Temporary residence bill resurfaces

  • 2010-04-28
  • From wire reports

RIGA - At the second review of the final reading of amendments to the Immigration Law, the amendments which President Valdis Zatlers returned to the parliament for revision, the Saeima on April 22 changed the conditions for receiving temporary residence permits, stipulating that such permits can be issued for up to five years to persons with investments of no less than 25,000 lats (35,700 euros) in the fixed capital a Latvian company, and if the said company has paid no less than 20,000 lats into state and municipal budgets, reports news agency LETA.

The provision originally stated that the amount of tax payments by a given company must be 10,000 lats, and that the company must employ no less than five people. Saeima deputies decided to change this provision, because it would be difficult to verify how many people are actually employed by the company, and therefore taxes paid by the company was made the most important criterion.

Five-year temporary residence permits will also be available to persons who buy property in Riga with a total transaction value of no less than 100,000 lats, or a property outside Riga where the total value of the transaction is no less than 50,000 lats. The provision previously accepted by the Saeima, but not promulgated by the president, had based the property value not on the value of the transaction, but on the property’s cadastral value.

The Saeima also decided to leave unchanged another section of the amendment which had not been accepted by the president, which foresees that five-year residence permits will also be available to persons who have invested, or made a deposit of no less than 200,000 lats into the subordinated capital of Latvian credit institutions.
A recent survey by social and media research agency TNS Latvia, in cooperation with the television company LNT, showed that 52 percent of Latvian citizens are in favor of a special and simplified residence permit procedure for foreigners who invest in the Latvian economy. Twenty three percent were fully in favor of the idea, while 29 percent were ‘rather in favor.’

At the same time, 31 percent did not support easing the conditions for allocating residence permits to foreigners. Meanwhile, about one in ten Latvians, or 11 percent of those surveyed, were neither for nor against the issue. The survey included 800 economically active Latvians between the ages of 18 and 55.