"We know from theories that much fewer people come back than those who leave – about thirty percent. But there is no need to panic and exaggerate," said Lulle.
"When we worry about emigration, we tend to exaggerate how many people have left and been lost to Latvia. But people do come back, although this inflow is not being registered as there is free movement,” she said.
The data of the national statistics office about migration show that more than a half of people moving to Latvia for permanent residence here are Latvian citizens. This means that Latvians are returning to their native country, Lulle said.
She said there was a noticeable trend among the Latvians planning to return to Latvia – they want to return before their children are due to start going to school.
„They live abroad until the child turns five or six and then come back so that the child could start going to school in Latvia. It is the biggest worry of parents – what would happen if we sent the child to a school in Latvia at some later stage,” the expert said.
There are at least 300,000 Latvian citizens living outside Latvia, including the descendants of those Latvians who fled the country during World War II.
According to the Central Statistics Bureau, from 2000 to 2013, 259,000 people emigrated from Latvia and have not returned.