Government wants to reduce administrative burden for foreign students
Administrative burden for foreign students and researchers, as well as education and research institutions that host them is planned to be reduced in Latvia. This is provided by amendments to the Immigration Law conceptually approved by Saeima’s Defence, Internal Affairs and Corruption Prevention Committee on Wednesday, 18 April.
The legislative draft provides for clarifying the rights of researchers and students for employment. «For researchers it is planned to provide unlimited access to the labour market. This will help create more beneficial conditions for attraction of highly-skilled foreign researchers. As for students – it is planned to establish a limit of 20 hours a week. This restriction will not apply to holidays: students will be allowed to work 40 hours a week in summer,» as noted in the legislative draft.
Currently students and researchers who arrive in Latvia as part of mobility programmes are provided with access to the labour market 20 hours a week for work and research, as well as work as part of academic personnel in accordance with their EU member states’ issued residence permit or visa.
«The legislative draft provides for expanding the range of foreigners who do not require permission to work in Latvia by including students and trainees who undergo work training as part of their study programmes no later than two years after graduating. This condition will be introduced because foreigners of this category do not take jobs local residents could take and continue studying,» as mentioned in the annotation of the draft.
Continuing: «Amendments to the law also provide for voluntary work and participation in exchange programmes as one of the reasons for issue of a long-term visa. It is planned to extend the amount of time a student or researches is allowed to receive a residence permit to stay in the country after completing studies or research in order to find a job or start a business. The legislative draft provides for extending this period of time to nine months instead of the current six months.»
Another important change proposed by the legislative draft is the option to nullify a residence permit if compliance with employment conditions was not met.
Saeima’s press-service reports that amendments to the law provide for exemption from the visa requirement for people who travel to Latvia with a travel document issued in their home country and laissez-passer issued by the European Council to representatives of 47 member states of the European Council: representatives of the European Council Parliamentary Assembly, judges of the European Court of Human Rights, representatives of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe and come members of organizations under the European Council.
For amendments to come into force, it is necessary for them to be supported by the Saeima in three readings.