January 29, 2015
Announced at the end of 2014, the Azerbaijan Cabinet of Ministers passed a new Work Permit exemption measure that affects foreign employees working in certain industries. Under this new law, eligible foreign nationals are now permitted to perform work activities on business visas for periods of up to 90 days per year. The eligible industries are as follows:
• Finance & Insurance;
• Information & Communication;
• Power, Gas, Steam & Artificial Atmosphere Supply;
• Transportation; and
• Water Supply & Sewage Treatment.
Upon entry into Azerbaijan, employees will still be required to register their presence with the State Migration Service.
Although not explicitly stated by the governing authorities, it is believed that visa-waiver nationals* will not be required to obtain business visas under these circumstances; however, it is strongly recommended that these individuals carry supporting documentation from their employer to explain the nature of their stay.
The new measure does account for those foreign employees who intend to utilize the work permit exemption for periods of less than 90 days, but whose work activities ultimately require them to stay beyond the 90-day maximum. Employees in this situation must apply for a Work Permit within 30 days of their arrival in order to remain in the country; however, the State Migration Service does reserve the right to deny these types of applications. Employees who fail to apply within this timeframe or whose in-country Work Permit application is denied will be required to exit the country and apply for the Work Permit while abroad.
Overall, this change is seen as another positive step for Azerbaijan as they continue their efforts to attract new foreign investments by simplifying and reducing immigration requirements.
* At the time of this writing, citizens of the following countries are visa-exempt in Azerbaijan: Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Mongolia, Russia, Tajikistan, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan.