IWB for Refugees: Latvia

Summary of the national legislation on refugees


Unlike other European countries, the constitution of the Republic of Latvia (Latvijas Republikas Satversme[1]) does not mention migration or asylum rights in its articles. Neither does it refer to the considerable percentage of the national population (11,1%[2]) holding an aliens passport,[3] considered to be non-citizens of the country and, therefore, stateless, as they do not hold a nationality of another country.

Thus, the legal framework that regulates asylum and migration is to be found in the national Asylum Law and its subsequent Cabinet Regulations, adopted by the Parliament of the Republic of Latvia on the 15th of December of 2015[4] and entered into force on the 19th of January of 2016. The purpose of this Law, as stated in the document, is “to ensure the rights of persons in the Republic of Latvia to receive asylum, acquire refugee or alternative status or receive temporary protection”.

This new Law, which is currently in force, modified the previous legal framework in order to introduce a series of requirements and aspects set by the EU[5]:

  • Definition and clarification of the terms used in the area of asylum according to the Directives 2013/32/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 26 June 2013 and 2013/33/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 26 June 2013;
  • Common procedures for granting and withdrawing international protection as indicated in the Directive 2013/32/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 26 June 2013;
  • Standards for the reception of applicants for international protection as regulated by the Directive 2013/33/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 26 June 2013;
  • Criteria and mechanisms for determining the Member State responsible for examining an application for international protection lodged in one of the Member States by a third-country national or a stateless person, as in the Regulation (EU) No 604/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 26 June 2013;
  • Establishment of 'Eurodac' for the comparison of fingerprints and a European Agency for the operational management of large-scale IT systems in the area of freedom, security and justice, as stipulated in the Regulation (EU) No 603/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 26 June 2013;
  • Special procedure for the examination of application filed at the border crossing point or transit zone.

After the adoption of the Asylum Law, and especially due to the extraordinary influx of asylum seekers to the EU and the development of the common asylum seeker relocation and resettlement mechanisms, the Cabinet of Ministers of the Republic of Latvia adopted on the 22nd of December of 2015 the Regulation No. 792, which amended Regulation No. 210 of 22 April 2014 regarding benefits for refugee and alternative status holders[6], aiming to reduce its amount and adapt it to the national budget, in order to cope with the expected increasing number of asylum seekers arriving to the EU in the following years.

Furthermore, the Cabinet of Ministers, on the 5th of April of 2016, adopted also amendments to the Regulation No. 1529, to define which healthcare services should be paid for asylum seekers from the national budget[7].

Additionally, in order to provide an efficient response to the increasing number of asylum seekers arriving at the external border of the EU, and as part of its own responsibilities as a Member State, the Cabinet developed and presented on the 2nd of December of 2015 an action plan for the “relocation and reception in Latvia of persons in need of international protection”. The selection of the persons and family units, as well as their relocation, reception, accommodation and socioeconomic inclusion of refugees and persons who have been granted alternative status are carefully described in the document, which involves a wide range of different administrative organs and stakeholders.

In terms of jurisdiction regarding asylum, the Ministry of the Interior is responsible for the home affairs sector and its policy, including the areas of migration and citizenship. This administrative organ, along with its subordinated institutions, manages also the selection, relocation and resettlement procedures of asylum seekers and refugee status holders. Moreover, the Ministry of the Interior administrates the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund (2014-2020)[8].

Under the direction of the Ministry of the Interior, the Office of Citizenship and Migration Affairs (OCMA) is the administrative body responsible for the implementation of the migration and asylum policies. The OCMA examines the applications for international protection and adopts the resolution to it, which can be granting refugee or alternative status, temporary protection, or refusing the request. It is also the administrative body in charge of providing accommodation to asylum seekers and related aspects, in coordination with the Ministry of the Interior and other organs.

Another administrative body with authority to carry out activities foreseen in the legal framework for asylum is the State Border Guard (SBG), which implements the national migration and border security policies and works in coordination with the OCMA and the Ministry of the Interior to carry out the assigned duties.

On an external dimension, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs manages the relations with third countries in regards to asylum issues and policies.

Concerning the social and economic inclusion measures, these are designed, provided and carried out by the Ministries of Welfare, Culture and Education, with the support of the Ministries of the Interior, Justice, Environmental Protection and Regional Development, Ministry of Economics, the Union of Latvian Local Governments and non-governmental organisations. An especially important role is played by the Ministry of Culture, in charge of promoting the successful integration of immigrants into society and supervising the implementation of the European Integration of Third-Country Nationals Fund and the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund (2014-2020) as a delegated authority by the Ministry of Interior.

Under the mandate of the Ministry of Justice, the Legal Aid Administration provides legal assistance to asylum seekers and persons who have been granted refugee and or alternative status in the Republic of Latvia.

In case of minor asylum seekers, not accompanied by parents, the municipal Orphan’s Court is required to assign him or her a representative.

As the selection, reception, accommodation and integration of asylum seekers and refugees requires a great coordination between the involved bodies and administrations, an inter-institutional working group for developing the reception system for asylum seekers in Latvia has been developed, which works under the guidelines of the Action plan for the relocation and receipt in Latvia of persons in need of international protection.

