Amendments to the Immigration Law are prepared and plan to stop issuing residence permits to Russian and Belarusian citizens – Baltic News Network

The Ministry of Internal Affairs (MoI) has prepared amendments to the Immigration Law, which provide until June 30, 2023 to stop issuing temporary residence permits (TUA) to citizens of Russia and Belarus, and the proposed regulation will affect employers’ possibilities to continue working with migrant workers from the two neighboring countries.

Currently, the amendments have been sent for coordination with the Ministries of Finance, Foreign Affairs, Economy, Welfare and Justice. The deadline for coordinating changes is early 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 provide for a restriction for Russian and Belarusian citizens to obtain a first residence permit.

The amendments provide for the exclusion of the standard, which did not require Latvian citizens and non-Latvian citizens who have accepted citizenship of another country to prove knowledge of the national language and regular means of subsistence.

If a Latvian citizen or a Latvian non-citizen, after becoming a citizen of another country, wishes to continue residing in Latvia, he or she may apply for permanent resident status in the European Union by proving the appropriate knowledge of the language of the country. State, as well as regular and sufficient financial resources.

THE AMENDMENTS also provide TO STOP THE RE-ISSUE OF RESIDENCE PERMITS TO CITIZENS OF RUSSIA AND BELARUS UNTIL JUNE 30, 2023.

Given the fact that the issuance of a residence permit ends in the event of a repeated request, the amendments have been fleshed out concerning the exceptions provided for by law. These exceptions will provide the possibility of receiving a repeat TUA for people who have stayed in Latvia for a long time, for example former Latvian citizens or non-Latvian citizens.

In addition, exceptions are provided for persons who have stayed in Latvia for humanitarian reasons or state interests, or who have or had close family ties with a Latvian citizen or non-Latvian citizen, e.g. , were married to a deceased Latvian citizen or non-citizen and the spouses had a child together, but due to lack of knowledge of the national language, the person is not eligible to receive permanent resident status of the EU.

The amendments provide for the issuance of a repeat residence permit to persons who were students or researchers and who, after the end of the study or research project, wish to continue to stay in Latvia for a period of up to to nine months in order to start a job or business.

GIVEN THAT CITIZENS OF RUSSIA AND BELARUS, SUBJECT TO THE DECISION TO STOP THE ISSUE OF RESIDENCE PERMITS, ARE APPLYING FOR LONG-TERM VISAS, the issuance of visas 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 should also be issued to international freight and passenger transport operators.

The amendments provide for the possibility of obtaining a visa also for persons entering Latvia to receive a residence permit, to whom the visa or residence permit ban does not apply.

The Ministry of Interior (MoI) said in the annotation to the amendments that they will affect employers’ possibilities to continue working with migrant workers from Russia and Belarus, except for cases specified in the legislation of the EU.

The Ministry of Internal Affairs provides that as a result of the changes, entrepreneurs will not have the opportunity to continue working with employees who are citizens of Russia or Belarus, as well as civil servants entered in the commercial register – citizens of Russia and Belarus – will not have the opportunity to continue to stay in Latvia, which complicates the activity of the businessmen concerned.

The regulation could contribute to the involvement of the inhabitants of Latvia in the labor market, since employers will not be able to continue working with citizens of Russia and Belarus.

This week, the ruling coalition agreed to change the principles by which ATUs issued so far are renewed in Latvia for citizens of Russia and Belarus.