Only half of Russians have applied for compulsory Latvian language test

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Registering for the mandatory Latvian proficiency test has closed. According to prior estimates, the test is due for approximately 18,000 Russian citizens living in Latvia. Otherwise, they will lose their permanent residence permit in September. 7,500 applications have been received so far, but the total data will still be collected next week, Latvian Television reported.

On Friday, March 24, the National Educational Content Centre (VISC) had a large flow of customers, as it was the final day to apply for the language test.

“I knew it was the last day I could apply, but my granddaughter was already trying to register, but it came out that without an electronic signature it didn't count. So I had to get out of work and come here to sign in. I know how to read, for example, but I don't know how to correctly speak.  I'm trying,” Erika said.

“I've grown up here. But I don't know what the questions will be, so I'm worried. As if I remember something, but I can forget during the exam. I've had a lot of years past me,” Galina said.

“I hope to pass it, but the probability that I'll do it is small. I have no talent for foreign languages,” Vitaly said.

The requirement to certify the knowledge of the Latvian language at the basic level of A2 must be fulfilled by those people who were Latvian citizens or non-citizens before becoming a Russian citizen. The National Educational Content Center said that by the evening of March 23, applications were received from 7,500 people. This is less than half of all who have to pass the exam.

There are even people who call and say they don't plan to learn the language. But a lot of people rushed to register on the last day and there were mail applications that would certainly improve the overall figure.

"We will be able to say a provisional total number, most likely by the end of next week, "said Liene Voroņenko, head of the National Educational Content Center.

It is intended that the exams will start on April 11, and the schedule is designed so that everyone who wanted to do so can pass the exam by September 1.

In mid-February, Interior Minister Māris Kučinskis (United List) recommended that the specific date – September 1 – be waived, allowing language exams to be passed gradually. The National Alliance objected to this. Kučīnskis altered the offer, stating that those who don't pass should get a second try. Kučinskis' proposal will be evaluated at the Saeima next week.

Language proficiency tests will take place in three Latvian cities – Rīga, Daugavpils, and Liepāja.

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