On a European level, apart from the Directives and Regulations mentioned above, Latvia is also part of the following treaties and agreements:

  • European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms of 4 November 1950, ratified by Latvia in 1997.
  • European Convention on Extradition, adopted on 13 December 1957 in Paris, ratified by Latvia in 1997.
  • Schengen Convention, signed on 25 June 1991 in Bonn.
  • Convention Determining the State Responsible for Examining Applications for Asylum lodged in one of the Member States of the European Communities (“Dublin Convention”), adopted on 15 June 1990.
  • Council Directive 2001/55/EC of 20 July 2001 on minimum standards for giving temporary protection in the event of a mass influx of displaced persons and on measures promoting a balance of efforts between Member States in receiving such persons and bearing the consequences thereof.
  • Council Directive 2003/9/EC of 27 January 2003, laying down minimum standards for the reception of asylum seekers in Member States.
  • Council Directive 2003/86/EC of 22 September 2003, on the right to family reunification.
  • Council Directive 2004/83/EC of 29 April 2004, on minimum standards for the qualification and status of third country nationals or stateless persons as refugees or as persons who otherwise need international protection and the content of the protection granted.
  • Council Directive 2005/85/EC of 1 December 2005, on minimum standards on procedures in Member States for granting and withdrawing refugee status.

On an international legal level, the Republic of Latvia has signed and/or accessed the following international treaties and documents, which guarantee general human rights and specific rights for asylum seekers, refugees and stateless persons:

  • Article 14 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 10 December 1948.
  • Convention relating to the Status of Refugees, adopted on 28 July 1951 in Geneva by the United Nations Conference of Plenipotentiaries on the Status of Refugees and Stateless Persons, ratified by Latvia in1997.
  • International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination of 21 December 1965, acceded by Latvia in 1992.
  • International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights of 16 December 1966, ratified by Latvia in 1992.
  • Protocol Relating to the Status of Refugees, adopted on 31 January 1967 in New York (BOE of 21 October 1978), acceded by Latvia in 1992.
  • Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, 18 December 1979, acceded by Latvia in 1992.
  • Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment of 10 December 1984, acceded by Latvia in 1992.
  • Convention on the Rights of the Child of 20 November 1989, acceded by Latvia in 1992.

Although the Republic of Latvia has signed and ratified most of the main documents referring to the protection of human rights and freedoms, there are some treaties that refer to migrant and refugee rights that have not been signed by the country, such as the European Agreement on the Abolition of Visas for Refugees (ETS No. 31) of 20 April 1959, or the Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families of 18 December 1990. Furthermore, following the example of other countries, Latvia started in 2015 to build a 90km long fence, expected to be completed in 2019, aiming to prevent an “influx of migrants” along its 283.6 km border with Russia, with a total cost of 21.168 Euro[9].

In conclusion, Latvia does provide the necessary national legislation available to comply with international protection standards, even though international NGOs have reported racially motivated attacks against minorities and an excessive use of force against detainees by the police, which can, in practice, put under risk the respect of the human rights of asylum seekers arriving to the country[10].

[1] Latvijas Satversmes Sapulces. Latvijas Republikas Satversme. 15.02.1922: https://likumi.lv/ta/id/57980-latvijas-republikas-satversme

[2] 214.206 persons in 2018. CSB. Population by citizenship and ethnicity at the beginning of the year. 11.06.2018: https://data1.csb.gov.lv/pxweb/en/iedz/iedz__iedzrakst/IRG110.px/

[3] An alien's passport is an identity document issued to persons with non-citizen status in the Republic of Latvia. Non-citizens are citizens of the former USSR who reside in the Republic of Latvia and their children, who lived and were permanently registered without any time limitations in the territory of Latvia before July 1, 1992 irrespective of the status of the residence, and who are not citizens of the Republic of Latvia or of any other state (OCMA: https://web.archive.org/web/20030918110750/http://www.ocma.gov.lv/?_p=75&menu__id=13). (...) Under domestic law, ‘non-citizens’ are excluded from the definition of a ‘stateless person’ as they are considered a separate legal category of persons who enjoy a significant set of rights. Although ‘non-citizens’ are granted rights beyond the minimum prescribed by the Convention, there are important differences distinguishing non-citizens from citizens as a matter of domestic law, including a lack of political rights and some restrictions on employment and land ownership. Moreover, ‘non-citizens’ in Latvia clearly lack a nationality and therefore meet the definition of a stateless person under international law regardless of any separate legal consideration of whether they should be excluded from protection under the 1954 Convention (ENS, Statelessness Index: https://index.statelessness.eu/country/latvia)

[4] Latvia: Asylum Law 2015. 17.12.2015: https://www.refworld.org/docid/5a324f2e4.html

[5] Office of Citizenship and Migration Affairs, Republic of Latvia; European Migration Network; European Commission. Policy Report On Migration And Asylum Situation In Latvia. Reference Year 2015. Riga, April 2016: http://www.emn.lv/wp-content/uploads/APR_2015_LATVIA_part_2_EN.pdf

[6] Ministru kabineta noteikumi Nr. 792. Grozījumi Ministru kabineta 2014. gada 22. aprīļa noteikumos Nr. 210 "Noteikumi par pabalstu bēglim un personai, kurai piešķirts alternatīvais statuss". 22.12.2015: https://likumi.lv/ta/id/278915-grozijumi-ministru-kabineta-2014-gada-22-aprila-noteikumos-nr-210-noteikumi-par-pabalstu-beglim-un-personai-kurai-pieskirts

