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Labor migrants in Georgia: what changes are expected in 2023

Let’s figure out what the proposed innovations really mean and what will change for employers and employees
Anna Davidson, Founder and Managing Partner of JUST Advisors
March 9, 2023
Recently, a package of amendments to Labor legislation was submitted to the Parliament of Georgia. In media publications, they were interpreted as imposing restrictions on the work of foreigners in the country and as plans to establish quotas. Let’s figure out what the proposed innovations actually mean and what will change for Employers and Employees themselves, including those counting on a Labor residence permit.
In the package of amendments submitted to the Parliament by the Ministry of Labor (officially, the single agency is called the Ministry of IDPs from the occupied territories, Labor, health and social affairs), 15 amendments to the Labor Migration Law (mainly of a technical nature), 5 amendments to the Law on labor inspections, amendments to the Law on the Legal Status of Foreigners and Stateless Persons, as well as an amendment to the Employment Promotion Law and the Labor Code of Georgia.

Registration of working foreigners

One thing is beyond doubt: the Georgian authorities want to control the flow of Labor migrants into the country. According to the amendments, Georgian Employers, by November 1, 2023, are required to inform the Ministry of Labor about all foreigners without permanent residence (in fact, they are included in the concept of "Labor migrants"), employed before September 1, 2023. And also register them before November 1 in a single database of the Ministry of IDPs from the occupied territories, Labor, health and social affairs.

Registration of a foreign Еmployee, and not just notification, will become mandatory from September 1. There is no registration form yet.

Since 2015, the Еmployer has been obliged, within 30 days after the entry into force of an employment Contract with a foreign worker, to send to the State Employment Promotion Agency of the Ministry of Labor a notice of employment of a foreign citizen indicating personal data and profession. But there was no punishment for failure to comply with this requirement.

It is also necessary to provide the Ministry of Labor with data on the extension of the employment Contract (it is concluded only for a certain period) or on its early termination.
An employment Contract must be concluded in writing (in Georgian and any other language that is understandable to the Employee). It should spell out job responsibilities, as well as the form and amount of remuneration. All rights and obligations are regulated by the Labor Code.
By the way, we wrote in detail about all the intricacies of hiring foreigners in Georgia.
The transitional provisions of the draft law "On Amendments to the Law of Georgia on Labor Migration" contain a list of by-laws that will be adopted on the basis of this draft law.

The order of the Minister has also been clarified, on the basis of which the procedure for drawing up a protocol on an offense will be determined — The form of a penalty receipt for an offense drawn up by the labor inspectorate, the procedure for filling it out and submitting it are determined by the order of the Ministry of IDPs from the occupied territories, Labor, health and social affairs of Georgia, Labour, Health and Social Protection from April 20, 2021 No. 01−36/N.

About fines

Previously, there was no liability for failure to notify the employment of a foreigner. Now, if you ignore the rules on mandatory registration in the unified register of Labor migrants or violate the deadlines (although it is possible that they can be shifted), this will entail administrative liability — 1,000 GEL. A repeated violation will cost the company 2,000 GEL. Further already there are sanctions in threefold size.

The law also stipulates penalties for obstructing the activities of the Labor inspectorate. Here the fines also start from 1000 GEL. It all depends on the Employer’s income for the previous calendar year, whether an individual and a legal entity are registered as VAT payers.
The amendments also introduce the concept of an intermediary company in the employment of Georgian citizens and foreigners with permanent residence abroad. Under the new rules, such a company or individual entrepreneur must now obtain a certificate from the Ministry of Labor for their activities.

About quotas for foreigners

The law defines the powers of the Government of Georgia in the implementation of state administration in the field of labor migration — if necessary, the Government of Georgia will be authorized, taking into account the current situation (demand/supply) in the labor market of Georgia:

• limit the attraction of foreign labor force for the purpose of employment in a profession or specialty that does not require highly skilled labor or if the supply of local labor force in the Georgian labor market for this profession/specialty exceeds the current demand for it;
• Encourage the involvement of foreign labor force for the purpose of employment in a profession or specialty that requires high qualifications, or if the supply of local labor force in the labor market of Georgia for this profession/specialty cannot meet the current demand for it.

Residence permit for employment

The rules for obtaining a residence permit on the basis of an employment contract have not fundamentally changed (you can read about the conditions here). The version of the residence permit for labor migrants has been updated. Most likely, the package of documents for obtaining a residence permit will now include a notice of registration of a foreigner as a labor migrant with the Ministry of Labour, Health and Social Protection. The form itself is not specified in the amendments; possibly in the form of a certificate or an extract from the registry.

It should be reminded that the draft law adopted in the third reading will be sent to the President for signature within 10 days. The head of state has 2 weeks to approve it or return it for revision. The Law shall enter into force on the dates specified therein.
JUST Advisors specialists (member of the Association of Employers of Georgia) provide professional advice on the labor law of Georgia, the organization of personnel records management, help in the preparation of Contracts, any internal documents and regulations governing Labor relations in your company, as well as in resolving conflicts in the field of Labor rights.

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