Minister predicts net migration to reach balance within three years

Economics Minister Arvils Ašeradens highly praises the recently launched regional re-migration initiative, and says net migration will approach zero within the next three years.

In 2016, Latvia's net migration rate was -12,229, according to the country's statistics office. It was -10,640 the year before that. 

Nevertheless, Ašeradens remains highly optimistic that this will change, because wages are growing in Latvia.

"I think we'll soon see that the average wage will be about €1,000 in Latvia," he said.

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"It's important, as it's sort of a psychological barrier to people who have emigrated and who often work low-qualified jobs in Ireland, the United Kingdom or Germany," he said. 

"It would be better if €1,000 were the net wage, but we're approaching that corridor, and it will become a possibility within the next three years," he ventured to suggest.

Ašeradens thinks increasing wages will encourage re-migration, seeing as many people have friends and relatives here. He also offered praise for the aforementioned re-migration initiative that has set up 'agents' in Latvia's regions helping people deal with the practical necessities of re-migration. 

"I think it's very good to set up a network of agents who help these people on a strictly practical level," Ašeradens said, suggesting the agents can help Latvians abroad find work, a place to stay, education for their children, and to deal with other everyday things. 

"There's a million of tiny details where we should help people," Ašeradens said. 

Ašeradens also predicted that within the next three years there'll be a balance between the people who leave and the people who return, i.e., the net migration rate will approach zero. 

The monthly minimum wage for the year 2018 is €1,400 before tax in the UK, €1,613 in Ireland, and €1,498 in Germany, according to Eurostat.

It's €430 in Latvia. 

As reported, a pilot project by the Environment Ministry seeks to address 500 Latvians living abroad this year, encouraging them to return. The European Latvian Association has estimated 20 to 30% of Latvians living abroad want to come back to the country. 

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