian students and one from Azerbaijan. They came to Tbilisi for a preparation course in August and all of them applied for residency permits before the first of September. All applications were exactly identical. Out of ten students, seven got their permits, two were denied, and one is still in process. The reasons for rejection were stated in most general terms, relating to Article 18 of the new immigration law. That article reads:

 “An alien may be denied a residence permit in Georgia if there is a decision of an authorized body on the advisability of his/her residence in Georgia with regard to safeguarding state security and/or public safety interests.”

It seems logical that, if the two Armenian students who were denied residency permits are a threat to “state security” or “public safety”, they should not have been allowed into Georgia in the first place. But they did enter the country and can even stay here for three months, ample time to wreak havoc on Georgia. Denying residency out of security concerns – without denying entry to the country – is pointless.

As things currently stand, the students in question will have to leave the country and discontinue their studies at ISET. The only option given to them is to appeal this decision in court, and this process will take months. The career plans of these two students, who had prevailed in a long and difficult selection process, are now irreversibly damaged. This is a tragedy for those students, for ISET, but also the country of Georgia.


A LAW FULL OF FLAWS

The new immigration law (and the manner in which it is being implemented) is already causing huge waves in the Georgian expat community. It is a subject of heated discussions on Facebook, at business meetings and parties. For one thing, the law poses unnecessary cost on those seeking residency. The most serious issue is that foreigners cannot apply for residency if they entered Georgia without a special visa which can only be obtained abroad. This rule was not communicated well, and it is not a good rule. Israel, for example, allows everybody to apply for residency inside the country within the three month stay that every visitor is granted. In Georgia, we know of employees of international organizations who now have to return to their home countries just for applying for a visa at the local Georgian embassies. And it remains to be seen whether Georgian embassies are capable of efficiently dealing with these visa requests.

ISET is not the only university feeling the heat of new immigration regulations. In particular, it undermines the business model of Georgia’s medical universities which “sell” their educational services to foreigners. International students are typically not aware of the intricacies of Georgian visa regulations. Some had just returned for the start of the new semester only to find out that they have to go back to their home countries for a month in order to apply for special student visas, which means that this semester is lost for them. Who knows whether they will return at all?

Another heavy flaw in the new law is the way in which it treats people who do not have regular employment. These may be freelancers with highly demanded expertise (such as architects and engineers) but also artists, persons engaged in culture, and “bohemians”.

Thanks to many of these irregularly employed foreigners, Georgia was about to become a "cool" place, something that can be easily confirmed by reading their declarations of love for Georgia on the internet. To a considerable extent, this development came about because Georgia was so successful in attracting artists, bloggers, travelers and generally interesting people (who are considered to belong to the “cultural capital” of a country in economics).

Being a “cool” place is not about having a lot of people who work from 9 to 5 every day, as Georgian lawmakers may have thought. Rather it is about artists and cultural entrepreneurs who may indulge in a precarious and unpredictable life. These people have a positive impact on the atmosphere in a city, helping transform a boring, provincial place into a cosmopolitan hotspot. And this has economic implications, because it is much easier to attract economically relevant people to places which have a culturally attractive international atmosphere, like Amsterdam and London. Georgia may now be squandering the advantage it had over much richer places like Almaty, Baku, and Tashkent.


GOOD RULES DON’T TRAVEL WELL

It is a widespread misconception that the changes in immigration policy were forced upon Georgia by the Association Agreement (AA) with the European Union. The AA text, however, includes only very general statements concerning immigration policy. None of its provisions would force Georgia to (immediately) copy – lock, stock and barrel – European immigration laws.

References to “standard international practice” that are being made by government officials defending the new immigration laws are also completely misplaced. Yes, most EU countries do regulate migration, yet, Georgia is far from being a typical EU member state and faces completely different challenges.

