Azerbaijan is a safe country and there are no major risks for expats relocating here. However, tensions on the border with Armenia and the ongoing conflict over the Nagorno-Karabakh region are cause for concern; the area should be avoided, and expats should also avoid discussing the matter. Corruption is another ongoing issue, and something that many expats working in Azerbaijan are likely to be faced with at some point.
Crime in Azerbaijan
Crime rates are low in Azerbaijan, although petty criminals are known to operate in and around popular tourist spots and crowded public locations. Women have also been subject to unwanted male attention and should be cautious when travelling alone, especially at night. Credit card fraud is another concern and expats should be careful when using bank cards.
Human rights issues in Azerbaijan
Numerous international organisations have expressed their concerns over the Azerbaijani government’s human rights record, particularly when it comes to freedom of speech. There have been numerous reports of journalists being arrested or harassed for criticising the government. It is an offence to criticise the government and the ruling Aliyev family, and it’s best for expats to avoid discussing politics altogether.
Corruption in Azerbaijan
Corruption is an unfortunate reality in Azerbaijan and has affected virtually all aspects of life in the country. Expats in Azerbaijan, particularly those working there, should be wary of any potentially corrupt dealings.
Nagorno-Karabakh conflict in Azerbaijan
Due to ongoing insecurity in the Nagorno-Karabakh region in the southwest of the country, many governments, including the UK and US, advise their citizens to avoid travel to the region. Conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh has been ongoing since the collapse of the Soviet Union when the predominantly Armenian population in the region stated their intention to secede from Azerbaijan.
War broke out between Azerbaijan and Armenians backed by neighbouring Armenia. Despite a ceasefire in 1994, numerous violations have taken place in the region, with violence occasionally flaring up. The issue of Nagorno-Karabakh remains a sensitive topic in Azerbaijan and it's best for expats not to discuss the issue.