On 15 May 2018, Zanda Kalniņa-Lukaševica, the Parliamentary Secretary at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, took part in the launching event for a social movement entitled Latvija strādā (Latvia Works). Latvia Works seeks to bring back to Latvia at least 1000 of its nationals currently working or studying abroad. The social movement is an initiative by Tele2, a telecommunications company, which is calling on employers to recruit their employees from among Latvian nationals who have emigrated.
Zanda Kalniņa-Lukaševica congratulated businesses on the launch of the initiative. The Parliamentary Secretary recognised: “Although a job and a salary are extremely important factors, they are not enough, since practical matters – a possibility to find a suitable housing and a kindergarten or a school, the accessibility of schools and support for children to help them successfully re-enter Latvia’s education system – are no less important than a good job, a competitive remuneration, and workplace relationship. Another vital aspect is opportunities for the spouses of those employees – to work, receive a competitive salary, improve their Latvian language skills and become part of Latvian society.”
The Parliamentary Secretary informed the audience that the drafting of the Diaspora Law is currently underway to ensure sustainable relationship between the state of Latvia and the diaspora. For the law to meet the actual needs and be practical, the draft has been produced working closely together with the diaspora organisations and representatives. The draft law will shortly be considered by the Saeima Foreign Affairs Committee and forwarded for adoption within the next four to five months.
“The law envisages support from the state and local authorities in remigration matters in order to make it easier for the diaspora to return to Latvia for permanent residence. To facilitate preparatory actions related to remigration, members of the diaspora will have the right to indicate, in addition to their address of residence abroad, one additional address in Latvia. The arrangement will enable them to register children with pre-school institutions or schools before their actual return to Latvia. Many members of the diaspora have mentioned this issue as one of the most essential. This will also make it possible for the diaspora members to resolve other administrative matters without relating them to the current tax residence,” said the Parliamentary Secretary.
Zanda Kalniņa-Lukaševica informed the audience that the Disapora Law also provided for a continued and systemic support for the inclusion of the diaspora children in the Latvian education system, as well as encouraging the diaspora youth to take up temporary or permanent studies at the Latvian higher education institutions.
Also, in order to provide support for successful integration into society and the labour market of Latvia, support is envisaged to remigrants’ family members who are not originating from Latvia: in learning Latvian and involvement in employment promotion measures, as well as facilitated procedures for the recognition of education and qualifications documents obtained abroad, including in regulated professions.
According to the draft law, local authorities would also be entitled to rendering other kind of social or material assistance or establish additional guarantees or conditions in support of persons who would like to return to Latvia permanently. There are also provisions concerning assistance to be offered in resolving housing-related matters, the Parliamentary Secretary explained.
“In a situation when companies in Latvia increasingly face labour shortage and the average wages reach the level of EUR 1000, it is commendable that businessmen are launching a tangible and practical initiative to create prerequisites for our compatriots’ return to Latvia,” said Zanda Kalniņa-Lukaševica.
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