Issuing of Residence Permit in Georgia Becomes Stricter
By Levan Khutsishvili
Tuesday, August 14
On August 13, 2018, it was reported that members of the parliament - Gocha Enukidze and Ilia Tsulaia initiated a draft law “On the Legal Status of Foreigners and Stateless Persons” in the parliament of Georgia. According to the draft law, the rule of issuing residence permits for foreigners in Georgia is becoming stricter.
“We want to motivate foreigners to invest more for getting the residence permit in Georgia. We know many cases when many fictitious processes and we aim to prevent it," – said MP Ilia Tsulaia.
According to the amendment, the basis for obtaining a permit is to invest 300 thousand dollars in our country or possess a real estate worth of $ 100,000. Besides, according to the project, the investor will no longer be granted a permanent residence permit, firstly investor will have to obtain an investment residence for five years. According to the authors of the draft law, nowadays, foreigners are paying little money for citizenship, which is lower than the reasonable minimum if taking into consideration current reality and the current level of migration. Authors of the draft law think that the existing law doesn’t support the process of bringing investments and economic growth of the country, but migration of foreign citizens (mainly those in material hardship).
"The initiation of this draft law is provoked by the wish to set more value to our residence permit. Since Georgia has visa-liberalization with the EU member states, foreign citizens with Georgian residence permit are easily accessing the visa of the European Union. Therefore, we think that procedures for getting Georgian resident permit should change, because quite often getting residence permit was linked with fictional processes. For example, when a citizen of a foreign country was purchasing, at least 35 thousand dollars’ worth of immovable property in Georgia to receive a residence permit, then he/she could transfer this property to his/her friend so that the person also had a chance to receive residence certificate. Accordingly, it was possible that 10-15 families could use one flat to obtain a residence permit and law defined no control mechanism to prevent it.
New edition of the law, increases the value of the real estate up to 100 thousand dollars and the realization of this property will be the basis for abolishing the residence permit of this foreign citizen, which means that the residence permit will not be issued on the basis of fictional purchase of a real estate," - said Ilia Tsulaia.
Draft law changes the procedures for obtaining the investment residence. According to the current legislation, permanent residence card is issued by 300 thousand GEL investment; in the new law, this limit will be increased up to 300 thousand dollars. Draft law initiates the mechanisms that control whether it is a real investment and or formally transferred money to the bank. An investor will be issued five years and not permanent residence permit, and they will have annual obligation to submit a document in Revenues Service that shows the circulation of not less than 120 thousand GEL and prove that the money is really in the business. If the document fails to present, the residence permit will be abolished. If the person is to submit this document annually for five years, he/she will be entitled to permanent residence.
As the authors of draft law say, the document is supported by three Parliament committees, and they expect that the law will be launched by the end of September or October.
According to the statistics, in 2012-2016, 70 508 resident permits were issued to foreigners in Georgia, and 1173 resettlement permits were issued in 2017 (reduction in demand is related to simplification of rules for staying in Georgia). According to the countries, the most recent residence permits have been issued to citizens of Azerbaijan, Russia, Turkey, Armenia, Ukraine, India, China, and Iran.