About 19,000 Russian citizens living in Latvia have applied for a permanent residence permit or plan to do so.
Of the more than 25,300 Russian citizens living in Latvia, 13,000 people applied for a permanent residence permit. As of September 1, it is known that about six thousand more have applied for a second language test, which they must pass before the end of November. These are the data of the Office of Citizenship and Migration Affairs (OCMA).
So, for at least 19,000 Russians, nothing will change for at least the next few months.
The head of the PMLP Maira Rose said that next week the data will be clarified after the collection of information: “The legislator gave us a period of 10 working days to collect information, because there are still documents that need to be processed. They need to be entered into the information system, etc. “Those who applied for a temporary residence permit, we also consider the remaining ones. This means that there are already 20 thousand of them. I think next week we will be able to clarify that there are even more of them.”
This means that even those Russian citizens who have done nothing to obtain a residence permit will be able to continue their usual life with social guarantees until mid-September.
The PMLP then plans to send them a letter inviting them to leave Latvia within 90 days.
According to Rose, there may be about 4.5 thousand people.
“Those who have submitted documents and those who have applied for a second language test will keep everything. Those who have applied (documents) for a temporary residence permit will not keep (social guarantees, full medical care), because they lower the bar and they are subject to the conditions of a regular temporary residence permit. They have to take care of medicine, finances and everything else, but they can stay here, including until a decision is made,” Rosé explained.
This week, the Interior Ministry submitted to the Saeima a proposal to amend the Immigration Law, which would provide for two more years for Russian citizens living in Latvia, during which they would have to pass an exam in the Latvian language. Whether it will apply only to those Russian citizens who tried to pass the language test, but failed, or whether it will also affect those who have not done anything yet, is unknown.
State President Edgars Rinkevics is not satisfied with the current situation, saying on the air of Latvian television: “On the one hand, it is unacceptable that this law actually came into force from today, but it is clear that the mechanism for its implementation does not really exist.” or exists, then it is largely unacceptable. On the other hand, what signal will we send to those citizens of the Russian Federation who have obeyed the law, and there are a number of those who have not obeyed the law “We are now in an unequal situation. Therefore, I said that, however, I leave I reserve the right to evaluate it at the moment when the Saeima adopts the law.
The President pointed out that this would have been possible if the Seimas had not decided to apply the so-called great urgency, which in this case would not give the president the right to veto.
In connection with the change of government, it is not yet known when the responsible commission will consider changes to the Immigration Law. The deputies replied that this could happen next week as well.
In connection with the amendments to the Immigration Law, for those people who were previously citizens or non-citizens of Latvia, but have acquired Russian citizenship, the requirement for knowledge of the national language at a conversational level is mandatory. The Seimas decided to allow Russian citizens who did not pass the national language exam the first time to retake it before the end of November, while retaining their residence permit and extending the submission of documents until the end of the year.
Citizens of Russia from December 2 are threatened with deportation for failing a test in the Latvian language.
Meanwhile, four cases have already been filed in the Constitutional Court over the new requirements of the Immigration Law.
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