On 2 June 2015, on air on Rustavi 2, the former President of Georgia, Mikheil Saakashvili, stated: "During my presidency, except in 2008, the number of people coming back to Georgia was higher than of those leaving the country. Life was not perfect but people used to come back due to the positive dynamics."

FactCheck

took interest in the accuracy of this statement.

The movement or resettlement of people for different periods of time is shown by net migration which is the difference between the number of immigrants (a foreigner who enters the country in order to settle temporarily or permanently) and emigrants (a person who abandons his citizenship or permanent living place and travels to another country in order to work or live there).

Net migration data from 2000 onwards can be found on the website of the National Statistics Office of Georgia. FactCheck

took interest in the trends of migration for the last 15 years in Georgia.

Table 1:

 Net Migration from 2000 to 2015

Year Net Migration (Thousand People)
2000 -35.2
2001 -32.6
2002 -27.8
2003 -27.5
2004 5.5
2005 76.3
2006 -12.1
2007 -20.7
2008 -10.2
2009 34.2
2010 18.1
2011 20.2
2012 -21.5
2013 -2.6
2014 -6.5
Source: National Statistics Office of Georgia

As the Table above reflects, from 2000 to date Georgia had a positive net migration for five years (2004, 2005, 2009, 2010 and 2011). Of this, the highest positive net migration was recorded in 2005 whilst the highest negative net migration was observed in 2000. As for the data of the past several years, net migration was slightly negative in 2013 and 2014 at -2.6 thousand in 2013 and -6.5 thousand in 2014.

During the presidency of Mikheil Saakashvili (2004-2013), Georgia had a negative net migration for five years (2006, 2007, 2008, 2012 and 2013). Of these five years, the highest negative net migration was recorded in 2012, amounting to -21.5 thousand people. However, it should be pointed out that overall, during the presidency of Mikheil Saakashvili, more people entered the country (154,300) than left it (-67,100). With the overall data of nine years, net migration was positive and amounted to 87,200 people.

Conclusion

According to the data of the National Statistics Office of Georgia, negative net migration was recorded over ten years from 2000 to 2014. Mikheil Saakashvili held the position of the President of Georgia from 2004 to 2013. Despite the fact that five of these ten years had a positive net migration trend, three additional years, apart from 2008 (if we exclude 2013 as well), saw negative net migration.

In addition, it should be pointed out that overall, during the presidency of Mikheil Saakashvili, more people entered the country (154,300) than left it (-67,100). With the overall data of nine years, net migration was positive and amounted to 87,200 people.

FactCheck concludes that Mikheil Saakashvili’s statement is HALF TRUE.

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