RIGA - President Valdis Zatlers has decided to promulgate amendments to the Immigration Law, announced the president’s Press Office on May 1, reports news agency LETA. On March 12, Zatlers returned amendments to the Immigration Law, which were initially passed on March 4, to the Saeima for a second review. In his letter to Saeima, Zatlers pointed to several potential risks that the amendments might pose to national security.
At the second review, on April 22, the Saeima significantly altered several conditions in the amendments, in accordance with Zatlers’ suggestions.
The Saeima decided that temporary residence permits could 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 of a Latvian company, and if the said company has paid no less than 20,000 lats into state and municipal budgets.
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 check how many people are actually employed by the company, and therefore taxes paid by the company would be 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 prolong the period for reviewing applications for temporary residence permits, so the authorities would have more time for examining applicants’ background. The Saeima also introduced a new provision calling for the Cabinet of Ministers to review implementation of the Immigration Law, its effect on the state and municipal budget and the economic development of Latvia, on an annual basis.
After these changes, the Security Police and the Constitutional Protection Bureau informed Zatlers that they approved of the latest version of the amendments.