[7] Ministru kabineta noteikumi Nr. 202. Grozījumi Ministru kabineta 2013. gada 17. decembra noteikumos Nr. 1529 "Veselības aprūpes organizēšanas un finansēšanas kārtība". 05.04.2016: https://likumi.lv/ta/id/281367-grozijumi-ministru-kabineta-2013-gada-17-decembra-noteikumos-nr-1529-veselibas-aprupes-organizesanas-un-finansesanas-kartiba-

[8] Patvēruma, Migrācijas Un Integrācijas Fonda 2014-2020: http://www.iem.gov.lv/lat/starptautiskie_finansu_instrumenti/eiropas_savienibas_fondi/patveruma_fonds_2014_2020/

[9]Construction of 93 km of fence on Latvian-Russian border completed. 11.03.2019: https://m.baltictimes.com/article/jcms/id/143808/

[10] Amnesty International. Latvia Country Report 2017/2018: https://www.amnesty.org/en/countries/europe-and-central-asia/latvia/report-latvia/




Refugee life in Latvia


  • Number of people with a refugee status: 662 in 2017.

According to the latest available data, by end of 2017 a total of 662 persons in Latvia had refugee status (UNHCR Population Statistics). By that time, there were 63 asylum seekers pending their application to be resolved in the country.

According to the latest data provided by the UNHCR, 331 asylum applications were filed 2017. The same year, a total of 417 decisions were be made, out of which 25 obtained the refugee status (Afghan and Turkish nationals). 229 persons were granted the alternative status, out of which 210 were Syrian nationals who mostly arrived to the country through resettlement schemes.

60 applications were closed due to undisclosed reasons and a total of 43 asylum applications were rejected by Latvia in 2017, which, excluding the number of Syrian nationals acquiring alternative status, supposes a 30% of all applications.

16 applications were pending to be resolved by end of 2017.

  • Top 5 countries of origin:

As mentioned above, 331 asylum applications were submitted during 2017 in Latvia[1]. A total of 80 decisions were made on initial asylum applications, of which an approximate 30% was resolved positively, and thus, around 70% of the claimed applications were rejected in the first instance.

  1. Syria: 139 applications
  2. Vietnam: 40 applications
  3. Russia: 27 applications
  4. Eritrea: 19 applications
  5. Afghanistan: 13 applications

Noteworthy to mention that out of the 13 applications from Afghani nationals submitted in 2017, 13 (a 100%) were resolved positively, recognizing their refugee status. Regarding the asylum application submitted by Syrian nationals, these have mostly received a positive answer, but have been granted an alternative status, as in the case of Eritrean nationals. The rejection rate has been significant in the case of Russian nationals, reaching almost a 50%, although the rest is pending to be resolved and thus the percentage could be higher.

  • Top 3 reasons for leaving the country of origin:

The reasons for leaving the country of origin are very diverse and sometimes not limited to only one reason. The main reasons are the following:

1. War, generalized violence and armed conflict, including obligatory military recruitment

2. Ethnical and/or political affiliation

3. Sexual orientation

  • Monthly State allowance:

Persons who have been granted refugee or alternative status and do not have incomes or enough means to cover their basic necessities, are entitled to receive a single support payment from the OCMA of 278 euros per adult and 194 euros per minor. In case of family units, the first adult (husband or wife) would receive 278 euros and their partner, 194 euros, which is decided by the same family unit and specified in the application that needs to be submitted in person at the OCMA within one month of acquiring the status[2].

Moreover, a benefit payment of 139 euros per month per adult, and 97 euros per month per minor, for a total period of 10 months, in case of refugee status holders, and of 7 months, in case of alternative status holders, can be designated by the State Social Insurance Agency (SSIA). As it happens with the single support payment, family units will have to decide among them and specify in the submission who will receive the amount foreseen for the first adult (husband or wife), of 139 euros per month, and who will receive the one provided for the partner (97 euros per month). The application for the benefit needs to be done to the SSIA within the 12 next months of acquiring the status.

In case of minors, all payments will be done to their parents or legal representative.

It is required to have an open personal bank account at any Latvian credit institution or at the Latvian Post Office to receive the mentioned payments, and to confirm that the available financial means do not exceed the amount of the official Latvian minimum monthly salary.

Refugee and alternative status holders have the right to request assistance to the relevant authority, the centre employees or social mentors to prepare the mentioned applications.

Additionally, persons holding a refugee or alternative status between the age of 15 and the official pension age in Latvia, are entitled to other social benefits if the person is employed or if the person is unemployed but registered in the State Employment Agency (SEA) as a job seeker and involved in official language acquisition programs. People with a recognized group of disability do not have to register at the SEA, as well as persons who enrol in a full-time program at a Latvian educational institution.

  • Living conditions:

Asylum seekers in Latvia, who have no means or incomes, have the right to be accommodated in an open type centre, located in Mucenieki, approximately 17 km away from the capital, Riga[3]. To be able to enter the accommodation facility and hosted there, asylum seekers need to provide the personal document provided by the OCMA that identifies them as such. Unaccompanied minor asylum seekers can as well be housed in Mucenieki’s Centre, if decided so by the Orphan’s Court and the OCMA, or accommodated in a child care institution or appointed guardian’s lodgement, depending on the best interests of the minor.

