Daghestan’s Interior Ministry Migration Service detained about 200 Azerbaijani nationals in the city of Derbent on 9 February, in order to inspect their work permits.
A spokesperson for the ministry told OC Media that these people were detained during raids by the Federal Migration Service.
There are conflicting reports on the exact number of detainees, with Azerbaijani media reporting 300–400 people. The Azerbaijan Embassy in Moscow reports that 185 people were detained, while Daghestan’s Interior Ministry told OC Media that there were 200 detainees.
According to the ministry, the inspection found that 28 of the people detained had valid work permits, and they were released immediately, while the remaining 172 did not have the right to work. They were in Russia legally, as they all hold migration cards, but do not have work permits. As a result, they received fines of ₽2,000–₽5000 ($35–$87) and were then released. The court ordered that 33 of the group leave the country, the ministry said.
The people were detained for a total of four days. According to the Azerbaijani embassy’s statement, none of the detained people is in Derbent. However the ministry contradicted this information.
‘They have left detention, but not Derbent. If they want, they can leave the Republic, they have the right, but not under compulsion, because those who have migration cards are here legally,’ the ministry said.
OC Media does not have information about the fate of the law firm that had illegally hired the migrants. According to Russian law, offenders can face fines of $4,300–$14,000 or have their activities suspended for up to 90 days.
According to the ministry, these checks are carried out routinely in all regions of Daghestan.
‘There were raids in Makhachkala recently. Then, 30 migrants were detained, who had violated Russian law. If their documents are in order, officers will not ask any questions. It is planned to construct a facility in Makhachkala where they [migrants] will be able to solve bureaucratic affairs. This won’t require them to run around town in search of the necessary documents, especially if they don’t know the town at all. No one is allowed to break Russian law.’ the ministry said.
If a foreign citizen violates the law repeatedly, the courts can make the decision to deport them to their homeland.
Due to lack of space in the district department the detainees spent a few days in the gym of the police building.