Coalition still considering refugee question

The Latvian government coalition parties this week will revise legislative proposals on relocation of refugees, Prime Minister Laimdota Straujuma's spokeswoman Aiva Rozenberga told BNS on August 22.

A meeting n the subject will be held on Tuesday.

The Latvian government at an extraordinary meeting in early July agreed that over two years Latvia would voluntary admit 250 refugees from Africa who need to be relocated within the EU.

Ministries and local governments now have to work together to develop an integration policy as none existed.

A workgroup has been formed at the prime minister’s behest and is headed by Interior Ministry state secretary Ilze Petersone-Godmane. The workgroup includes representatives from the Foreign, Culture, Welfare, Education and Science, Health, Environment Protection and Regional Development Ministries, as well as people classed as 'experts'.

The workgroup has been tasked with creating a system for 250   refugees ' integration in Latvia's society, their temporary accommodation and employment, as well as providing health care and other arrangements.

Meanwhile, refugees have more chance of finding jobs in Riga and other large cities, said the Welfare Ministry that is in charge of employment issues.

After arriving in Latvia, immigrants will be located in asylum seekers center Mucenieki, and will be allowed to move freely in Latvia after obtaining the refugee or alternative status.

"The Latvian labor market has regional peculiarities, therefore there will be bigger chances for these people to find a job in Riga or other large cities. This is one of the issues the workgroup is working on," said the ministry's representative Iveta Kancena in what appeared to be a statement of the obvious.

The State Employment Agency (NVA) said that immigrants may only register with NVA as unemployed or job seekers after they have been granted the refugee or alternative status. According to NVA, in June this year the agency registered five people with refugee status and three people with alternative status.

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