Latvia Orders Russian Citizens to Leave

Written by Camilla Jessen

Apr.12 - 2024 9:44 AM CET

Photo: Ruslan Lytvyn / Shutterstock
Photo: Ruslan Lytvyn / Shutterstock
As of today, the Latvian Citizenship and Migration Board has ordered 27 Russian citizens to leave the Baltic country.

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Latvia's Citizenship and Migration Board (PMLP) has issued orders for 27 Russian citizens to leave the country, according to statements made by the Minister of Internal Affairs, Rihard Kozlovskis, and reported by LSM.

These actions are part of ongoing enforcement of recent amendments to Latvia's Immigration Law, which have tightened residency requirements.

Background of the Deportation Orders

The Minister of Internal Affairs clarified that physical forced deportation has not yet been employed.

Instead, these individuals were asked to leave following inspections and verifications that revealed their non-compliance with the new legal standards.

Approximately 500 Russian citizens have already departed Latvia voluntarily after failing to meet the updated requirements of the Immigration Law and not submitting the necessary documents to obtain a residence permit.

"The State Border Guard inspected the declared places of residence, and no persons were found in most of them," Kozlovskis noted, indicating a possible mass departure prior to official enforcement actions.

Details on the Legal Amendments

The amendments, adopted in 2022, specifically target the residency status of individuals who became citizens of Russia after 2003 following their status as former (non-)citizens of Latvia.

These changes, effective from September 2, 2023, require affected individuals to reapply for EU permanent resident status in Latvia by presenting several documents, including proof of A2 level proficiency in the Latvian language.

As of January 3, the permanent residence permits of those who did not apply for the new EU resident status by the December 31, 2023 deadline have expired.

This has led to increased scrutiny and the eventual expulsion of non-compliant individuals.

Broader Context

This development is part of a broader trend where Latvia, like several other EU countries, is tightening immigration controls and residency requirements, particularly for citizens from Russia amid ongoing geopolitical tensions.

In September, despite passing required language tests, Latvia denied residency to 80 Russian citizens.

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