Residency permit plan under attack

  • 2013-08-21
  • From wire reports

RIGA - Nationalist alliance All for Latvia!-For Fatherland and Freedom/LNNK (VL-TB/LNNK) calls on its coalition partners to agree on when and how to put an end to granting residence permits in exchange for real estate purchases in the country, reports LETA. VL-TB/LNNK believes that putting an end to the sale of residence permits is an important priority and must be done by the current government, according to the party’s statement to the media. Therefore, the party urges Finance Minister Andris Vilks not to take into account income from the sale of residence permits when drafting the 2014 national budget.

VL-TB/LNNK also expects that its stance will be supported by coalition partners - Unity and the Reform Party, as well as Greens/Farmers. VL-TB/LNNK is ready to discuss when and how to implement these changes, but there can be no talk of keeping the current system, the party points out.

The system was introduced in Latvia in 2010, allowing foreign citizens to obtain residence permits in exchange for purchasing 100,000 lats’ (142,800 euros) worth of real estate in Riga and other large cities, or 50,000 lats’ worth of real estate in the regions. Already back then, VL-TB/LNNK objected to the system and proposed amendments to the Immigration Law to cease such practices. However, the party did not receive majority support from Saeima regarding the matter.

The party believes that the number of issued residence permits and real estate sold to foreigners is “dramatic” and Latvia cannot afford to continue like this.

The Interior Ministry puts the money received for the approximately 6,700 granted residency permits under the program at 420 million lats.