Those staying at the accommodation centre and who have no means for their basic necessities (food, transport, etc.) are entitled to receive a daily amount of 3.00 euros, regardless of their age and marital status, which is paid per week in advance to the assigned adult family member.

Once arriving to the Centre, asylum seekers will be introduced by the employees to the available facilities (room, shared kitchen and bathrooms, laundry, library, computerized class, play corner and ground, leisure area and gym), as well as to the safety rules, obligations and the internal order, which specifies the organization of the cleaning of the shared spaces. The Centre accommodates 4 to 10 persons in a room, provided with the basic furniture, while family units with pre-school minors are usually assigned a room with private bathroom.

After acquiring refugee or alternative status, a person or family unit is supposed to access housing within the private market, which, if the person is not working yet, can be covered with the foreseen monthly state allowance.

  • Language lessons:

Non-governmental organizations and authorities, within the Action Plan for the implementation of the Guidelines on National Identity, Civil Society and Integration Policy (2012-2018), organize and carry out projects for the development of Latvian language skills of asylum seekers, migrants and refugee or alternative status holders. The European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI), nevertheless, considers the support in the areas of language and access to the labour market not sufficient[4].

  • Are people with an official refugee status allowed to work?

Yes, an adult person who has acquired refugee or alternative status is allowed to work in Latvia[5]. Asylum seekers, who have been in the territory of Latvia for 6 months and whose application is in examination and has yet not been resolved, are also allowed to work[6].

  • Is there a maximum amount of time that a refugee can stay in the country in which it seeks asylum? Also after receiving a legal refugee status?

A person or family unit applying for asylum in Latvia and whose application is being examined is allowed to legally reside in Latvia until the submitted application is resolved. If the decision of the OCMA is favourable, this person or family unit has the right to receive a residence permit, permanent in case of refugee status holders, and temporary in case of persons who have acquired alternative status[7].

  • Do refugees or their children have the right to attend schools, universities, etc.?

Yes, minors who have been granted refugee or alternative status have the right to acquire education in Latvian in a State or local government educational institution[8]. Refugee and alternative status holders can access higher education or professional training in public and private institutions in the same conditions as the citizens of the country.

  • Is the state obliged to provide asylum seekers with healthcare?

The Latvian State provides medical assistance, limited to emergency medical assistance, pregnancy care and childbirth assistance, emergency dental care, primary health care, psychiatric assistance, medical support for minors, outpatient treatment, including medicine and medical equipment, services for the treatment of tuberculosis and dangerous infectious diseases to all asylum seekers in the national territory[9]. Holders of a refugee or alternative status have the right to healthcare under the same conditions as Latvian citizens.

  • Do refugees experience obstacles with regard to issues like social life, personal well-being, freedom, etc.?

Although the Latvian national legislation provides a complete framework to grant and respect fundamental rights and freedoms, a lack in integration policies and protection of asylum seekers and migrant and vulnerable groups has been detected and criticized by several NGOs and regional institutions[10].

In March 2019, the Council of Europe Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI) published a report[11] analysing the progress made in this regard, as well as the remaining issues, especially urging Latvian authorities to take measures in order to report and fight against racist and homo-/transphobic hate crimes. It is important to note that steps to provide training in this area to State Police officers, the Prosecutor General's office and the Supreme Court have been taken, but hate crimes are still happening on a worrying level and ECRI shares its concerns on the lack of promotion of counter-speech in response to marginalization and these crimes.

While the integration policies and projects for refugee and alternative status holders has been improved and promoted in the last years, there is still a need to work on the integration of vulnerable groups, particularly concerning their access to education, language training, labour market integration and employment and access to healthcare.

With regards to other entitled rights, the existing discrimination also affects asylum seekers and refugee and alternative status holders in their daily needs and life. It is very difficult for this community to access affordable housing, even with the provided benefits by the SSIA. Together with the discrimination, language is a barrier to access most of the services, as healthcare facilities, professional courses, higher education, as well as to access the job market.

Arbitrary detention of asylum seekers is one of the other main issues in the country. People applying for asylum may be detained and placed in specially equipped premises of the Border Guard if it is necessary to verify the identity or nationality of the person or, among others, if there are reasons to believe that the person requested asylum to avoid an expulsion[12]. This can lead to arbitrary imprisonment of minors, stateless persons or undocumented migrants, as well as refugees based on a subjective impression by the guards regarding their reasons for applying for asylum.

