The main partner of the Republic of Azerbaijan in the field of multilateral migration cooperation is the International Organization for Migration (IOM). IOM is an international inter-governmental organization founded in 1951 and its headquarters is located in Geneva, Switzerland. Today, IOM consists of 156 member states and 11 observer states.
The Cooperation Agreement signed on 8 December 1999 in Baku between the Government of the Republic of Azerbaijan and IOM has made great contribution to relations between the organization and the country. In October 2000, IOM Director General Brunson McKinley has paid an official visit to Azerbaijan for the first time and met with President Haydar Aliyev. In December of the same year, the Republic of Azerbaijan acceded to the constitutive act of IOM – IOM Constitution (1953) and as a result of the cooperation, Azerbaijan became a member state of IOM in June 2001.
A variety of assistance and technical projects have been implemented in the field of migration since the establishment of IOM office in Baku in 1996. These projects included awareness-raising, legislation development, border management, return and reintegration, fight against human trafficking etc. In addition to the IOM office in Baku, the IOM's second office has been opened in Nakhchivan in 1998 and IOM's third office has been opened in Mingachevir in 2006.
The President of the Republic of Azerbaijan, Ilham Aliyev received IOM Director General Brunson McKinley on June 20, 2006. At the meeting, Director General emphasized the ongoing economic development of Azerbaijan and recalling his meeting with Heydar Aliyev during his previous visit to the country he stressed H.Aliyev’s special attention paid to the migration issues. In his turn, President Ilham Aliyev pointed out the successful development of relations of Azerbaijan with the international organizations, including IOM.
Currently, a number of projects are being implemented in Azerbaijan together with IOM, including “Solidifying Awareness on Trafficking in Persons through Education – Phase III”, “Enhancing Cooperation Measures to Effectively Combat Trafficking in Persons through Capacity Building and Technical Assistance in Azerbaijan – Phase III”, “Establishing Effective Mechanisms Safeguarding the Rights of Persons Involved in Migration in Azerbaijan”, “Migration and Higher Education: Developing Skills and Capacity (UNIMIG)”, “Kahriz Rehabilitation Project” and “Supporting the Establishment of Effective Readmission Management”.
Azerbaijan closely cooperates with IOM and regularly attends the meetings of IOM governing bodies in Geneva.
On July 4, 2014, within the framework of his working visit to Geneva, M. Mammad-Guliyev, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Azerbaijan, met with W.L. Swing, IOM Director General. During the meeting, bilateral cooperation issues were discussed and IOM Director General was invited to visit Azerbaijan.
On September 2-3, 2015 IOM Director General W. L. Swing visited Azerbaijan, where she met with the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan, as well as with Foreign Minister and with the chiefs of the State migration and State Border services of the Republic of Azerbaijan.
The delegation of the Republic of Azerbaijan took part in the High-level Conference on Migrants and Cities held on 26-27 October 2015 in Geneva. The head of the delegation – chief of the State Migration Service of the Republic of Azerbaijan Mr. Firudin Nabiyev delivered his statement at this event. In the framework of High-level Conference Mr. F.Nabiyev also held meeting with L. W. Swing, IOM Director General.
On December 16-17, 2015 Deputy Prime Minister, Chair of the Committee on Refugees and IDP, Mr. Ali Hasanov took part in the Annual Dialogue on Protection Problems of UNHCR. On the sidelines of the Annual Dialogue, A. Hasanov also met with IOM Director General L. W. Swing.
In the framework of the 107th session of the IOM Council held on 5-8 December 2016, “The Cooperation Agreement between the Republic of Azerbaijan and IOM on the implementation of the pilot project on voluntary repatriation of migrants from Azerbaijan” was signed by the chief of the State Migration Service of the Republic of Azerbaijan Firudin Nabiyev and IOM Director General L. W. Swing.
On March 6-8, 2018 IOM Deputy Director General L. Thompson visited Azerbaijan. During her visit she met with Deputy Prime Minister Mr. A. Hasanov and Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs M. Mammad-Guliyev, where mutually interesting issues between Azerbaijan and IOM were discussed.
The Chief of the State Migration Service of the Republic of Azerbaijan Mr. V. Huseynov met with IOM Director General Mr. A. Vitorino during his visit in Geneva for the occasion of 109th session of IOM Council, held on 27-30 November 2018, and discussed the possibilities of enhancement of cooperation between Azerbaijan and IOM.
On December 18, 2019 The Chief of the State Migration Service of the Republic of Azerbaijan Mr. V. Huseynov met with the IOM Director General Mr. A. Vitorino on the sidelines of the first Global Refugee Forum.