President slams brake on immigration law changes

President Raimonds Vējonis on Friday chose not to promulgate changes to the immigration law that would see Russian citizens–and others from non-EU countries–being asked to pay thousands of euros to renew their residency permits, the President's Chancery told the press.

The president found fault with the wording of the law on several counts and sent the law back to the parliament for review.

"The proposals upheld in the third reading caused numerous contradictions in the wording of the Immigration Law," the president said, referring to the changes that stipulate that, in order to renew their 5-year Latvian residence permits, non-residents from non-EU countries would have to pay a €5,000 fee per family member. 

The press service said that the president does not doubt the parliament's right to set additional demands for repeat residence permit applications, however he stressed the need to ensure a smooth transition to the new regulation. 

Previously a group of Russian citizens affected by the changes wrote to Vējonis arguing that they resettled in Latvia because of its freedoms, but now stand to be punished or possibly driven elsewhere if they cannot afford the new charges.

Rīga has become a magnet for members of the Russian intelligentsia, and particularly journalists working for independent Russian media such as Meduza and Spektr, both of which have earned the Kremlin's disfavor.

Politics
Politics