Oct. 15, 2015

  • Diena reports on a shortage of Arabic language interpreters in Latvia
  • MPsvisited the Latvian Islamic Cultural Centre

Diena reports on a shortage of Arabic language interpreters who could work with asylum seekers in Latvia.  According to the head of the Arabic Cultural Centre Hosams Abu Meri, very few Arabic language specialists are able to translate complicated official documents. The results of the job announcement of the Office of Citizenship and Migration Affairs for the post of interviewers of asylum seekers (which require proficiency in Arabic), also demonstrated the lack of Arabic language specialists – only couple of applicants out of 38 have studied Arabic language.

Yesterday, members of the Saeima’s Citizenship, Migration and Society Consolidation Committee visited the Latvian Islamic Cultural Centre. Regarding the expected accommodation of asylum seekers in Latvia, the Centre’s representatives said that the government should listen to the needs of Muslims and potential problems they might face. The centre also asserts that it tries to avoid politics and any signs of radicalization. Neatkariga

Oct. 14, 2015

  • State Language Centre (SLC) decided to announce repeated call for public assistants

Latvijas Avize reports that the State Language Centre (SLC) decided to announce repeated call for public assistants due to low number of applications. The requirements for the applicants also have become lower. Thus, the applicants are not required anymore to have master’s degree in philology or humanities, but only to have university degree. According to the Ministry of Justice, it was planned to attract 100 public assistants half of whom would start work this year. However, the SLC has received only 4 applications so far. As reported, it is planned that the public assistants on a voluntary basis will control the correct usage of the state language in labelling of goods and in different public information areas, as well as, will provide assistance and advice for prevention of possible violations of the State Language Law. 

Oct. 13, 2015

  • Neatkariga interviews the representatives of the Islamic Cultural Centre in Latvia
  • National Union elaborated a plan addressing migration crisis and proposes to set up a special parliamentary committee

Neatkariga interviews the head of the Islamic Cultural Centre in Latvia Abu Umar Hamza Janis Lucins and its press secretary Ahmed Roberts Klimovics. According to them, it is wrong to associate all refugees with Muslims as only those Muslims who practice Islam on a regular basis are the real Muslims. Regarding integration of Muslims, Mr Lucins says that it does not mean to refuse one’s religion, but it means to obey the local legal regulations.

In order to discuss issues concerning immigration policy, asylum seekers and refugees, the National Union (NU) proposed to establish a special parliamentary committee. Such proposal comes out of a plan addressing migration crisis elaborated by the NU.  The plan includes 22 proposals on how to solve the crisis not only in Latvia, but also in the EU. For instance, Neatkariga mentions, the plan says that in order to avoid increase of Russian speaking community in Latvia, when choosing asylum seekers to be accommodated in Latvia, Russian language proficiency of potential asylum seekers should not be considered as an advantage. The advantage should be given to those proficient in one of the EU official languages. The NU proposes to set that refugees have the right to receive any benefits in Latvia no longer than a year. It also proposes to define that when the situation in refugee’s home country improves he/she should return back home. Neatkariga 

Oct. 9, 2015

  • Riga City Council establishes refugee coordination centre 

Riga City Council establishes a coordination centre for the work with refugees, linking various municipal structures. Social services and municipal police will be given special attention. At the moment, Riga could offer refugees the work of cleaning the parks and cemeteries. It is planned that the municipality will be prepared by April 2016. 

Oct. 8, 2015

  • The number of residence permit applications from foreign investors decreased substantially 

Neatkariga comments that the political party National Union achieved its goal of reducing the number of residence permits to foreigners. The number of applications for temporary residence permits (227) submitted by foreign investors during the first six months of 2015 is significantly lower than during the same period during previous years (16,3 thousand in total during the first six months of 2010-2014). As of 1 July 2015, there were 13,8 thousand valid temporary residence permits in Latvia issued to foreign investors and their family members. In total, the state budget received EUR 4,6 million for various services and duties paid in connection with consideration and issuance of residence permits to foreign investors. Amendments to the Immigration Law, which entered into force last year, increased from EUR 50,000 to EUR 250,000 the lower threshold of the real estate price required for eligibility for residence permit on the basis of investment in Latvia.

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