Saeima passes amendments to Immigration Law | Riga Real Estate Invest Consult Renovate

Saeima passes amendments to Immigration Law

Most of the amendments were endorsed by Saeima on April 21, however, president Raimonds Vejonis returned the bill to the parliament at the end of April, indicating that some of the proposed amendments were too lax and not properly harmonized with other laws and regulations. Today, Saeima passed an improved version of the amendments.

According to the amendments, prolonging temporary residence permits will cost EUR 5,000, payable into the state budget, for those third-country citizens who were issued their permits for investing in Latvia. This will not apply to some categories of investors, for instance, those who invest in state-owned companies, investors who have bought real estate in Latvia before the 2014 amendments, and others.

Another provision gives the Cabinet of Ministers the right to assess the effect of temporary residence permits on the national security or economic development of Latvia, and impose restrictions on issuing such permits for up to five years. The restrictions may apply to all third-country citizens as well as to citizens of one specific third country.

The Cabinet will only use this right in order to avert risks related to national security, unity of society, increasing rates of organized crime and others.

The amendments also describe the minimum values of real estate across Latvia and investment amounts that entitle a third-country citizen, buying property or investing in a company in Latvia, for a temporary residence permit.

The amendments specify the role of the Defense Intelligence and Security Service in restricting or banning a third-country citizen from traveling into or residing in Latvia.

A third-country national may be stripped of his or her residence permit if the person's tax debts exceed EUR 150.

Saeima also supported proposals concerning third-country citizens' payments for temporary residence permits, agreeing that these funds would primarily be spent on the Economic Development Program's administration.

Present law stipulates that a temporary residence permit the foreigner will be able to claim if the he will be bought one of the real estate with value which is not less than 250 000 euros.

However the current wording of the Law is supplemented as well.  The law contributes that the foreigner will be available to get a temporary residence permit  if he will be bought  two real estate properties (except when the property is vacant land), outside the Riga, Jurmala, Adazu, Baldone, Carnikava, Garkalne, Ikšķile, Ķekava, Mārupe, Olaine, Ropazu, Salaspils, Saulkrasti or Stopiņi and each of them will be functionally related real estate, with a total value of at least 250 000 euros. 

The amendments will come into force on July 1, 2016.
Ainârs Leijçjs
LETA