Free riders not interested in Latvia

  • 2011-02-16
  • From wire reports

RIGA -  Latvia will not become an attractive destination for immigrants, Interior Minister Linda Murniece’s (Unity) adviser, Hosam Abu Meri, said to daily Diena, reports news agency LETA. Meri explains that immigrants and refugees will not perceive Latvia as a preferable destination for two reasons - insufficient social guarantees and the economic crisis. Most of the asylum seekers who currently live in Latvia were originally headed to other European countries, says Meri.

However, Latvia must improve its human rights policy regarding refugees. “Several Iraqi and Pakistani refugees, who are already citizens now, have told me that they experienced various human rights-related issues here,” notes Meri.
Meri also points out that he is working from early morning until late at night so he can stay in Latvia, provide for his family and make his loan payments. The economic situation forces people to leave the country and there are no guarantees that they will ever come back. Therefore the government must work to attract more investment. If the government’s investment policy is different, and more investors from other countries besides the European Union are attracted here, there will be more jobs, says Meri.

He mentions that every month he receives at least one phone call from England offering him a job there that would earn him three times more money than in Latvia. However, he always refuses. “People must be patriots, and should not leave their country whenever they are offered more.”

Meri also points out that England is in need of a labor force, and invites people from the European Union and also from other countries. “There are many Somalis, Iraqis, African refugees. Countries with strong economies like England, France and Germany are attractive destinations to immigrants, that are able to integrate them into society, where they will be loyal to Europe,” says Meri.