[1] UNHCR. Asylum seekers (refugee Status Determination) data. 2017: http://popstats.unhcr.org/en/asylum_seekers

[2] Guideline for asylum seekers in Latvia. Project No. PMLP/PMIF/2016/1 “Support measures for persons in need of international protection, reception and accommodation in Latvia” of the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund (2014 - 2020) implemented by the Office of Citizenship and Migration Affairs. https://www.pmlp.gov.lv/lv/assets/documents/BROŠŪRAS/ENG%20Patveruma%20mekletaji%20makets%20WEB.pdf

[3] Guideline for asylum seekers in Latvia. Project No. PMLP/PMIF/2016/1 “Support measures for persons in need of international protection, reception and accommodation in Latvia” of the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund (2014 - 2020) implemented by the Office of Citizenship and Migration Affairs. https://www.pmlp.gov.lv/lv/assets/documents/BROŠŪRAS/ENG%20Patveruma%20mekletaji%20makets%20WEB.pdf

[4] Council of Europe. European Commission against Racism and Intolerance. CRI (2019)1ECRI REPORT ON LATVIA (fifth monitoring cycle), adopted on 4 December 2018, published on 5 March 2019. https://rm.coe.int/fifth-report-on-latvia/1680934a9f

[5] Latvia: Asylum Law 2015. Chapter IX Rights and Obligations of a Person Having Acquired Refugee or Alternative Status. 17.12.2015: https://www.refworld.org/docid/5a324f2e4.html

[6] Republic of Latvia. Ministru kabineta noteikumi Nr. 458 . Rīgā 2016. gada 12. jūlijā (prot. Nr. 35 8. §)

Noteikumi par patvēruma meklētāja personas dokumentu un tā izsniegšanas kārtību. Izdoti saskaņā ar Patvēruma likuma 8. panta otro daļu. https://likumi.lv/doc.php?id=283579&version_date=20.07.2016

[7] For more detailed information, please refer to the “legal process” section of this report.

[8] Latvia: Asylum Law 2015 Section 50. Right to Information of a Person Having Acquired Refugee or Alternative Status. 17.12.2015: https://www.refworld.org/docid/5a324f2e4.html

[9] Guideline for asylum seekers in Latvia. Project No. PMLP/PMIF/2016/1 “Support measures for persons in need of international protection, reception and accommodation in Latvia” of the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund (2014 - 2020) implemented by the Office of Citizenship and Migration Affairs. https://www.pmlp.gov.lv/lv/assets/documents/BROŠŪRAS/ENG%20Patveruma%20mekletaji%20makets%20WEB.pdf

[10] ANSA, Infomigrants. Latvia progresses on refugee integration, Council of Europe. 2019/03/06. https://www.infomigrants.net/en/post/15540/latvia-progresses-on-refugee-integration-council-of-europe

[11] Council of Europe. European Commission against Racism and Intolerance. CRI (2019)1ECRI REPORT ON LATVIA (fifth monitoring cycle), adopted on 4 December 2018, published on 5 March 2019. https://rm.coe.int/fifth-report-on-latvia/1680934a9f

[12] Guideline for asylum seekers in Latvia. Project No. PMLP/PMIF/2016/1 “Support measures for persons in need of international protection, reception and accommodation in Latvia” of the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund (2014 - 2020) implemented by the Office of Citizenship and Migration Affairs. https://www.pmlp.gov.lv/lv/assets/documents/BROŠŪRAS/ENG%20Patveruma%20mekletaji%20makets%20WEB.pdf




The legal process


The procedure for the provision of asylum is detailed in the Latvian Asylum Law, which ensures the right of a person to receive international protection, including refugee status, alternative status and temporary protection.

In order to be granted international protection, a citizen of a third country or a stateless person located outside of his/her country of origin, can submit an application before entering Latvia, at a border crossing point or transit zone of the airport, to the State Border Guard (SBG), or inside the territory of Latvia, at any territorial unit of the SBG. Asylum seekers have also the right to express their intention to apply for international protection at the OCMA, the State Police and at their place of imprisonment, in case of detention. Any communication, in oral or written form related to the asylum procedure, since the first notification of the intention to apply for asylum, until the interview, decisions or appeals, can be done in a language that is understandable to the interested person.

This application will be reviewed and examined by the Asylum Affairs Department of the Office of Citizenship and Migration Affairs (OCMA). When filing the application, and before a decision is taken, the interested part must deliver the available documentation to the SBG. If a person, who is applying for asylum in Latvia, has a valid visa or a residence permit, this documentation will be kept by the interested part while the application is being decided on.

Those asylum seekers, who have no other legal grounds to stay in Latvia and who are not in detention, will be issued a personal ID document by the SBG identifying them as such, until a decision is made. This personal document[1] should be issued to asylum seekers, adults as well as accompanied minors, within the three following days of the application and it is valid until an administrative decision is taken upon the asylum request. If a person applying for asylum is in detention or has submitted the application at a border crossing point or transit zone, he or she will not be identified with such document until a decision on whether the application will be accepted for examination or not has taken place. This will also be the case if there application will be left without examination, assuming that any of the conditions stipulated in Section 30 of the Asylum Law[2] might take place, for example, if the person has already been granted international protection by another State, if, following the articles of the Dublin Regulation[3], another EU Member State is responsible for reviewing the application, if a third non-EU country is considered as safe for the asylum seeker or, among others, if the person submits a second application in Latvia after being rejected previously by the same country or another EU Member State.

The identification document for asylum seekers, as seen in the image below, includes the necessary data related to the issuing authority, the applicant, the legal representative (in case of unaccompanied minors) and a photograph. On the second page, the document refers to the “right to work without a work permit”, which enters into force after six months of the submission and if the application has not yet been examined by the OCMA. Asylum seekers need to request the inclusion of the rights for employment to the SBG. The second page also includes a reference to the “Residence or movement restrictions”, as asylum seekers in Latvia – while the decision on their case is pending – are not granted a residence permit and cannot travel or move to another State, as this might be considered as an intention to revoke the application and entail the termination of the application in Latvia.

