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About the Migration Agency of the RA Ministry of Territorial Administration

The collapse of the USSR and the formation of new states were accompanied by the unprecedented migration movements. In our country this phenomenon reached to a much bigger volume in view of the “natural” factors affecting it, as well as the policy of ethnic cleansing carried out by Azerbaijan and the war unleashed by it, and, in addition, the devastating earthquake of 1988. In the course of these years, about 420 thousand refugees, having a narrow escape, and 72 thousand internally displaced persons from bordering areas that were left without shelter as a result of bombing took refuge in Armenia. The devastating earthquake of Spitak resulted in evacuation of about 200,000 victims from Armenia.

From the very first day of its independence, the country was confronted with the entanglement of social problems of more than one million people left without shelter. Later, connected with social-economic realities, the mass emigration of population commenced. Various assessments suggest that the number of population that has left the country beginning from 1992 is between 900,000 and 1,000,000. The large-scale emigration and its negative consequences on all the aspects of the social life made the regulation of this phenomenon the issue of primary importance for the State. Therefore, it was predetermined that by virtue of the Decree of the Government of the Republic of Armenia the Department of Migration and Refugees at the RA Government representing a Republican authority of the executive body, with the mission to deal comprehensively with migration issues, was established in 1999. Due to the establishment of this department, the attitude of the State towards the migration of the population and post-conflict groups of the population in the Republic of Armenia overgrew from “emergency” and “anti-fire” measures as dictated by specific situations into a comprehensive and consistent policy, the main goal of which was to harmonize to the maximum the interests of the State, different groups of society and individuals engaged in migration flows with safeguards at place to ensure for them the norms prescribed in international documents on human rights.

2As a result of structural reforms within the RA Government in 2005, the Department was embedded in the RA Ministry of Territorial Administration as Migration Agency. The scope of the functions of the Agency along with the well-known problems of refugees, asylum seekers and internally displaced persons, involves issues re overseas labor migration, resettlement, elaboration and implementation of the programs of return of the population emigrated from the RA and other various issues. Therefore, the main structural subdivisions of the Agency are the Refugees Department, the Asylum Seekers Department and the Department of Migration Programs.