President of Latvia has returned the amendments to the Immigration Law to the parliament for a repeated review.
President of Latvia Andris Berzins on November 9, 2013 has returned the previously approved amendments to the Immigration Law that feature a quota system for temporary residence permits for third-country citizens in exchange for their investment in the real estate to the Saeima for a second review with a letter to the Saeima Speaker.
On October 31, 2013 Latvian Saeima passed amendments to the Immigration Law. The amended law provides that a third-country citizen may apply for Latvia's temporary residence permit, valid for a period of up to five years, if he or she makes a payment of EUR 50,000 (LVL 35,140) into the state budget.
Also, third-country citizens who buy real estate worth over EUR 150,000 (LVL 105,000) in Latvia will be able to apply for temporary residence permits. The regulations on residence permits will apply to no more than 700 such deals annually, as well as to 100 purchases of properties worth more than EUR 0.5 million (LVL 351,000). If there are more than a hundred purchases of real estate worth more than EUR 0.5 million, the number of property purchases worth more than EUR 150,000 to which the regulations on residence permits apply will be reduced accordingly.
In 2015 and 2016, the quota will be reduced to 525 and 350 permits, respectively, and the additional 100 permits will be issued annually for investments of over EUR 0.5 million.
In his letter the President wrote that certain elements in the amendments contradict one another, thus essentially losing the purpose for the amendments as such.
The President says, that it is not clear how a quota system which applies only to real estate transactions will ensure a slower increase in real estate prices if, at the same time, temporary residency permits will be available to an unlimited number of foreigners who pay money into the national budget and will face no obstacles in purchasing real estate in Latvia. The thing is that the provision of residency permits to those who pay money into the national budget is in contradiction to the quota system, which is partly aimed at limiting the number of those who wish to receive such permits