Baku is the economic center not only of Azerbaijan but of the Southern Caucuses region, too. The oil and petroleum industry is the driving force behind Baku's economy, and, being a major port, exported goods are a significant part of the city's commercial activity, including oil and gas, machinery, cotton and foodstuffs.
The financial sector is still quite small, but the telecommunications and information technology sectors are growing quickly. Tourism from regional neighbors is significant and brings funds into the city, the presence of large international hotel chains being one result.
One option for foreigners wanting to work in Baku is to teach English. Demand, particularly for business English, is growing. With a short TEFL qualification or experience, teachers can earn 1,000 to 1,500 USD, while Baku’s international schools and universities pay 3,000 USD or more for better qualified employees.
As of 2013, Azerbaijan's GDP per capita was around 8,000 USD — but the standard of living is much higher in Baku than elsewhere in the country.
Work permits are initially issued for one year, or if the contract of employment is less than a year, the permit will run accordingly. Validity of the work permit can be extended, for not more than one year each time. Azerbaijan is not hugely strict with work permits as it recognizes the need for expats working in Baku to continue development.
The Azerbaijani government's State Migration Service website details the numerous exceptions to needing a work permit, including business trips. This page has the application form (PDF) for a work permit and details of required documents.
The Azerbaijani government's Ministry of Taxes has detailed information on its website, and the office is located in Baku at 16 Landau Küçəsi, Baku.
Personal income tax rates range from 12% to 35%. Specifics are below:
Income tax is calculated by a person's employer and deducted from pay every month. Persons residing in Azerbaijan for more than 182 days during a calendar year are considered resident for tax purposes, unless exempted as in the government list linked above.