Within the next 10 business days after an asylum seeker has submitted their documentation to the SBG, OCMA’s Asylum Affairs Department makes a decision on the acceptance of the application for examination. If the application is accepted for examination, the decision will include an indication for the date, time and place for the personal interview with the asylum seeker, which should be held by the OCMA no later than one month after this decision.

It is established by Law that the Asylum Affairs Department of the OCMA will make a decision on whether granting refugee or alternative status or temporary protection or rejecting it within 3 months of the asylum interview, and no later than 6 months following the initial asylum request. Under certain circumstances, and if considered so by the OCMA, this period can be extended for 9 more months, making the total period last up until 15 months since the initial request. On the other hand, Section 33 of the Latvian Asylum Law, concerning the “Accelerated Procedures for Examination of an Application”[4], establishes a series of additional circumstances in which the decision to grant or reject a person’s application can be made within the following 20 days of the conducted interview.

If the application is not accepted for examination, the interested person can submit this decision to the court within the 15 following days of the answer. Within 5 business days, the court will examine the appeal and decide whether the application should be admitted for examination. If the court’s decision is positive, the person will be given an appointment for the interview, following the previously mentioned information.

The acquisition of a refugee status will be based on the evidence of justified fear of persecution in the country of origin or citizenship or the previous country of residence of the applicant and his or her family members due to their race, religion, ethnic origin, social class or political affiliation.

Regarding the alternative status, this will be granted to a person or family unit if they require protection due to international or internal armed conflicts and thus cannot return to their country of origin or previous residence, or if they are in danger of torture, inhuman or degrading attitude, corporal or degrading punishment or death sentence in their country of citizenship or previous residence.

When facing ethnic conflicts or a civil war, the Cabinet of Ministers might decide to grant a person or family unit temporary protection, which entitles them to reside in Latvia for a precise amount of time.

If the decision is a refusal to grant refugee or alternative status, the applicant has the right to appeal the decision to the court, which will review the case and adopt the final decision. This can be the acquisition of refugee or alternative status or the refusal by the court. In that case, as well as when the court decides not to accept an application for examination after review, the interested person or family unit will be requested to exit the country.

Asylum seekers that formalize an application in Latvia are granted their basic human rights, including[5]:

  • To receive information concerning the progress of the asylum application;
  • To receive an explanation of the decisions made regarding the asylum case;
  • To be informed about the existing procedures to appeal decisions;
  • To receive State ensured legal aid in an understandable language for the applicant and be informed about the conditions of this assistance;
  • As previously mentioned, to be granted the right to communicate in written and oral form in the language that is understandable for the applicant in regards to anything related to the asylum application;
  • To receive medical assistance (emergency medical assistance, pregnant women care and child-birth assistance, emergency dental care, primary health care, psychiatric assistance, medical support for minors, outpatient treatment, including medicine and medical equipment, services for the treatment of tuberculosis and dangerous infection diseases);
  • In case of special needs, e.g. minors, persons with disabilities, victims of human trafficking, persons who have suffered from violence or in need of special care, to receive proper support for the fulfilment of the related rights and obligations;
  • To communicate with relatives and organizations providing assistance and legal advice to asylum seekers, as for example the UNHCR;
  • To access the information contained in the asylum file, except for cases when this would affect the examination itself or when it would suppose a prejudice of the safety of other people or the Republic of Latvia;
  • In case of not sufficient economic means, to be accommodated in an open type centre[6] and to receive a daily allowance (of 3,00 € per day and night per asylum seeker, regardless of family status and age) to cover the expenses for basic needs (this allowance is not foreseen for asylum seekers living by their own means outside reception centres);
  • In case of minors, previously authorized by the Centre or the SBG, to enrol in mandatory elementary and secondary school in order to grant their access to education within the established national laws;
  • To be subjected to the non-refoulement principle.

On the other hand, applicants have also a series of obligations towards the Latvian authorities that they need to comply while their case is being reviewed, which include the following:

  • To give fingerprints, including adults and minors who are at least 14 years old;
  • To cooperate with the national institutions (BSG, OCMA, etc.) involved in the asylum procedure;
  • To provide all information that is relevant to the asylum case, e.g. documentation, identity, family members, previous activities and achievements and related to the reasons for applying for asylum;
  • To participate in the different stages of the procedure (interview, examination);
  • To perform health examinations, in order to diagnose tuberculosis or infectious diseases in the interest of public health;
  • To respect the internal orders of the accommodation facilities or the detention centres;
  • To inform the OCMA about any changes regarding the residence address, if the person or family unit is not detained or doesn’t live in accommodation premises for asylum seekers.

Once a positive resolution of the asylum application has taken place, persons who have been granted refugee or alternative status in Latvia are entitled to the following rights[7]:

  • To receive a residence permit, permanent in case of refugee status holders, and temporary in case of persons who have acquired alternative status;
  • To be issued a travel document. For refugee status holders, this document will be valid for all countries, except for the country of origin. Alternative status holders, if unable to receive a travel document from the country of origin or previous residence, will be issued a valid travel document for all countries;
  • To initiate family reunification procedures, by applying to the OCMA immediately after receiving the refugee status, and after 2 years of residence for alternative status holders;
  • For reunited family members, to receive a residence permit in the same conditions and for the same time period as the status holder;
  • To receive single financial support and benefits.

