On Thursday, 9 June, the Saeima reconsidered the amendments to the Immigration Law pertaining to the parliament’s previously supported provision that upon applying for a residence permit extension, foreigners are to pay EUR 5 000 into the state budget.
On 21 April the Saeima adopted in the final reading amendments to the Immigration Law, stipulating, inter alia, a fee of EUR 5 000 to be paid into the state budget by foreigners requesting an extension on residence permits obtained due to purchase of real estate, investments in companies and bank capital, or purchase of government bonds. The State President returned the amendments to the parliament for reconsideration indicating discrepancies in the text of the law and its transition provisions.
Today MPs decided that foreigners applying for the first resident permit extension issued based on purchase of real estate or investments in subordinated capital of banks will not be required to make the EUR 5000 payment.
In turn, foreigners requesting an extension on residence permits issued based on investments in companies or purchase of government bonds shall not be subjected to the new EUR 5 000 payment provision at all.
The amendments also provide the possibility to suspend issuing of temporary residence permits to citizens of third countries due to the number of their fellow nationals in our country and their impact on national security and economic development. Furthermore, changes will also be made to the rules for issuing temporary residence permits to foreign investors investing in companies or purchasing real estate.
The amendments provide that issuing of temporary residence permits to third country nationals may be suspended temporarily, but no longer than for five years. The government will have to analyse the impact on national security or national economic development that the number and concentration of third country nationals in a specific region of the country have, and to issue regulations stipulating the third country and the term to which the suspension pertains.
The amendments supplement the rules regarding the issue of five-year residence permits to foreigners who have invested in the equity of companies thus increasing it or founding a new company. The minimum investment is henceforth increased from EUR 35 000 to EUR 50 000 for companies with no more than 50 employees and annual turnover or the annual balance not exceeding EUR 10 million. These companies shall henceforth have to pay an average of EUR 3300 per month in taxes to the state and municipal budgets.
Hereinafter a maximum of 10 foreigners will be eligible to receive a residence permit upon investing in the equity of an enterprise, on a condition that each of them has invested in the company and paid at least EUR 10 000 euro in the state budget. Previously permits were issued to no more than three foreigners.
The amendments also provide for a reduction from EUR 150 000 to EUR 100 000 of investment in the equity of an enterprise employing more than 50 employees and with the annual turnover or annual balance exceeding EUR 10 million, for a foreigner to have the right to request a temporary residence permit. The new provisions stipulate that a permit shall remain valid if the enterprise in question pays at least EUR 100 000 in taxes, while the average tax payment for the first reporting year since the issuing of the residence permit shall be at least EUR 8300 a month.
The new provisions also include a requirement to make investments in the amount EUR 100 000 in the equity of enterprises which, together with one or several daughter companies, employ more than 50 employees, and their total annual turnover of the annual balance exceeds EUR 10 million. In addition, a EUR 10 000 payment into the state budget is required of all investments made with the view to obtain a residence permit.
With regard to acquisition of real estate, MPs supported the proposal to allow foreigners to apply for a residence permit valid for up to five years, if they have purchased real estate in Rīga, Jūrmala, Ādaži, Babīte, Baldone, Carnikava, Garkalne, Ikšķile, Ķekava, Mārupe, Olaine, Ropaži, Salaspils, Saulkrasti or Stopiņi municipality and own a functionally undivided property (except of undeveloped land plots) the value of which exceeds EUR 250 000. Previously the law allowed foreigners to purchase a functionally undivided built-up property the value of which is at least EUR 250 000.
According to the amendments, foreigners who have graduated from a full-time tertiary study programme will have the right to extend their residence permit by six months.
The law has been supplemented with provisions regarding temporary detention of foreigners at risk of fleeing or posing threats to national security of public order.
The amendments come into effect on 1 July.
Saeima Press Service