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More Russians could be required to pass Latvian language test

Several thousand more Russian citizens in Latvia could be required to pass a Latvian language exam. These are the persons who received a permanent residence permit in Latvia in 1992. The Saeima will begin to view the relevant amendments this week, Latvian Television reported.

The Constitutional Court ruled in February this year that one of the groups of Russian citizens living in Latvia had not been treated equally. They are persons who received permanent residence permits in Latvia in 1992 solely based on the fact they had declared their residence here. They will also have to pass the Latvian language examination.

Interior Minister Rihards Kozlovskis (New Unity) said that some of them were non-citizens of Latvia, some of them Latvian citizens who accepted Russian citizenship. The group also includes retired Russian military personnel and members of their families.

It is planned that this group will have a year to pass the test and two chances to take the exam. The competent authorities will also carry out an in-depth examination to assess whether a person poses a threat to national security.

“Even if a person knows the language or is not subject to exams but poses security risks, they may be subject to deportation,” the minister added.

The amendments could apply to about 4,800 individuals, but about half of them have turned 75, so they could be exempted from language testing. 

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