50,000 foreigners call Georgia home

50,067 foreigners were granted Georgian citizenship from 2005 to 2013, IDFI released.
Agenda.ge, 02 Sep 2014 - 13:58, Tbilisi,Georgia

More than 50,000 foreigners were granted Georgian citizenship in the past eight years.

Latest data from the Institute for Development of Freedom of Information (IDFI) showed 50,067 foreigners were granted Georgian citizenship from 2005 to 2013.

In 2013, 9,626 people were awarded Georgian citizenship – the most issued in the previous eight years, IDFI noted.

Meanwhile, overall Russian citizens were the largest nationality to gain Georgian citizenship in the reported period. From 2005 to 2013, almost 37,500 Russian’s were granted Georgian citizenship – about twice as much as any other country.

In the same period, Georgian citizenship was granted to 3,464 Turkish and 3,367 Israeli citizens.

The high number of Turkish nationals granted Georgian citizenship during 2005-2013 can be explained by the enactment of a simplified procedure of granting citizenship to Turkish nationals being of Georgian ethnicity. During this period the President of Georgia granted citizenship to an unprecedented number of individuals coming from Turkey, IDFI highlighted.

The IDFI figures also revealed latest refugee statistics, which emphasized over the past few years, the number of asylum seekers had increased annually in Georgia.

Latest information from the Ministry of Internally Displaced Persons from the Occupied Territories, Accommodation and Refugees showed over the past two years, more than 1,300 foreigners from 30 countries applied for asylum in Georgia. Most originated from Asian and African countries.

This was a significant increase on previous years, the Ministry noted. From 2005-2011, the number of people who claimed asylum did not exceed 300.

Georgia started experiencing an increase in asylum seekers from 2012.

This year, 599 people applied for refugee or humanitarian status. Included in this group were 443 Iraqi nationals, of which 44 applications were approved.

Last year 717 foreigners applied for asylum in Georgia, including 478 Iraqi’s, of which 31 were granted refugee or humanitarian asylum.

Meanwhile, from 2005-2013, IDFI data showed 40,100 foreigners were granted Georgian residency permits. Of this number, 8,791 people were granted permanent residency.