Coalition compromises on refugee benefits

Refugees and needy people will continue to receive some benefits after landing a job under a compromise solution by the ruling coalition, reported Latvian Radio Monday.

The Social Services and Assistance law, as well as the Asylum law will be amended to provide benefits for both refugees and permanent residents.

Under current law, legally recognized refugees are entitled to the allowance only if they do not have other means of subsistence. 

The benefit in question is the guaranteed income minimum. Previously the National Alliance objected to the amendments that did not provide for benefits to permanent residents in need. 

"From time to time we're chided that asylum seekers are leaving Latvia. Now we've finished the job and it means an equal offer to everyone. Latvia, on its side, has done everything it can," said PM Māris Kučinskis.

The new amendments also seek to address the refugees' problems in paying rent deposits by allowing to withdraw the benefit for the 12th month right after a person has been recognized as a refugee. This will mean refugees will have more money initially but the total support will remain unchanged.

As reported previously, all 23 individuals granted full asylum so far have promptly packed their bags and left.

Latvia has admitted at least 109 people under the EU-wide refugee relocation and resettlement scheme. 

Further details about the asylum process in Latvia can be read at this handy FAQ page produced by Latvia's citizenship and migration office.

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