According to Chapter X of the Latvian Asylum Law on “Loss and Revocation of Refugee and Alternative Status”, a person can lose refugee status if:

  • The person voluntarily reaccepts protection of the country of origin or the reacquires its citizenship;
  • If a person acquires Latvian citizenship (or the one from another country) and thus enjoys the protection he or she is entitled to;
  • If a person returns to the country, which he or she fled from due to persecution;
  • If the circumstances, under which a person was granted the refugee status do not exist anymore and, consequently, the person cannot refuse the protection of the country of citizenship and/or where the person can return as a stateless person.

In case of significant change or inexistence of circumstances due to which a person was granted alternative status, this international protection might be lost by the person, as long as this change is of constant nature and the person has no more grounds for fearing potential harm and persecution.

A person can have his/her refugee status revoked if:

  • He/she is receiving protection or aid from other UN structures, except for the UNHCR;
  • He/she has committed, participated in or encouraged crimes against peace or humanity or war crimes, as defined by the international conventions;
  • He/she has committed, participated in or encouraged crimes prior to the arrival to Latvia, considered as a serious crime by the national laws of the host country;
  • He/she performed, participated in or encouraged activities against the objectives and principles of the UN;
  • There are reasons to believe that he/she might pose a threat to national security;
  • The provided information was false, including falsified documents, or if crucial information for granting refugee status was omitted.

The same conditions apply to persons holding an alternative status of international protection.

Finally, regarding unaccompanied minors, these are entitled to express their intention of applying for asylum in Latvia in in accordance with the same procedures established for adults. In their case, a legal representative assigned by the Orphan's and Custody Court, the Court itself or the head of a childcare institution will be in charge of the minor’s representation during the asylum procedure. If there are reasons to believe that an unaccompanied minor is in need of international protection, the head of a childcare institution can submit an application on behalf of the minor. The OCMA can decide not to examine the asylum application of an unaccompanied minor that is considered in the best interests of the child.

[1] Republic of Latvia. Ministru kabineta noteikumi Nr. 458 . Rīgā 2016. gada 12. jūlijā (prot. Nr. 35 8. §)

Noteikumi par patvēruma meklētāja personas dokumentu un tā izsniegšanas kārtību. Izdoti saskaņā ar Patvēruma likuma 8. panta otro daļu. https://likumi.lv/doc.php?id=283579&version_date=20.07.2016

[2] Latvia: Asylum Law 2015. Section 30. Decision to Leave the Application without Examination. 17.12.2015: https://www.refworld.org/docid/5a324f2e4.html

[3] European Union, Convention Determining the State Responsible for Examining Applications for Asylum lodged in one of the Member States of the European Communities ("Dublin Convention"), 15 June 1990, Official Journal C 254 , 19/08/1997 p. 0001 - 0012, available at: https://www.refworld.org/docid/3ae6b38714.html [accessed 26 May 2019].

If another EU Member State is responsible for examining the asylum application, according to the Dublin regulation, and the other State agrees to take over the case, the asylum seeker will be transferred to that country and continue there the application. Contrarily, if the other Member State doesn’t agree on the examination, the person or family unit applying for asylum will be allowed to stay in Latvia, where the case will be analyzed. Asylum seekers will be informed about the application of the Dublin Regulation, in the language and form that is best understood by the applicant.

[4] Latvia: Asylum Law 2015. Section 33. Accelerated Procedures for Examination of an Application. 17.12.2015: https://www.refworld.org/docid/5a324f2e4.html

[5] Guideline for asylum seekers in Latvia. Project No. PMLP/PMIF/2016/1 “Support measures for persons in need of international protection, reception and accommodation in Latvia” of the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund (2014 - 2020) implemented by the Office of Citizenship and Migration Affairs. https://www.pmlp.gov.lv/lv/assets/documents/BROŠŪRAS/ENG%20Patveruma%20mekletaji%20makets%20WEB.pdf

[6] Republic of Latvia. OCMA. Patvēruma Meklētāju Centrs. https://www.pmlp.gov.lv/lv/sakums/pakalpojumi/iecelosana-lv/patveruma-meklesana/pmic-mucenieki.html

[7] Republic of Latvia. OCMA. Rights of refugees and persons who have been granted alternative status in Latvia. https://www.pmlp.gov.lv/en/home/services/asylum-seeking/receipt-of-asylum-seekers-in-latvia-frequently-asked-questions-and-answers.html




Interviews





Description of what happens if they do not receive the refugee status


If an application is not admitted for examination or rejected, asylum seekers have the right to appeal the decision to the court. In case of admission to examination, the court will have 5 working days to review the case and make a decision, while in case of a rejection regarding the acquisition of the refugee or alternative status, the court will have a period of 3 months for this decision.

If the final decision (by the OCMA or the court, in case of having appealed OCMA’s decision) is a refusal to grant refugee or alternative status to the person who has applied for asylum in the Republic of Latvia, and the applicant has no other legal grounds to stay in the country, a removal order will be issued, which will be enforced within a term of 7 to 30 days[1]. A person, who has been refused refugee or alternative status in Latvia and issued a removal order, can also leave the country earlier to the removal term. In these cases, the affected person has the right to enjoy voluntary return programs implemented by international organs such as the International Migration Organization. In some particular cases, a decision for compulsory expulsion might be adopted.

