MPs blast re-immigration plan

The Saeima Human Rights and Public Affairs Committee criticized the Economics Ministry (EM) 2013-2016 re-immigration plan, saying the plan is too fragmented as it involves too many institutions. Furthermore, the plan was criticized as the plan's managers could not show results over how many people have returned to Latvia within the plan, reported Latvian Radio Wednesday.

Under the plan, Latvia would invite emigrants to return in eight separate ways. However many of them weren't implemented at all, like the plan to set up a one-stop re-immigration agency where people could learn all they need to know about returning ot Latvia.

Likewise the plan to amend the Repatriation law so that more people could apply for repatriation benefits fell through due to lack of funding. 

EM representative Oļegs Barānovs told the committee that the main factor that would invite people to return would be economic growth, citing Estonia as a positive example in this regard as the average wage in Estonia is €1065 and it's close to the minimum wage in Ireland, a popular emigrant destination.

According to EM estimates, Latvia's net migration rate could become positive only around 2020.

Numerous re-emigration initiatives weren't carried out due to lack of money. For example, 

MP Artuss Kaimiņš said that the €1.5m spent on the plan had gone to "maintaining the bureaucratic apparatus", while MP Augusts Brigmanis criticized the fact that the authors of the plan couldn't produce statistics on how many people have returned within the plan.

The head of the committee Inese Laizāne said that the plan should be coordinated by a single institution, like the Inter-Ministerial Coordination Center. 

Despite the hurdles, parliamentarians said that a re-immigration plan should be worked out for the next years as well. Laizāne was confident the new plan would be better.

"[..] it's very clear what should be worked into the new plan," said Laizāne.

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