While Europe is trying to prevent low-skill immigrants from other continents to “invade” the European habitat and destroy its “way of life”, Georgia’s labor market is in dire need of every European engineer, lawyer, expert farmer and teacher it can attract. Unfortunately for Georgia, there are only 250-300 Germans living permanently in Georgia (based on the German embassy’s database), as compared to 15,079 Georgians officially registered in Germany. Florian Biermann, writing this article, is one of these German citizens, teaching modern economics at Tbilisi’s International School of Economics along with professors from Italy and Israel, US and Canada, UK and France, Ukraine and Armenia. The purpose of Georgia’s immigration policy should be to make it easier for experts to enter and reside in Georgia, not to create artificial bureaucratic barriers on their way here.

While it is much more difficult for a Georgian to get residency in Germany due to its restrictive immigration policies, the economic opportunities available in Germany still attract many people from outside. Georgia, on the other hand, is not (yet) a primary target of international migration, and is therefore not (yet) in a position to be restrictive about its immigration. The fact that many more Georgians legally reside in Germany than the other way around clearly demonstrates this point.

If the Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs Levan Izoria states that the new law "significantly changes the extremely liberal migration policy conducted by the former leadership of the country", he is absolutely right. Yet the “extremely liberal migration policy” was one of the extremely few advantages Georgia had when competing for businesses, investments, and human capital. From an economics perspective, an “extremely liberal” migration policy was the absolute right choice for Georgia! It produced a lot of economic benefits and carried no costs (except for the cost of small wine bottles presented to foreigners in Tbilisi airport in 2012).

As there are no social welfare payments for foreigners (a huge issue in “socialist” Europe), Georgia could afford to have open borders and liberal labor markets. It reaped all the benefits from this policy without having to deal with the disadvantages. In addition to consuming local products and services, the bohemian or the freelance journalist and blogger who chose to settle in Georgia created a lot of (absolutely free) publicity for Georgia and its wonderfully hospitable culture. Not having formal Georgian employment, many of these people are now being denied residency, which is equivalent to shooting the Georgian economy in the foot.

We wonder if anybody in the Georgian government is aware of what this new policy is doing to Georgia’s image, its economy, education, and tourism. It would be reassuring to know that someone is taking note and discussing a possible way out. For now, it looks like Georgia is going back, not forward.

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Guest - RT on Tuesday, 30 September 2014 21:19

> Also the immigration policy of Romania and Bulgaria are ridiculously strict considering their Economic situation not being too far away from Georgia’s.

The reason immigration policies in Romania and Bulgaria are strict does not have much to do with their own economic situation visavis Georgia's. These countries are to join the Schengen area (where the economic situation in many countries is much better than in Georgia) and thus, need to prove that their borders are tight, while the Western European countries are sceptical of their ability to do so (The Economist had an article or two on this topic).

> Also the immigration policy of Romania and Bulgaria are ridiculously strict considering their Economic situation not being too far away from Georgia’s. The reason immigration policies in Romania and Bulgaria are strict does not have much to do with their own economic situation visavis Georgia's. These countries are to join the Schengen area (where the economic situation in many countries is much better than in Georgia) and thus, need to prove that their borders are tight, while the Western European countries are sceptical of their ability to do so (The Economist had an article or two on this topic).
Guest - sjapiashvili on Tuesday, 30 September 2014 11:31

corrections: *the immigration policy of Romania and Bulgaria are ridiculously STRICT (Not
"low")
**It’s different for our neighbor countries, they already had hard life being NOT able to enter

corrections: *the immigration policy of Romania and Bulgaria are ridiculously STRICT (Not "low") **It’s different for our neighbor countries, they already had hard life being NOT able to enter
Guest - Sergo on Tuesday, 30 September 2014 12:01

After having a job proposal, work contract, etc. here in Georgia, at least you are not obliged to leave you fingerprints on a piece of paper after standing 2 hours in a queue with hadcuffed detainees and their accompanying militia-men in front of you, also waiting to leave their fingerprints. When at last comes your turn, a grumpy officer puts tar on your palms to take the prints on a paper, makes your full-face and side view photographs while you hold a piece of a board on your breast with your name and family name written in chalk with the crooked hand of the very officer. So, that after the procedure you need a bottle of solvent and almost an hour to get your palms rid of the tar. This is how Georgian passport holders are treated in Kazakhstan.

