Russians dominate Latvian residency permits

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A spokesperson for the Office of Citizenship and Migration Affairs (PMLP) confirmed Thursday that in the first six months of the year a total of 1,657 first-time Latvian residency permits were handed out to Russian citizens, making them the largest takers of Latvian residency of any other state. 


PMLP spokeswoman Undine Priekule told the LETA news agency the number of Russian citizens receiving residency permits from Latvia was on the rise.

In 2012 2,646 permits were handed out to Russians, while in 2013 the number had grown to 3,077, with 2014 set to at least match the figure.

Altogether 7,354 first-time residency permits were issued in 2013, while so far in the first half of this year 3,545 have been registered, more than half of them to citizens of Russia.

A total of 309 were issued to citizens of China, 290 to Ukrainian citizens and 166 to citizens of Uzbekistan.

The PMLP has received 1,298 applications for residency permits this year petitioning on the basis of monies invested into the domestic economy. This is an increase of 412 applications over the same time period last year. While the PMLP did note a flurry of applications in January and April, since then their number has fallen to a consistent 143 handled in July.

The figures are coming out as the Security Police (DP) released news Tuesday that several PMLP officials are under investigation for possibly committing graft in the residency permit extension-granting process. Details will be forthcoming, promised the DP.

In another release Wednesday the PMLP released figures on the total number of Russian citizens living in Latvia, as well as the population of ethnic-Russian citizens and non-citizens of Latvia currently on the books as residing within the national territory.

The figures show an increase of 18,545 persons with Russian citizenship from 2009 to January 1, 2014, when the total had risen to 48,873 persons, more than 5,000 of them arriving in just the previous year.

Meanwhile, the number of ethnic-Russian citizens of Latvia stood at 358,991 persons, a drop in number by 3,055. Also, the PMLP listed 185,741 ethnic-Russian non-citizens, or stateless persons residing in Latvia as of the beginning of 2014, a reduction by almost 10,000 persons from the previous year.

The decrease in these two Russian-speaking population groups in Latvia over the five-year period since 2009 totaled 8,671 fewer citizens and 50,167 fewer non-citizens here by the beginning of 2014.


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