Employment Agency: 700 refugees won't trouble the labor market

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If about 700 refugees arrive in Latvia, and they will be allowed to work here from day one, they won't cause problems in Latvia's labor market, the head of the State Employment Agency, Inese Kalvane, told BNS news agency on Wednesday.

She said that in the current situation employers are looking for hired hands, so 700 people cannot be considered such a large number of job seekers as to cause any problems and significantly change the situation in the job market.

"The question is about qualifications and language skills of these people. It is important to understand what these people are able to do and what employers need," Kalvane said.

"Immigrants always have language problems, it is important that they understand what employers want from them. We have no information about any of these aspects," she added.

The agency's head also noted that under the current legislation in Latvia, people who have not been granted the status of a refugee are not allowed to work, so the legislation should be amended accordingly.

European Commission President Jean Claude Juncker in his State of Union address to the European Parliament has proposed that the EU member states should accept 160,000 refugees via mandatory refugee quotas. Juncker also called on member states to ensure that the asylum seekers have rights to work in the member countries they have been relocated to from the first day.

Latvian officials have repeatedly said that they will not support mandatory refugee quotas.

The Latvian government agreed earlier to voluntarily accept 250 refugees, but, in line with the new Juncker's plan, Latvia might have to admit additional 500 refugees, though official figures have not been announced and estimates range from about 500 to 2,000 in the mass media.

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