After having a job proposal, work contract, etc. here in Georgia, at least you are not obliged to leave you fingerprints on a piece of paper after standing 2 hours in a queue with hadcuffed detainees and their accompanying militia-men in front of you, also waiting to leave their fingerprints. When at last comes your turn, a grumpy officer puts tar on your palms to take the prints on a paper, makes your full-face and side view photographs while you hold a piece of a board on your breast with your name and family name written in chalk with the crooked hand of the very officer. So, that after the procedure you need a bottle of solvent and almost an hour to get your palms rid of the tar. This is how Georgian passport holders are treated in Kazakhstan.
Guest - Eric Livny on Tuesday, 30 September 2014 13:15

Salome, as usual, I could not agree more with your views.

Yes, restrictions on the movement of people are a thing of the past. The future belongs to a world of cities with no "national" borders standing in the way of people moving from one urban agglomeration to another. But here we are, stuck in the "present". The great economic disparities at the global level - between the affluent North and the "developing" (a horrible euphemism standing for "poor" and "non-developing") South are a powerful driver of two antagonistic forces: 1) legal and illegal migration from the South, and 2) ever stricter barriers to immigration erected by the North. Looked from that cynical perspective, "development assistance" policies of the North serve the same purpose - to keep the Southerners in place.

I am not a Georgian and, fortunately, am not subject to the same harsh treatment you are getting at the hands of Slovenia, Romania and other new European nations. Being "new European nations", these countries try to be more Catholic than the Pope (as the Russian saying goes: заставь дурака (Европейскому) богу молиться, он и лоб расшибет.)

None of this is reason enough for Georgia to copy-paste the "Northern" rules. Historically, Georgia has always benefited from being open and hospitable to traders and guests (stumari) who wanted to settle in its mountains, plains and valleys. The Northern regulations, which are designed to repel foreigners, are not consistent with Georgia's history, national character and economic interests (as described in the article).

Salome, as usual, I could not agree more with your views. Yes, restrictions on the movement of people are a thing of the past. The future belongs to a world of cities with no "national" borders standing in the way of people moving from one urban agglomeration to another. But here we are, stuck in the "present". The great economic disparities at the global level - between the affluent North and the "developing" (a horrible euphemism standing for "poor" and "non-developing") South are a powerful driver of two antagonistic forces: 1) legal and illegal migration from the South, and 2) ever stricter barriers to immigration erected by the North. Looked from that cynical perspective, "development assistance" policies of the North serve the same purpose - to keep the Southerners in place. I am not a Georgian and, fortunately, am not subject to the same harsh treatment you are getting at the hands of Slovenia, Romania and other new European nations. Being "new European nations", these countries try to be more Catholic than the Pope (as the Russian saying goes: заставь дурака (Европейскому) богу молиться, он и лоб расшибет.) None of this is reason enough for Georgia to copy-paste the "Northern" rules. Historically, Georgia has always benefited from being open and hospitable to traders and guests (stumari) who wanted to settle in its mountains, plains and valleys. The Northern regulations, which are designed to repel foreigners, are not consistent with Georgia's history, national character and economic interests (as described in the article).
Guest - sjapiashvili on Tuesday, 30 September 2014 13:37

Dear Eric,
maybe next time I should come up with more provocative comment, otherwise we are in too much harmony to form an intense discussion :)
Again... I agree with you as well, as one of the Georgian sayings states: "A guest is sent from the God" (Stumari Ghvtisaa). Everything that I know about Georgia makes it clear that we love to be visited, to let foreigners see, experience, taste, drink and enjoy what belongs to us. One of the greatest and one of my favorite Georgian poems is called "Stumar-Maspindzeli" (Host and Guest) by Vazha-Pshavela which describes the situation where the notion of guest and its importance is elevated even more. Same author has published an article named "Cosmopolitanism and Patriotism", which is extremely good considering its year when it was written and Vazha-Pshavela's reputation for being not educated enough. He makes very crucial points indirectly linked to your article, indeed. Here is the English version, as well: http://courses.washington.edu/dtcg/texts/data/vp/vp_kosmo_patriot2.html

