RIGA – 71 percent of surveyed Latvian non-citizens fully support the idea that Latvian citizenship should be automatically granted to children born to non-citizens, according to a survey conducted by SKDS pollster.
SKDS director Arnis Kaktins presented the survey results in a discussion “Termination of Assigning the Status of Non-citizen in the Republic of Latvia” held at the Riga City Castle.
Kaktins informed that 71 percent of non-citizens fully support the idea to automatically grant Latvian citizenship to children born to Latvian non-citizens, while 16 percent do not support the idea. At the same time, 48 percent of Latvian citizens support this year and every fifth citizen does not support it.
SKDS polled 1,000 respondents aged 18-74.
Interior Ministry’s parliamentary secretary Evika Silina informed about the citizenship and naturalization statistical data. She said that the number of non-citizens in Latvia has dropped by about 5 percent since 2010 to 11.4 percent of all residents in Latvia.
"In 1995 there were 731,000 non-citizens in Latvia, but this year their number has dropped to 242,000. There are 6,107 non-citizens at the age of up to 18," said Silina.
In 1999, 2.7 percent of newborns in Latvia were registered as non-citizens, and in 2016 this share has dropped to 0.25 percent. The data suggest that in families where one parent is a non-citizen, and the other is a citizen of another country, in 90 percent of cases the newborn is registered as non-citizen.
Speaking about naturalization process, the majority of people who get naturalized are 18-40 years old. „Non-citizens often do not get naturalized because they are afraid they will not be able to pass the language test. However, the main reason the are not applying for citizenship is attitude – they believe that citizenship should be granted to them automatically,” said Silina.
In her opinion, it is important to find out why people choose to keep the status of non-citizen. Among other reasons, it is attitude to the Latvian state, she said.