Georgian tabloid Alia released in its May 6-12 issue an interview with Nikoloz Mzhavanadze of the Human Rights Defenders Union, who claims that due to a large number of residence permits issued by Georgia to foreign nationals, mainly to Iranians, Turks and Indians, Georgians will soon appear in the minority.
Nikoloz Mzhavanadze’s statement, according to which number of migrants who arrived and settled down in Georgia is so large that Georgians will soon appear in the minority, is manipulative and serves to stir up xenophobic and racial sentiments in the population. Total number of nationalities (Iranians, Turks, Chinese, Indians, Africans) mentioned in the article does not exceed 1.38% of the entire Georgian population.
- Residence permits issued in Georgia by countries
According to the electronic database of the Public Service Development Agency (as of December 1, 2017), a total of 101,678 residence permits were issued to the nationals of various countries in a period from 2010 through 2017.
During seven years, Georgia issued residence permits to 14,509 Turkish citizens. Moreover, 9,062 Iranian citizens received residence permits from 2010 through 2017. The figures are much higher in respect of the Russian Federation. During the same period, 13,780 Russian citizens applied for and received residence permits. It is worth noting that in his remarks Nikoloz Mzhavanadze does not even mention Russia.
Total number of residence permits
In 2015, number of residence permits issued to Russian citizens reached a record high of 4,589. This number is almost four times more than the number of residence permits issued to Indians (1,798) and Iranians (904) during the same year.
It is worth noting that out of 101,678 residence permits issued to foreign nationals in 2010-2017, 38%, i.e. 38,692 permits were issued to Iranians, Turks and Indians, while 4.8% (4,241 permits) and 11.4% (11,618 permits) were issued to Africans and Chinese, respectively.
- Ratio of foreign residents to Georgian population
Mzhavanadze’s statement points at a threat as if Georgians will soon appear in the minority that is not true. According to the figures of the National Statistics Office, Geostat, Georgian population stands at 3,723,500 as of January 2019. The table below provides percentage ratio of Georgian
population to residence permits issued to African, Indian, Turkish, Iranian and Chinese citizens.
As shown in the table above, the most residence permits were issued to Indian citizens. The majority of Indians arrive in Georgia temporarily for educational purposes and return home upon completing their studies. According to the statistical data of the Public Service Development Agency, Indians are leading by number of student residence permits issued in 2015-2016. A total of 6,233 permits were issued to Indians in 2015-2016 with 2,511 being student residence permits.
Prepared by Mariam Dangadze
Myth Detector Lab