RIGA - At least 1,167 Russian citizens who have failed to comply with the provisions of the immigration law and have not submitted requests for residence permits, will be evicted from Latvia, LETA was told at the Office of Citizenship and Migration Affairs (PMLP).
By the end of last year, PMLP had information about at least 1,213 Russian citizens who have not met the requirements of the Immigration Law and submitted the documents for residence permits. According to the latest information, 46 persons are not in the Latvian territory any more.
Information gathered by the end of December showed that about half of those to be evicted were men and the same number were women. The age breakdown showed that 789 persons over 60 years of age would be subject to expulsion.
Of the persons who had delayed harmonizing their residence status in Latvia, 1,344 had submitted documents to apply for a residence permit by November 30.
The final number of persons who will have to leave Latvia due to non-compliance with the law is yet to be compiled, as on January 3 the permanent residence permits of those Russian citizens subject to the amendments to the Immigration Law who had not applied for the status of permanent resident of the European Union by December 31, 2023, expired.
If the national language test was not successfully passed, the applicant had until December 31, 2023 to apply for a permit that would allow a two-year stay in Latvia, so that the provision of social and health care services would not be interrupted and so that further stay in Latvia would not become illegal.
The permanent residence permit also expires on January 3, if the Russian citizen had applied for another type of residence permit. In this case, the person will be able to continue staying in Latvia until a final decision on the residence permit is taken, but it should be noted that the expired residence permit card will not be usable for travel and may make it more difficult to receive social and healthcare services.
Russian citizens who have valid reasons for not passing the Latvian language test can submit their documents for a residence permit until March 31, 2024. The residence permit will be granted for two years. Justifiable reasons may be considered to be serious health-related reasons or other reasons beyond the person's control.
The process of deporting Russian citizens living in Latvia who have not submitted documents to apply for a residence permit will be very complicated and cumbersome, Maira Roze, the head of the PMLP, told the Parliamentary Commission on Citizenship, Migration and Community Cohesion on December 6 last year.
Explaining the expulsion process to LETA, the administration said that, first of all, persons must provide an explanation of the reasons for non-departure, as well as the planned date of departure. The administration assesses the explanation and, if there is a legitimate reason to still issue the residence permit and a justified reason for not doing so in time, it still allows the submission of documents to apply for a residence permit.
In other cases, the persons are issued with a departure order with a 30-day departure period.
At the last minute, before the rules came into force, politicians decided to amend the Immigration Law, which gives Russian citizens living in Latvia two more years to pass a Latvian language test in order to continue to reside legally in Latvia. Despite these changes, from September Russian citizens living in Latvia had to pass at least a temporary residence permit.