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Latvia: Immigration law amendments
26th May 2014
Latvian parliament adopted amendments to the Immigration Law in Latvia on May 8th, 2014. The amendments will come into force on September 1, 2014. Changes refer to the minimum thresholds of the property that qualifies for temporary residence permit.

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News: The system of granting residence permits based on making investments will continue after the accession to the Euro zone

Latvia intends to join Eurozone on 1st January 2014. According to the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the provisions for obtaining residence permit in Latvia through investments will remain in force after introducing Euro currency. The changes refer to the adjustments of calculated funds when the national currency (lat) will be replaced by euro. The system itself is not planned to be changed.

According to the planned amendments in the Immigration law, in order to obtain a temporary residence permit valid for up to five years, the foreigners – third country nationals - may purchase one or more real-estates. The investment volume depends of the location, namely if the real-estates are located in Riga planning region or in one of major cities, the investment funds should amount to 142 thousand euros in total. If the real estate is located in other area, the minimal investment in the amount of 71 thousand euros is sufficient. At this moment the law requires 100 thousand lats and 50 thousand lats respectfully that is equal to the stated funds in Euro currency.

It is also planned to specify and adjust calculations of cadastral value. The amendments provide that the cadastral value of purchased real estate should be at least 42 600 euros, if it is located in Riga or one of major cities, or 14 200 euros if it is located outside these areas.

After the introduction of the euro in Latvia, Latvian temporary residence permits will be eligible obtain also for those third-country nationals who have invested at least 35 500 euros in the share capital of the company. The company shall comply with the requirements as follows: the company employ not more than fifty employees, annual turnover or balance does not exceed EUR 10 million, and the paid taxes during one year achieves at least 28 450 euros. Temporary residence permits in exchange for made investments grant the third-country nationals with rights to reside in both - Latvia and EU. Such system was introduced on 2010 as an instrument to attract foreign funds in the Latvian economy.

The statistics shows, that within three year period the third-country nationals have invested about 320 million purchasing real estate, the residence permits have received approximately 3 700 persons mainly from Russia, Ukraine and Kazakhstan. Also number of foreigners comes from China and middle-East.

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