Latvian President refuses to accept amendment to immigration law
Latvian President Raimonds Vējonis has not approved amendments to the immigration law, and has returned them to Parliament for reconsideration. These amendments were adopted on April 21st 2016, and should come into force from July 1st 2016.
The reason for refusal was shortcomings, which according to the President, proved to be so considerable that it was impossible to allow a law to enter into force in such a way. According to Vējonis, there are at least seven points that Parliament needs to correct.
One of the most controversial points is the requirement to pay €5000 for the extension of the residence permit (which lasts for five years). This has caused public outcry, because Latvian legislators have extended this requirement to residents who received their permit before the law was put into place.
In addition, Parliament has raised several new ideas:
- Cabinet Ministers are given the authority to suspend the issuance of a residence permit if they perceive a threat to national or economic security, or if the number of citizens from one country is seen to be ‘in excess’.
- Foreigners are given the opportunity to obtain a residence permit by buying two properties totalling €250,000 (previously it was only one property for the same amount). However, this property must be purchased from outside of the country.
- The issued residence permit may be revoked if tax debts exceed €
It is unknown which of these and the other proposed legislative changes will remain in the final version of the law.
According to the Office of Citizenship and Migration of Latvia, the investment programme has so far received more than 17,000 applications, with Russians making up the majority of them.