Dear Eric, maybe next time I should come up with more provocative comment, otherwise we are in too much harmony to form an intense discussion :) Again... I agree with you as well, as one of the Georgian sayings states: "A guest is sent from the God" (Stumari Ghvtisaa). Everything that I know about Georgia makes it clear that we love to be visited, to let foreigners see, experience, taste, drink and enjoy what belongs to us. One of the greatest and one of my favorite Georgian poems is called "Stumar-Maspindzeli" (Host and Guest) by Vazha-Pshavela which describes the situation where the notion of guest and its importance is elevated even more. Same author has published an article named "Cosmopolitanism and Patriotism", which is extremely good considering its year when it was written and Vazha-Pshavela's reputation for being not educated enough. He makes very crucial points indirectly linked to your article, indeed. Here is the English version, as well: http://courses.washington.edu/dtcg/texts/data/vp/vp_kosmo_patriot2.html
Guest - Sergo Cusiani on Tuesday, 30 September 2014 16:20

I suspect the authors of this article have a cliché approach to the immigration policy. Along with some commentators, they aim at negative impact of the latest political development.

Nevertheless, if the authors dig dipper into the economy, similar to Georgia, they would surprisingly learn that in Central Asian republics, Azerbaijan and Armenia, entire mining sector had been privatized by Western companies (Canada, USA, France, Germany, Australia). Georgia is the only place where all the mining belongs to Russia!

Do expats in Central Asia or Armenia care about immigration issues? NO! Their paperwork is being done at any hotel they stay. You know why? Because politics are controlled by the business within the limits to make the business comfortable. I suspect Russian business in Georgia is lobbying the law changes to keep potential Western investors out.

The question is, Why the hell is it that Misha sold entire mining to Russians?

I suspect the authors of this article have a cliché approach to the immigration policy. Along with some commentators, they aim at negative impact of the latest political development. Nevertheless, if the authors dig dipper into the economy, similar to Georgia, they would surprisingly learn that in Central Asian republics, Azerbaijan and Armenia, entire mining sector had been privatized by Western companies (Canada, USA, France, Germany, Australia). Georgia is the only place where all the mining belongs to Russia! Do expats in Central Asia or Armenia care about immigration issues? NO! Their paperwork is being done at any hotel they stay. You know why? Because politics are controlled by the business within the limits to make the business comfortable. I suspect Russian business in Georgia is lobbying the law changes to keep potential Western investors out. The question is, Why the hell is it that Misha sold entire mining to Russians?
Guest - GG on Thursday, 09 October 2014 20:59

1. It is never good, to compare something in this case your country with another country.
2. so you see this new rule as a revange, that Iam a student from Germany here and have now to go back to apply for visa? So you loughing now about this?!
Well Georgia had to inform us, that we cannot get Visa here. Beside that I and many others called Ministry of foreign Affairs, Justice and bla bla bla but you know what is also a problem? That NO ONE is able to speak english, in a understandable way. They do not understand the most primitive sentences. When you make such a law here, then at least put some qualified people on phone!!!
3. Before trying to become European, people should learn what means to be tolerant. Iam white, and I feel absolutly like a real "stranger" here, because people are treating me that way (Not all of them), so I really do not want to know how black/darker people feel here...
4. You cannot become from today to tomorrow a "European".
Do you think the people in villages, mountains etc. know what means to be european? or what is EU???? Do they want to be part of it??? With force you are trying to become part of the "EU cake".

