Over 1,200 Russians might have to be expelled from Latvia

At least 1,213 Russian citizens who have not complied with the requirements of amendments to the Immigration Law and submitted documents for requesting a residence permit for living in the country will be expelled from Latvia, the Office of Citizenship and Migration Affairs (PMLP) told LETA on December 27.

Due to amendments to the Immigration Law, for people who have previously been Latvian citizens or non-citizens (nepilsoņi) but have accepted Russian citizenship, the requirement for knowledge of the official language at the conversational level (A2) is mandatory. The Saeima decided to allow Russian citizens who fail to pass the official language test the first time around to retake it until the end of November, in the meantime maintaining their residence permit and extending the submission of documents until the end of the year.

The law stipulated that permanent residence permits issued to Russian citizens expired on September 1 of this year. If an application to get a permanent residence permit, along with a passed Latvian language examination, or an application for a temporary residence permit has not been received, Russian citizens have to leave the territory of the Republic of Latvia by December 2, 2023.

The 1,213 persons have not submitted documents for requesting any residence permit in Latvia by the deadline set in the amendments to the Law – November 30, and there is no information available that these people have already left the country.

Of the approximately 3,500 persons who delayed arranging their residence status in Latvia,1,344 had submitted documents for requesting a residence permit by November 30. The information collected so far shows that another 904 persons have crossed Latvia's external border and left the country, the Office reports.

The final number of people who will have to leave Latvia due to non-compliance with the requirements of the Law will still be compiled, because on January 3 2024 permanent residence permits for those Russian citizens who are subject to amendments to the Immigration Law and who have not submitted an application for the status of long-term resident of the European Union until December 31 2023 will expire.

This deadline for the submission of documents applies only to persons who had retaken the official language test by November 30, the PMLP points out.

Those Russian citizens who have justified reasons not to take the Latvian language test may submit documents for the residence permit until March 31 2024. Permission to stay in Latvia will be granted for two years. Serious health issues or other reasons independent of the will and conduct of the person may be considered exculpatory reasons.

The process of expelling Russian citizens who have not submitted documents requesting a residence permit, who live in Latvia, will be "very difficult and tough", said Maira Roze, head of the PMLP, at the Saeima Citizenship, Migration and Social Cohesion Commission on December 6.


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