On 3 March 2022, the Parliament (in Latvian – Saeima) of the Republic of Latvia at the second final reading adopted the Law on the Support of the Ukrainian Civilians. The purpose of the Law is to provide support for the civilian population of Ukraine, who leave Ukraine or are prevented from returning to Ukraine as a result of the armed conflict caused by the Russian Federation, and to provide general support to Ukrainian society during the armed conflict. The law will not abolish or change the asylum application and examination procedure, but will provide an additional mechanism for the Ukrainian people to receive support quickly, as well as the right to reside and work in Latvia.
The Law stipulates that Ukrainian people will be able to obtain a long-stay visa for one year and the right to employment without paying a state fee. Ukrainian citizens who do not have all the necessary documents will also be able to obtain a visa. In this case, they may be obliged to submit the relevant documents within one year. The employment of Ukrainian civilians will not require the registration of an employer vacancy with the State Employment Agency and will not be subject to the requirement to provide a salary not less than the average gross salary in the Republic of Latvia. The employer will be entitled to receive a grant from the State Employment Agency in the amount of one minimum monthly salary. The law regulates the possibility for Ukrainian civilians to work also in the fields of education and treatment, as well as provides for an exception to the use of the official (Latvian) language in the field of employment. Namely, the employer has the right to employ the Ukrainian people even without knowledge of the official language, provided that this does not interfere with the performance of work duties.
If a travel document issued in Ukraine has expired, it will be considered valid in the Republic of Latvia until 28 February 2023.
The Law stipulates that Latvia will provide primary support to the Ukrainian civilians for up to 90 days – accommodation and catering services, as well as basic necessities. Ukrainian people will have the same rights as Latvian citizens to state-paid health care services, social services and social assistance. Social services and social assistance will be provided by the municipality where the person is located, in addition, for the first six months, the Ukrainian people will be able to receive social assistance regardless of their financial situation. It is also intended to provide immediate assistance to persons with severe and very severe disabilities, including, where necessary, the provision of social care services at the place of residence and assistance services to support mobility. For the minor Ukrainian civilians, the Law stipulates rights to education.
The Law provides for the temporary inclusion of foreign television programmes in minority languages, one of which is the Ukrainian language, in the free television broadcasting network.
The law was announced on 4 March 2022 and will take effect the next day.
In addition, it should be noted that Ukrainian citizens do not need to take the Covid-19 test upon arrival in Latvia. Presenting Covid-19 certificate to receive services in green mode is not necessary, only an identity document – a passport and / or visa is necessary.
Those immigrants from Ukraine who have arrived in Latvia with their pet – dog, cat or ferret – must go to the nearest veterinary clinic to register, chip and, if necessary, vaccinate the animal. For immigrants from Ukraine these services will be provided free of charge.
In addition, it should be taken into account that in order to facilitate the processing of documents and necessary procedures, it is recommended to take all personal documents with you to enter Latvia – passports, birth and marriage certificates, educational documents, etc.
Useful links for Ukrainian civilians:
- Information on arrival and stay in Latvia: https://www.iem.gov.lv/lv/jaunums/informacija-par-ierasanos-un-uzturesanos-latvija;
- Information on health care services and Covid-19 tests: https://www.vm.gov.lv/lv/informacija-ukrainas-pilsoniem?utm_source=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.iem.gov.lv%2F;
- Information on arrival with pets: https://www.pvd.gov.lv/lv/jaunums/ukrainiem-kas-iecelojusi-latvija-ar-majdzivnieku-javersas-pie-veterinararsta.