1. It is never good, to compare something in this case your country with another country. 2. so you see this new rule as a revange, that Iam a student from Germany here and have now to go back to apply for visa? So you loughing now about this?! Well Georgia had to inform us, that we cannot get Visa here. Beside that I and many others called Ministry of foreign Affairs, Justice and bla bla bla but you know what is also a problem? That NO ONE is able to speak english, in a understandable way. They do not understand the most primitive sentences. When you make such a law here, then at least put some qualified people on phone!!! 3. Before trying to become European, people should learn what means to be tolerant. Iam white, and I feel absolutly like a real "stranger" here, because people are treating me that way (Not all of them), so I really do not want to know how black/darker people feel here... 4. You cannot become from today to tomorrow a "European". Do you think the people in villages, mountains etc. know what means to be european? or what is EU???? Do they want to be part of it??? With force you are trying to become part of the "EU cake".
Guest - GG on Thursday, 09 October 2014 21:01

PS: And when you want to be part of EU, pls as Germany and other EU country do, accept as much Asyl people as we do, esp the Salafists ;)

PS: And when you want to be part of EU, pls as Germany and other EU country do, accept as much Asyl people as we do, esp the Salafists ;)
Guest - RT on Tuesday, 30 September 2014 18:38

What is the point of bringing up how things are done in other countries? Unless we want to punish visitors to Georgia just because some immigration officer somewhere miles away is hursh on somebody (Georgian or not).

Yes, immigration rules are tough in the West. That is because there are a lot of people trying to enter those countries. Georgia is in the opposite situation -- we do not have a long line of people who want to visit, live here, and do business. Thus, we should not have the same rules.

Maybe the Western toughness is excessive and sub-optimal, but I do not see how that is a good reason to shoot yourself in the foot.

What is the point of bringing up how things are done in other countries? Unless we want to punish visitors to Georgia just because some immigration officer somewhere miles away is hursh on somebody (Georgian or not). Yes, immigration rules are tough in the West. That is because there are a lot of people trying to enter those countries. Georgia is in the opposite situation -- we do not have a long line of people who want to visit, live here, and do business. Thus, we should not have the same rules. Maybe the Western toughness is excessive and sub-optimal, but I do not see how that is a good reason to shoot yourself in the foot.
Guest - Sergo Cusiani on Sunday, 05 October 2014 14:48

I already explained the point of mentioning practice in other countries in the class. For those, who can not read the language, I write again. Politics are dictated by business. Thanks to Misha, all the business in Georgia belongs to Putin’s Russia: Railway, Power, Gas, MINING, etc. While in ex Soviet area, where there were no Misha, the business belongs to Western companies. Why do you think the politicians, lobbied by Putin’s business, would care about how to make it easy for the foreigners to come to Georgia? Unless you are Misha ideology.

I already explained the point of mentioning practice in other countries in the class. For those, who can not read the language, I write again. Politics are dictated by business. Thanks to Misha, all the business in Georgia belongs to Putin’s Russia: Railway, Power, Gas, MINING, etc. While in ex Soviet area, where there were no Misha, the business belongs to Western companies. Why do you think the politicians, lobbied by Putin’s business, would care about how to make it easy for the foreigners to come to Georgia? Unless you are Misha ideology.
Guest - Florian Biermann on Tuesday, 30 September 2014 19:29

I fully agree with RT's comment. It does not make sense to compare the situation in Western countries with Georgia and then claim that Georgia is not that hostile in the end. Georgia is in a completely different situation. Georgia can have these liberal rules without facing problems. Those reasons why Europe and the US must have tight immigration rules do not apply to Georgia.

I agree with Salome that there is a huge problem with how immigration is practically handled by the authorities. When I was in Israel, the worst day of the year was when I had to extend my visa at the "Misrad Hapnim". The people working there had an enormous power and discretion in their decision making. They could make your life really difficult or they could be kind. The same problems exist, as I heard, in many Western countries, not just in Romania and Slovakia. I do not know anybody who had to deal with immigration authorities and is not pissed off by the way how these authorities treat their clientele.

Even if immigration laws are strict -- which I think is absolutely inevitable for Europe and the US -- people who want a a visa should still be treated respectfully and with dignity. Moreover, the process should be transparent, there should be quick appeal possibilities besides "going to court", and the discretion of the immigration officers should be minimal.

