Latvian parliament approves amendments to law that bans Russian citizens from getting Latvian work visas

The Latvian parliament has approved the amendments to its immigration law that bans Russian citizens from obtaining Latvian work visas or stay in the country while working remotely, Delfi news portal reports.

According to the updated law, Russians will no longer be able to get a Latvian work visa for the duration of up to a year if they have a work contract with a Latvian employer. They will also be unable to reside in Latvia if they work remotely for an employer registered in another member state of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) or if they a registered as a self-employed person in any of these states.

Residents of other third states, including residents of Belarus, will retain the right to get a work visa and to get a residence permit when their work visa expires.

The amendments include a number of exceptional cases when a Russian national can apply for a temporary residence permit. This includes marriage to a citizen or non-citizen of Latvia, participation in a research cooperation project, applying for an alternative status according to the asylum law, and others. (Non-citizen of Latvia is a former citizen of the USSR that lived in Latvia as of 1 July 1992 and had no citizenship of other states).

The Latvian Interior Ministry replied to a question by Delfi that asked what Russian citizens whose temporary or permanent residence permits in Latvia have expired should do. “In this case, they should go to the country of their citizenship where they have the right to reside.”

Latvian foreign minister Edgars Rinkēvičs stated on 21 September that Latvia would not issue humanitarian visas to Russian nationals evading mobilisation. He explained that this decision had been made for security reasons. Border restrictions for Russian nationals entering Latvia, as well as border restrictions for Russian citizens with Schengen visas, will remain in place, the minister added.

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