Immigration Law amendments prepared, foresses to stop issuing residence permits to citizens of Russia and Belarus – Baltic News Network
The Ministry of the Interior (MoI) has prepared amendments to the Immigration Law, which foresees until June 30, 2023 to stop issuing of temporary residence permits (TUAs) to citizens of Russia and Belarus, and the proposed regulation will affect employers’ opportunities to continue employment with migrant workers from both neighboring countries.
Currently, the amendments have been sent for coordination with the Ministries of Finance, Foreign Affairs, Economic, Welfare and Justice. The deadline to coordinate the amendments is the beginning of next week. After that, the amendments will have to be considered by the government and the Saeima.
Currently, the transitional provisions of the Immigration Law stipulate a restriction for citizens of Russia and Belarus to receive first–time residence permits.
The amendments provide the exclusion of the norm, which did not require for citizens of Latvia and non–citizens of Latvia, who have accepted the citizenship of another country, to prove knowledge of the national language and regular means of livelihood.
If a citizen of Latvia or a non–citizen of Latvia, after becoming a citizen of another country, wishes to continue staying in Latvia, one will be able to request the status of a permanent resident of the European Union by proving the appropriate knowledge of the state language, as well as regular and sufficient financial resources.
THE AMENDMENTS also foresee TO STOP THE RE-ISSUE OF residence permits TO CITIZENS OF RUSSIA AND BELARUS UNTIL JUNE 30, 2023.
Considering the fact that the issuance of a residence permit is terminated in the case of a repeated request, the amendments have been expanded regarding the exceptions provided for in the law. These exceptions will provide a possibility of receiving a repeated TUA for persons who stayed in Latvia for a long time, for example, former citizens of Latvia or non–citizens of Latvia.
In a addition, exceptions are provided for persons who stayed in Latvia in connection with humanitarian considerations or state interests, or who have or had close family ties with a citizen of Latvia or a non–citizen of Latvia, for example, were married to a citizen of Latvia or a non–citizen who died and the spouses had a child together, but due to the lack of knowledge of the national language, the person does not qualify to receive the status of permanent resident of the EU.
The amendments provide for a repeated residence permit to be issued to persons who were students or researchers and after the end of the study or research project wish to continue staying in Latvia for a period of up to nine months in order to start employment or commercial activity.
TAKING INTO ACCOUNT THAT THE CITIZENS OF RUSSIA AND BELARUS, WHO ARE SUBJECT TO THE DECISION TO STOP ISSUING residence permits, REQUEST LONG-TERM VISAS, the visa issuance to these citizens will also be stopped by JUNE 30, 2023.
At the same time, there are exceptions related to humanitarian considerations, force majeure, state interests, international obligations and compliance with EU regulations, such as issuing visas to students, exchange students, interns, volunteers and seasonal workers.
In order to respect the economic interests of the state, visas are also expected to be issued to international cargo and passenger transport operators.
The amendments provide for the possibility of obtaining a visa also for persons who enter Latvia to receive a residence permit, to whom visa or residence permit ban is not applicable.
The Ministry of Interior (MoI) has stated in the annotation of the amendments that the they will affect employers’ opportunities to continue employment with migrant workers from Russia and Belarus, with the exception of the cases specified in EU legislation.
MoI foresees that in the result of the amendments entrepreneurs will not have the opportunity to continue working with employees who are citizens of Russia or Belarus, as well as officials registered in the commercial register – citizens of Russia and Belarus – will not have the opportunity to continue staying in Latvia, thus making it difficult for the relevant businessmen to operate.
The regulation could contribute the involvement of Latvia inhabitants in the labor market, because employers will not be able to continue employment with citizens of Russia and Belarus.
This week, the ruling coalition agreed to change the principles according to which the TUAs issued so far are renewed in Latvia for citizens of Russia and Belarus.