RIGA - Ukrainian residents who have started working in Latvia, from January 1, 2024, will have to attend Latvian language course, as decided by the Saeima defense, interior affairs and corruption prevention committee today.
The committee today discussed amendments to the bill on support to Ukrainian residents for the second reading, providing for primary support to Ukrainian refugees by next summer.
The committee lawmakers held a debate on the Culture Ministry's proposal on mandatory Latvian language courses to Ukrainian residents who work in Latvia starting from January 1, 2024. At present, there is no such requirement for Ukrainian refugees.
MP Ugis Rotbergs (New Unity) said that "the official language should not be made bugbear". He noted that Ukrainians who plan to stay in Latvia will definitely have to learn the language, while those who are here for some six months of so, it is not necessary,
Rotbergs said that the war will end at some point and Ukrainian residents in Latvia will not be refugees any more in a long term. Therefore the requirement for the language skills should be introduced, but he proposed to discuss this issue in spring.
Edmunds Zivtins (Latvia First) said that these amendments will not pressure anything, but will make it easier for them to work in Latvia. He proposed that these amendments should take effect already on January 1, 2023.
Aleksejs Roslikovs (Stability) said that it is important to ensure responsible use of budget resources, therefore, if funding is earmarked for organization of Latvian language courses, the Ukrainians should have to duty to attend them.
The committee lawmakers today also supported for the second or final reading amendments to the bill on support to Ukrainian refugees.
Currently the bill provides that support to Ukrainian refugees in Latvia is supported until December 31, 2022. According to the amendments, the primary support to Ukrainian nationals will be provided until June 30, 2023.