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Amendments to Immigration Law

On March 2 March, 2017, amendments to the Immigration Law entered into force; and these changes apply to foreigners requesting a residence permit in the Republic of Latvia. The new legal framework from now on facilitates entry immigration conditions for highly qualified specialists and the people employed in professions with significant lack of workforce.

For example, since March 2, the document examination time for persons requesting the Blue Card of the European Union (EU) or temporary residence permit may be reduced to 10 working days. Furthermore in addition the card may be granted in cases if the persons have not obtained the respective higher education, but have experience of at least five years in the respective area.

Amendments provide that the foreigner may request the temporary residence permit for up to three years if planning to perform activities in Latvia with the goal to create or develop an innovative product. These additions to the law are linked to the Start-up Operation Support adopted by the Parliament.

The new amendments to the Immigration Law cancel the requirement for the persons of Latvian origin and wishing to receive the permanent residence permit to prove that they are moving to Latvia. This provision has been proposed because often such foreigners already reside in Latvia, for example, on the basis of temporary residence permit.

Even though generally amendments provide several incentives, regarding representatives of foreign merchant representations by determining more stringent additional requirements for them to receive residence permit. From now on a foreign company abroad will have to be registered for at least five years, employ at least 50 workers, and its annual turnover will have to exceed 10 million euro in order to receive such residence permit. This provision has been included in order to ensure the entry of only prospective companies and cooperation forms in the Latvian market.

The law office “Rasa & Ešenvalds” has been working with residence permit matters already for several years. We believe that the new amendments to the Immigration Law will create a favourable situation for many foreigners, including persons of Latvian origin who wish to work in Latvia, as well as to others who require a temporary residence permit for development of an innovative product in Latvia.

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