Latvia approves list for attracting specialist guest workers

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The Latvian Cabinet of Ministers on February 20 approved the list of professions where there is a shortage of labor force in Latvia and therefore highly skilled professionals from abroad could be invited to work in Latvia.

The list proposed by the Economics Ministry includes 237 professions in specific fields such as physics, chemistry, IT, financial analysis, construction, ship and aircraft navigation, etc.

Medical specialists were removed from the draft list following the talks with the Latvian medical organizations.

The Economics Ministry said that the list was created to correct the labor market mismatches in the short and medium term and to preclude restrictions on supply of highly-skilled labor in certain fields vital for economic growth, such as scientists and researchers. At the same time, the list has been designed to prevent employers from bringing to Latvia low-cost labor from third countries with the intention to lower the average wage in the specific sector.

The ministry has estimated that about 300 highly-skilled professionals from abroad could come work in Latvia based on this list.

The information and communications technology experts and scientists remained on the list despite the objections raised by the respective trade unions but Prime Minister Maris Kucinskis promised to monitor the situation and to make sure that the concerns voiced by the trade unions would not come true.

According to the Latvian Citizenship and Migration Office, the number of first-time residence permits for employment purposes issued to third country nationals in Latvia was 1,639 in 2015 and 1,736 in 2017. The total number of work permits issued to third country nationals increased to 6,007 in 2017, including 2,765 permits for work in ground transport and pipeline operations, 528 in software development and consulting, 310 in production of other means of transport, 265 in repair and installation of equipment and machinery, and 230 in the restaurant business.

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