RIGA - The Cabinet of Ministers at a meeting on Tuesday approved draft amendments to the Immigration Law to allow citizens of third countries to apply for a one-year visa so they can reside in Latvia while working from home either for a foreign-registered employer or as self-employed persons.
According to the Immigration Law, a citizen of a third country is a foreigner from any country, except a member state of the European Union member or the European Economic Area, as well as Switzerland.
As other countries' practice has shown, the nomad visa solution will promote immigration of highly qualified professionals, which in turn will promote business activity and economic growth. The solution might also facilitate tourism and increase demand for tourism services in Latvia.
Research suggests that countries with more open immigration policies have higher gross domestic product (GDP), lower unemployment and government expenditure and a better educated labor force, said Interior Minister Marija Golubeva (Development/For).
"Countries that have introduced such a regulation indicate that the solution promotes immigration of highly skilled labor. Latvia is a safe countries in the European Union (EU), with beautiful nature and relatively low living costs. From here, it is easy to travel to any other country in Europe. The digital nomad visas would enable Latvia to attract highly skilled labor force, primarily in the IT sector," the interior minister said.
The nomad visas are expected to encourage remotely working Latvians currently residing in foreign countries to return to their native country and to create conditions for their spouses to also move to Latvia while working legally from home.
To obtain a nomad visa, foreigners will have to prove that they have been employed by a foreign-registered employer for at least the past six months and that they earn no less than 2.5 average monthly wages. The nomad visa holders will not be permitted to work for a Latvian-registered employer or seek social assistance in Latvia.
Once the nomad visa expires, its holder will be able to apply for its extension for one more year.
The nomad visa regulation has yet to be approved by the Saeima.