RIGA - In response to Russia's invasion of Ukraine, several Saeima members from the National Alliance are calling for revocation of Latvia's residence permits for a large number of Russian citizens residing in Latvia in three months if these Russian nationals do not meet the applicable conditions.
The amendments to the Immigration Law have been submitted by National Alliance MPs Janis Dombrava, Rihards Kols, Edvins Snore, Janis Iesalnieks and Raivis Dzintars.
The amendments also propose suspending issuing of residence permits to Russian citizens indefinitely.
As to the revocation of residence permits, the bill provides for exceptional cases where permits will not revoked, for instance, the MPs propose that permits issued to full-time students at accredited educational institutions, universities or colleges in Latvia will not be revoked, as well as residence permits issued to exchange students.
In these cases, a student will be allowed to complete his/her education or, in the case of exchange students, the relevant exchange program. Residence permits for such students would be revoked three months after the end of their studies or exchange program.
The bill will also not apply to Russian citizens who work as senior officials at companies registered with the Commercial Register, if they have received residence permits for up to five years.
The other exceptions concern senior specialists at companies, Russian citizens who have received residence permits to receive treatment in Latvian healthcare facilities, and other cases that concern serious personal reasons, national interests of Latvia, or humanitarian reasons.
In these exceptional cases, validity of a residence permit will be assessed of the Office for Citizenship and Migration Affairs that, after a comprehensive assessment of each specific situation, will also make a decision on revocation of the residence permit.
In the bill's preamble, National Alliance emphasizes that the Russian invasion, which is also supported by Belarus, has led to a war where civilians are killed and civilian and military infrastructure of Ukraine is destroyed.
Latvia has a relatively large number of Russian citizens who live here on the basis of residence permits, and there is a possibility that these Russian nationals may actively support Russia's activities, thus possibly posing threat to Latvia's national security, deputies explain.
Therefore the National Alliance MPs are demanding that residence permits issued to Russian nationals be revoked, except in cases listed above, and that issuance of new residence permits to Russian citizens be suspended.
According to Ukrainian Health Minister Viktor Lashko, more than 350 civilians have been killed, including 16 children, and more than 2,000 civilians have been injured in attacks by Russian troops in Ukraine.