State Revenue Service (SRS) has registered a total of 2,784 European Union (excluding Latvia) citizens and 1,744 other countries’ residents as tax payers. Since 2011, the number of such workers has increased in Latvia, SRS spokeswoman Evita Teice-Mamaja informed LETA.
Unlike the European Union citizens, who do not require any legal permissions to immigrate and work in Latvia, third-country citizens require a visa and work permit for short-term employment. Long-term employment, on the other hand, requires them to also acquire a residence permit. On 1 January 2014, the Office of Citizenship and Migration Affairs registered a total of 2,309 work permits for third-country citizens. The majority of them come from Belarus – 742 citizens, Ukraine – 546, Russia – 496, Philippines – 130, India – 66, the United States – 54, Uzbekistan – 42, China – 41, and Turkey – 30.
The Office of Citizenship and Migration Affairs indicates that during the past couple of years, the number of third-country citizens who have settled for a permanent life in Latvia, has significantly increased. The Immigration Law stipulates that any citizen from a third-country is eligible to request permanent residence permit, if he or she has continuously resided in Latvia for at least five years and acquired the Latvian language. In 2010, the number of such citizens was five, in 2011 – three, in 2012 – 23, in 2013 – 48, but in 2014 – already 57.
The European Commission forecasts that the necessity to attract third-country citizens to the European Union will increase with time.