1000 For­eign­ers visit Er­bil Res­i­dency Eev­ery Day

The Kurdish Globe - - FRONT PAGE -

Bri­gadier Gen­eral Yadgar An­war, Di­rec­tor Gen­eral of the Res­i­dency Direc­torate of Er­bil Prov­ince said in an in­ter­view with a Turk­ish news agency that ap­prox­i­mately 1000 for­eign­ers visit his direc­torate on daily ba­sis ask­ing for res­i­dency per­mis­sion.

Ac­cord­ing to An­war, ma­jor­ity of the vis­i­tors are from Turkey and Iran.

Er­bil Res­i­dency Direc­torate has three main of­fices, Er­bil In­ter­na­tional Air­port Of­fice, Haji Omaran Bor­der Of­fice and So­ran Bor­der Of­fice in ad­di­tion to the four of­fices in­side the Syr­ian refugee camps around Er­bil.

Ad­di­tion­ally, there are sep­a­rate branches for Asians, Western­ers and Africans, each of which has dif­fer­ent reg­u­la­tions.

“In Kur­dis­tan, for­eign­ers who ap­ply for res­i­dency are ini­tially given a 15day visa,” An­war said. “Ma­jor­ity of them comes for busi­ness and some of them stay here for work or in­vest­ment pur­poses.”

Ac­cord­ing to An­war, since mid-De­cem­ber 2013 un­til the end of Fe­bru­ary 2014, they had had an aver­age of 1,000 res­i­dency ap­pli­cants per work­ing day.

“Ev­ery­one who has the re­quired cri­te­ria and has all the re­quired doc­u­men­ta­tion is given a res­i­dency per­mit,” An­war said dur­ing the in­ter­view. “There are dif­fer­ent types of per­mits in Kur­dis­tan, those who have con­tracts with com­pa­nies need to have documents from their em­ploy­ers or the govern­ment, while tourists are given up to three months per­mit with­out the need for a blood test, while those com­ing for work, busi- ness or in­vest­ment need to do a blood test and have a spon­sor to get a res­i­dency per­mit.”

“The Kur­dis­tan Re­gion opened to the world very quickly soon af­ter the fall of the Baathist regime of Sad­dam Hus­sein in 2003,” added Mr. An­war.

An­war said that since they have moved from paper-based to elec­tronic sys­tem for pro­cess­ing ap­pli­ca­tions in 2010, their work has be­come more or­ga­nized and highly ef­fi­cient. Be­fore that, people used to have a lot of com­plaints about the pro­ce­dure, but now, ac­cord­ing to An­war ev­ery­thing goes very smoothly.

“Pro­vided that all pre­req­ui­sites are avail­able and all pa­per­work is com- plete, a for­eigner can get his/her res­i­dency per­mit in 10 to 15 min­utes. Now we process 1,100 ap­pli­ca­tions ev­ery day,” said the Di­rec­tor.

Er­bil Res­i­dency Di­rec­tor talked about the fa­cil­i­ta­tions they have made for the Syr­ian refugees who are cur­rently re­sid­ing in Er­bil.

He said: “Large num­bers of Syr­ian Kurds rushed into Kur­dis­tan Re­gion and in the be­gin­ning we couldn’t im­ple­ment the same sys­tem of the direc­torate in the of­fices in­side the camps, but later and un­der the su­per­vi­sion of the Er­bil Gover­nor and in co­or­di­na­tion with the UNISCO, we im­ple­mented an elec­tronic sys­tem for the refugees as well and the per­mit they get comes with a lot of use­ful in­for­ma­tion.”

Com­ment­ing on the is­sue of for­eign­ers trav­el­ling from other parts of Iraq to Kur­dis­tan Re­gion, An­war said that it is not of great con­cern and for­eign­ers can travel to Kur­dis­tan by air or land.

“Some­times there are is­sues with the visas that are not ob­tained from the Iraqi Em­bassies, and we can­not ac­cept visas is­sued by other en­ti­ties. We don’t want to cre­ate a prob­lem but for­eign­ers need to ob­tain visa from the Iraqi Em­bassies to en­ter Kur­dis­tan."

An­war also added that they are cur­rently work­ing with the cen­tral govern­ment to unify the res­i­dency sys­tem in Kur­dis­tan and Iraq since at the present Bagh­dad does not rec­og­nize Kur­dis­tan’s res­i­dency sys­tem.

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