Around 25,000 Russian citizens who are subjected to the requirement to pass the Latvian language test could lose their permanent residence permit in September but due to additional proposals being submitted, there is no clear plan on what awaits the Russian citizens.
According to local media, more than half of almost 25,000 Russian nationals who were subjected to the language requirement have also applied for permanent residence permits and another 6,000 are still going through their language exams.
“Starting this week, citizens of the Russian Federation are starting to take repeated state language checks. These are those people who failed the first time. We also have citizens of the Russian Federation who only now apply for the first time for the verification of state language skills,” the State Education Content Center representative Liene Bērziņa, said for the media.
On the other hand, some 800 people have opted for temporary residence permits to stay in Latvia, indicating that several thousand Russians in Latvia are currently losing the legal basis for continuing their stay in the country.
According to Maira Roze, the Head of the Office for Citizenship and Migration Affairs, the order is to inform this category that the law has stated that their residence permit has expired and that they have to travel away in 90 days.
“If they haven’t done it, then it will complicate life for them. They will no longer be able to legally cross the border without problems if they want it. They can’t go anywhere,” she reminded Russian citizens about the consequences of overstaying in the Schengen zone.
If PMLP is aware of anyone overstaying or staying illegally in the zone for 90 days, that individual would be sent a letter asking for their immediate departure.
However, possible changes to the law can be made, which would provide a two-year additional time to learn the language and pass the exam while receiving a temporary residence permit. These changes have not been yet carefully considered and also, the Latvia government is changing.
On Monday, September 4, the amendments to the law were also discussed at the meeting of the departing government and it was agreed conceptually to move the matter further. On the following days, the matter is planned to be included on the agenda of the Saeima Defense, Internal Affairs and Corruption Prevention Commission.
The Central Statistical Bureau of Latvia revealed that in 2020, Russian Latvians were the largest minority living in the country, accounting for 25.4 per cent of the population.