Georgia is not so bad in this respect. The public service hall makes similar institutions in other countries pale. Everything is quick and efficient, and everybody was very kind. However, the process is not transparent -- I heard about many strange decisions, not just the students about whom we speak in the article.

I fully agree with RT's comment. It does not make sense to compare the situation in Western countries with Georgia and then claim that Georgia is not that hostile in the end. Georgia is in a completely different situation. Georgia can have these liberal rules without facing problems. Those reasons why Europe and the US must have tight immigration rules do not apply to Georgia. I agree with Salome that there is a huge problem with how immigration is practically handled by the authorities. When I was in Israel, the worst day of the year was when I had to extend my visa at the "Misrad Hapnim". The people working there had an enormous power and discretion in their decision making. They could make your life really difficult or they could be kind. The same problems exist, as I heard, in many Western countries, not just in Romania and Slovakia. I do not know anybody who had to deal with immigration authorities and is not pissed off by the way how these authorities treat their clientele. Even if immigration laws are strict -- which I think is absolutely inevitable for Europe and the US -- people who want a a visa should still be treated respectfully and with dignity. Moreover, the process should be transparent, there should be quick appeal possibilities besides "going to court", and the discretion of the immigration officers should be minimal. Georgia is not so bad in this respect. The public service hall makes similar institutions in other countries pale. Everything is quick and efficient, and everybody was very kind. However, the process is not transparent -- I heard about many strange decisions, not just the students about whom we speak in the article.
Guest - Sergo Cusiani on Tuesday, 30 September 2014 21:30

Nice fence on the b/w photo above the article. I would like to have the same one installed around my plot of land to keep impudent neighbors (accompanied by their poultry and cattle) out.

Nice fence on the b/w photo above the article. I would like to have the same one installed around my plot of land to keep impudent neighbors (accompanied by their poultry and cattle) out.
Guest - Sergo Cusiani on Wednesday, 01 October 2014 01:20

I suggest, commentators should either be commenting the article or answering other commentators. In both cases the text should be read carefully. Otherwise subjects not related to the discussion or a comment are being created like e-mail spam.

From what I have read, no one is using other country practice to back Georgian bureaucracy except the one who first mentioned it: "What is the point of bringing up how things are done in other countries? " - SPAM!!!!

Then what is the point of mentioning as if there is an attempt to rehabilitate Georgian immigration establishment by comparing it with worse practice in other countries? - SPAM, SON OF SPAM!!!

Could those commentators suppose any solution to the problem? Of course, no! You know why? Because they have no arguments other than political ones.

A comment about Ivanishvili being a Russian oligarch has a weak (if any) argument, while Misha having sold the Georgian business to Putin's Russia is not just an argument, it is a fact.

Things in other countries are needed as samples for a scientific approach to the research.

Unless you are politically engaged, the essential features of the "hypothetico-deductive" view of scientific method are that a person observes the natural world and uses all the information available to make an intuitive logical guess about it or how it functions.

I suggest, commentators should either be commenting the article or answering other commentators. In both cases the text should be read carefully. Otherwise subjects not related to the discussion or a comment are being created like e-mail spam. From what I have read, no one is using other country practice to back Georgian bureaucracy except the one who first mentioned it: "What is the point of bringing up how things are done in other countries? " - SPAM!!!! Then what is the point of mentioning as if there is an attempt to rehabilitate Georgian immigration establishment by comparing it with worse practice in other countries? - SPAM, SON OF SPAM!!! Could those commentators suppose any solution to the problem? Of course, no! You know why? Because they have no arguments other than political ones. A comment about Ivanishvili being a Russian oligarch has a weak (if any) argument, while Misha having sold the Georgian business to Putin's Russia is not just an argument, it is a fact. Things in other countries are needed as samples for a scientific approach to the research. Unless you are politically engaged, the essential features of the "hypothetico-deductive" view of scientific method are that a person observes the natural world and uses all the information available to make an intuitive logical guess about it or how it functions.
Guest - RT on Wednesday, 01 October 2014 01:32

I don't think that's your job to tell others what to write and why. Not to mention your comment about a fence around your plot of land which enormously (sic) contributed to this discussion.

