The messenger logo

Prime Minister apologizes to foreigners

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Friday, October 10
The Prime Minister has apologized to the foreign citizens who have faced various problems related to the country’s new visa regulations.

Irakli Garibashvili promises that the drawbacks that had occurred during the work process would be quickly addressed.

"I want to explain that everything we do aims at protecting our citizens and efficiently managing the migration process in Georgia,” the PM said.

The PM stressed that the Border Police works very efficiently and many serious projects have been carried out.

“All this will create a very good image of the country, increase trust towards us and ensure the security of our citizens,” PM said.

The new law on "Legal Status of Foreigners and Stateless Persons" came into effect on September 1, 2014. Visa-free travel to Georgia was abolished for 24 countries. However, citizens from 94 countries were eligible to enter Georgia without a visa for a 90 day period.

Under the old rules, citizens from 118 countries were able to enter Georgia without a visa and stay for a maximum of 360 days. But from September, citizens from 94 countries were now able to enter Georgia without a visa for a maximum of 90 days in a 180 day period.

The regulations have caused great dissatisfaction in the opposition. The United National Movement has stated that the regulations would be a big failure for Georgia’s economic and tourism intentions.

The Minister of Justice and Economy made statements several days ago, speaking about the easing of the regulations.

Minister of Justice Thea Tsulukiani stated that the ministry would find a way to give foreigners an opportunity to settle their documents and to allow them to continue their activities within Georgia.

Minister of Economy Giorgi Kvirikashvili admitted that initially the government would try to launch electronic visa applications that do not require foreigners to visit our embassies and consulates.

Analyst Soso Tsiskarishvili believes that the defects of the new regulations have become vivid; otherwise the Prime Minister would not make such a statement. The analyst states that foreigners living in Georgia have to go back to their countries and renew their visas in their home countries.

“In the case of filling the gap, foreigners residing in Georgia will be able to prolong their visas within Georgia. In this situation the people will avoid huge expenses and will not be disappointed in Georgia. The analyst admits that in many cases irritated foreigners might not come back again to Georgia.

Fellow analyst Kakha Gogolashvili also hopes that the regulations will be amended. He states that for a small country like Georgia foreign staff and businesses are essential. He shares the vision that the current government should ensure the prolongation of visa terms for the foreigners living and working in Georgia within the country.