An ambush for the government over Latvian Immigration Law
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On September 27, newspapers reported that the Latvian government had committed to making a decision on quotas for acquiring residence permits through real estate. This discussion about a possible change of the immigration law in Latvia started after the national party with members of the Visu Latvijai! (All for Latvia) and Tēvzemei un brīvībai/LNNK (For the Fatherland and Freedom/LLNK). These parties had expressed strong protest against the perceived immigrant situation in Latvia. The National Party picked the perfect time to raise the issue, right before the next vote on approving the budget, so the other parties and the Latvian people had to get involved in the discussion and make sure there couldn't be a solution to the problem avoided.
No government shutdown for the Latvians Although the government did not support what the national party wanted, its opposition had to take second place to higher-level budget changes. The issue of residence permits through investment in real estate was a trivial issue in the context of the government agenda and there seemed to be no compromise, however, almost everyone in the Latvian government had similar ideas regarding the possibility of introducing additional requirements for residence permits in the form of required ones Investments to support Latvian families included in the Immigration Law.
As mentioned earlier, the national party wanted to change the law to stop immigration to Latvia of people obtaining residence permits through real estate before 2014 and instead focus on supporting Latvian families and looking after new mothers. The leading Vienotība (Unity) party disagreed with the national party's plan to halt the residency program, but instead proposed doubling the investment amount required for the real estate program, introducing a quota system and introducing a special donation fund scheme in addition. For the sake of completeness, Reformu Partija (Party of Reforms), another party involved in the discussions, has proposed to end the real estate residency permit scheme altogether, but to do so in the longer term so that businesses and real estate companies can prepare for the changes and would therefore respect the not feel the sudden loss of customers and investments. They suggested 2015, but that was flexible.
Not just about politics On September 30, Latvian pop philosopher Māris Zanders said: "Residence permits are not only a problem for politicians". By this he meant that all these discussions were pointless and that such a real estate residency program in the Latvian immigration law brought with it the real possibility of creating a new real estate bubble, which in the history of Latvia has proved dangerous - for the country, for Locals and even for the immigrants. It is difficult to predict events, but even the thought of a possible bubble brings back very difficult memories for most Latvians.
Zanders went on to note that during the post-2008 Great Depression, far more people left Latvia than came - removing any concerns about overpopulation or overcrowding. Furthermore, most of these immigrants actually create jobs - they don't take jobs away from Latvians and instead contribute to the local economy. A more serious question is whether Latvia will be a producing and exporting nation on a global scale, or just a consumer.