RIGA - A British report released on Nov. 29 stated that Latvia's minority population, which comprises approximately one-third of the country's 2.3 million inhabitants, is much more likely to emigrate west.
"A minor discrimination of any character, be it ethnic, linguistic, racial or religious, may lead to higher rates of emigration in minority representatives 's and in certain cases the most skilled ones," the report's author, Tom Ivlevs, said.
The research was carried out by the Global Economic Policy Center at the University of Nottingham as a case study meant to provide an example of minority situations in Eastern Europe.
"To a large extent, the example of Latvia can be generalized to other A8 countries [those that joined the EU in 2004] where there are significant minority communities," Ivlevs said.
The report found that Latvia's minorities 's comprised mainly of Russians though there are Ukrainians, Belarusians, Armenians and Poles 's are more likely to emigrate west because of perceived discrimination. Ivlevs said that many native Russian speakers dislike the idea of being forced to learn Latvian and would rather move to the U.K. where they could learn English, gain work experience and earn more money.
Data collected during the research revealed that ethnic Russians in the 35 - 44 age group are twice as likely to move west to work. The data 's which was gathered during December of 2005 's found that about 10 percent of the population of Latvia is expected to emigrate west.
In the report, Ivlevs said that the large percentage of ethnic Russian emigrants is largely due to the failure of the Latvian integration programs.