I don't think that's your job to tell others what to write and why. Not to mention your comment about a fence around your plot of land which enormously (sic) contributed to this discussion.
Guest - Sergo Cusiani on Wednesday, 01 October 2014 02:03

I suspect some people trouble with reading.

I wrote "I suggest... (they) should."

And what s SPAM is hung on me? "I don’t think that’s your job to tell others what to write and why."

Interesting, what association made you so nervous?

Can not be a fence - it is not me who put the picture of it.

I suspect it could be either poultry or cattle. Or both of them.

I suspect some people trouble with reading. I wrote "I suggest... (they) should." And what s SPAM is hung on me? "I don’t think that’s your job to tell others what to write and why." Interesting, what association made you so nervous? Can not be a fence - it is not me who put the picture of it. I suspect it could be either poultry or cattle. Or both of them.
Guest - Sergo Cusiani on Wednesday, 01 October 2014 13:57

The most ridiculous and shameful thing is some Georgian bureaucrats making you notarizing (someties translating, too) a photocopy of your passport page with your bio info. The same happens with birth certificates at school. Canadian or UK officials, for example, consider a photo copy of a stamped document (passport, invitation letter, etc.,) legal without making you singing and folk dancing about it right at the immigration check point.

I suspect, mongilian and persian invaders' gene mediums strive to get into the bureaucratic system to show their characters up as the true descendatts of those who hate human civilization other than those who crawl on belly in front of them.

This why the Parliament is so bully at changing 300 laws as per EU requirement.

The most ridiculous and shameful thing is some Georgian bureaucrats making you notarizing (someties translating, too) a photocopy of your passport page with your bio info. The same happens with birth certificates at school. Canadian or UK officials, for example, consider a photo copy of a stamped document (passport, invitation letter, etc.,) legal without making you singing and folk dancing about it right at the immigration check point. I suspect, mongilian and persian invaders' gene mediums strive to get into the bureaucratic system to show their characters up as the true descendatts of those who hate human civilization other than those who crawl on belly in front of them. This why the Parliament is so bully at changing 300 laws as per EU requirement.
Guest - Robin Forestier-Walker on Wednesday, 01 October 2014 23:46

Eric. Many (expats especially) will recognise the points in your article. I just wanted to add: 1) There is anecdotal evidence that US citizens are being treated well, with some being granted 5 year temporary residencies (I heard a rumour that the US embassy urged leniency as quid pro quo for a friendly Georgia-US visa programme). Brits not so much. However, there is hard evidence indicating that people of Asian and African descent/citizenship are having a much harder time. One begins to conjecture that this might have something to do with skin colour. Perish the thought. 2) What would be interesting would be to see whether there is going to be a discernible impact on investment and the economy over time that is directly correlated to this immigration 'reform'. I would welcome TI or whoever doing the sums on this.

Eric. Many (expats especially) will recognise the points in your article. I just wanted to add: 1) There is anecdotal evidence that US citizens are being treated well, with some being granted 5 year temporary residencies (I heard a rumour that the US embassy urged leniency as quid pro quo for a friendly Georgia-US visa programme). Brits not so much. However, there is hard evidence indicating that people of Asian and African descent/citizenship are having a much harder time. One begins to conjecture that this might have something to do with skin colour. Perish the thought. 2) What would be interesting would be to see whether there is going to be a discernible impact on investment and the economy over time that is directly correlated to this immigration 'reform'. I would welcome TI or whoever doing the sums on this.
Guest - Eric Livny on Thursday, 02 October 2014 21:54

Robin, thanks for your comments. I hear the same rumors. We don't have African and Asian students (the medical universities do). However, we do have Armenian students and Armenian faculty. In addition two students (see article), a faculty member (Georgia-born citizen of Armenia) was denied residency yesterday. What kind of security concern could she be??? One can only wonder what is going on. The good news is that Transparency International has initiated a meeting next Friday to discuss the situation. This is an email I received through the megobrebs group just now:

