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President returns changes to residence permit law to parliament

By Anatol Steven. 13.11.2013

President Andris Bērziņš
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President returns changes to residence permit law to parliament

President Andris Bērziņš returned amendments to the Latvian Parliament for reconsideration this week, arguing he saw no reason for them to be passed.

The changes, called On Amendments to the Immigration Law, intended to introduce several changes to the current regulations on the issuance of residence permits, the most important of which was to set quotas for permits acquired via the acquisition of real estate.

Other proposed changes included the law setting a higher value on the real estate to be purchased to qualify for a residence permit and a requirement for foreigners to make a certain contribution to the Economic Development Fund.

In addition, the amendments stated that residence permits should be given if foreigners acquired interest-bearing government securities issued specifically for such a purpose.

The president said that the amendments did not meet the intended objectives, one of which was the overall decline of real estate prices.

He also argued that the annotation of the law was contrary to several studies that have assessed the impact of foreign investments on the Latvian economy. According to these studies, the Immigration Law has had a positive impact on the inflow of investments in Latvia.

Foreign investments associated with obtaining temporary residence permits have reached LVL 145 million (€207 million) over the period from 2010 to 2013.

According to Latvia’s constitution, the parliament will now transfer the president’s opposition to the relevant committees without conducting further parliamentary debates. The parliament will also decide on a deadline for the amendments to be examined. These reviewed amendments can now be passed in only one – third and final – reading.

[pictured: President Andris Bērziņš gives a speech at the Latvian Parliament]


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