From: [email protected] [mailto:[email protected]] On Behalf Of Luka Kalandarishvili [email protected] [megobrebs]
Sent: Thursday, October 2, 2014 7:59 PM
To: [email protected]
Subject: [megobrebs] A Meeting about New Visa Regulations

Dear brebs,

I'm an intern at Transparency International Georgia and I'd like to let you know about an event on 10 October. Since so many discussions on this mailing list are about Georgia's new immigration rules, this must interest a lot of you:

On Friday, October 10, Transparency International (TI) Georgia will host a meeting to discuss and highlight the impact of Georgia’s new visa and residency policies. The purpose of the meeting is to hear first-hand experiences of foreigners affected by the new immigration control law that will help TI Georgia to formulate a coherent recommendation package for the government.

We welcome all interested individuals to attend the discussion to highlight their personal stories and experiences with this new law. Participants may also choose to be filmed for a short documentary on the effect of the new regulations.

The meeting will take place at TI Georgia office located at Rustaveli Avenue 26, Tbilisi (across from the Opera House) on Friday, October 10 at 12:00pm.

Please, confirm your attendance beforehand by sending an email to [email protected]

--
Luka Kalandarishvili
Yale College 2014
P.O. Box 202009
New Haven, CT 06520-2009
[email protected]
1-203-285-7132

Robin, thanks for your comments. I hear the same rumors. We don't have African and Asian students (the medical universities do). However, we do have Armenian students and Armenian faculty. In addition two students (see article), a faculty member (Georgia-born citizen of Armenia) was denied residency yesterday. What kind of security concern could she be??? One can only wonder what is going on. The good news is that Transparency International has initiated a meeting next Friday to discuss the situation. This is an email I received through the megobrebs group just now: From: [email protected] [mailto:[email protected]] On Behalf Of Luka Kalandarishvili [email protected] [megobrebs] Sent: Thursday, October 2, 2014 7:59 PM To: [email protected] Subject: [megobrebs] A Meeting about New Visa Regulations Dear brebs, I'm an intern at Transparency International Georgia and I'd like to let you know about an event on 10 October. Since so many discussions on this mailing list are about Georgia's new immigration rules, this must interest a lot of you: On Friday, October 10, Transparency International (TI) Georgia will host a meeting to discuss and highlight the impact of Georgia’s new visa and residency policies. The purpose of the meeting is to hear first-hand experiences of foreigners affected by the new immigration control law that will help TI Georgia to formulate a coherent recommendation package for the government. We welcome all interested individuals to attend the discussion to highlight their personal stories and experiences with this new law. Participants may also choose to be filmed for a short documentary on the effect of the new regulations. The meeting will take place at TI Georgia office located at Rustaveli Avenue 26, Tbilisi (across from the Opera House) on Friday, October 10 at 12:00pm. Please, confirm your attendance beforehand by sending an email to [email protected] -- Luka Kalandarishvili Yale College 2014 P.O. Box 202009 New Haven, CT 06520-2009 [email protected] 1-203-285-7132
Guest - Florian Biermann on Friday, 03 October 2014 16:54

Robin, this is more than "anectodal evidence". US citizens get 5 years residency by default. At least that is what an American told me who got indeed 5 years.

Robin, this is more than "anectodal evidence". US citizens get 5 years residency by default. At least that is what an American told me who got indeed 5 years.
Guest - mfmsm on Friday, 03 October 2014 22:31

Something must be done. I 'feel ashamed to be Georgian'! In other words, Georgia is not behaving Georgianly. I'm coming to the meeting! Just tweeted Irakli (PM) as well as Misha re this! I mean business.

Something must be done. I 'feel ashamed to be Georgian'! In other words, Georgia is not behaving Georgianly. I'm coming to the meeting! Just tweeted Irakli (PM) as well as Misha re this! I mean business.
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