According to the terms established in Section 60 of the Latvian Asylum Law[2], a person who has lost refugee or alternative Status or this status has been revoked under the principles detailed in the “Legal process” subsection of this research, will be required to leave the Republic of Latvia within 2 months from the effective date of the decision, if there are no other legal grounds for staying and residing in Latvia.

A person who has been issued a removal order has 10 working days to appeal that decision to the District Administrative Court, which, nonetheless, will not suspend the removal operation.

[1] Guideline for asylum seekers in Latvia. Project No. PMLP/PMIF/2016/1 “Support measures for persons in need of international protection, reception and accommodation in Latvia” of the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund (2014 - 2020) implemented by the Office of Citizenship and Migration Affairs. https://www.pmlp.gov.lv/lv/assets/documents/BROŠŪRAS/ENG%20Patveruma%20mekletaji%20makets%20WEB.pdf

[2] Latvia: Asylum Law 2015. Section 60. Obligation of a Person to Leave the Republic of Latvia, if he or she has Lost Refugee or Alternative Status or the above-mentioned Status has been Revoked for him or her. 17.12.2015: https://www.refworld.org/docid/5a324f2e4.html




Analysis of how the media depicts the refugees in Latvia


Is there national media attention for refugees and refugee issues?

In comparison to other EU Member States, there is little coverage of news related to refugees and/or asylum seekers in Latvia, as it is not one of the main arrival points or destinations within the EU. The approach in the provided information is more conservative or solidary depending on the newspaper or TV channel and its political interests.

Some references are made to the “refugee crisis” in Europe, but as something external and as something that justifies concrete strong political measures against a massive arrival of asylum seekers or migrants, as building a wall. For instance, media reflects the need of regularization and deportations, supported by some conservative parties and claimed by a considerable part of the civil society. The Action Party, for example, has even shared its intentions and plans to deport all refugees who have arrived in Latvia within 72 hours[1].

The analysis of Latvia’s fulfilment with the agreed resettlement quotas of the EU in the media is mostly regarded as negative, as there has been little proactive attitude from the authorities or civil society to increase that number and improve the reception of refugees and asylum seekers. On the other hand, this is also praised in the media, as the intention of concrete political parties and the conservative sector of the population do not agree on receiving more asylum seekers.

How do the media present asylum seekers?

Many media channels do not differentiate between refugees, asylum seekers and migrants. Some do relate asylum to irregular migration, using the term “illegal” in order to add the negative connotation to this community. People smuggling is also used in this context, offering the public a general negative idea about those fleeing their country of origin and arriving to the Republic[2]. Refugees and asylum seekers are many times also depicted as a problem, and the fact that the quota is not high and that many leave the country after arrival is celebrated as a way to escape bigger complications[3]. Some directly refer to the refugee community as uninvited guests[4].

Asylum seekers and refugees are often mentioned in the context of aggressions, violence and crimes, even if they are the victims[5] or only suspected[6] of being related to the event. These headlines, though, already give a negative connotation to the term “refugee”, rapidly and easily expanded throughout civil society.

On the other side, asylum seekers are also seen as victims in a context of solidarity and charity. Nevertheless, the causes to grant refugee status to a person who applied for asylum in Latvia are sometimes questioned by the media, as these reasons sometimes clash with the actual respect of rights and freedoms in the county. For example, the asylum application of a Lebanese citizen[7] who fled his country because he was persecuted due to his sexual orientation and religion, was initially rejected. After appealing to the court, he was finally granted refugee status in Latvia. This would be considered as something positive, if it was not for the fact that Latvia is considered the most homophobic country of the EU-28[8], which can definitely cause confrontation between the refugee community and the host society.

Some of the analysis and opinions reflected in the media can be analysed as discriminatory and xenophobic. A few media publications differentiate between the nationalities of asylum seekers. Ukrainians and Russians are referred to in a more positive way, while other nationalities are seen as a threat, especially if ethnical or racial differences exist. In a survey from 2015, 78% of Latvians answered that they felt either negative or strongly negative about immigration from outside the EU – the same level as Greece and only surpassed by the Czech Republic at 81%.[9]

Is being a country of refuge presented in a negative, neutral or positive way?

According to several media sources, Latvia has an obvious lack of experience in receiving immigration and refugees, in comparison to other EU Member States[10]. Consequently, there is a variety in opinions regarding Latvia as a country of refuge, but most of the time it is reflected as negative or neutral in the media, depending whether the news are related to the arrivals or the reception conditions.

On a regional context, Latvia is seen by its neighbors and the EU as a country who has taken little steps of commitment toward accepting resettlement and relocation quotas[11] and the governments has no intention in increasing neither the number nor the funds for that objective. Within the framework of the EU relocation program, Latvia has so far accepted 380 out of 531 people by quota[12], but the fact that most of them, 313 people, moved to another EU member State demonstrates that Latvia is not considered as final destination by asylum seekers and refugees, but only as a transit zone[13]. Nevertheless, Latvian authorities consider it as something positive and state that they cannot intervene in an asylum seeker’s decision to leave[14],[15].

This might be related to the idea and reality, that the benefits are insufficient, that the language is hard to learn and that there is a great difficulty to access housing and the labor market[16]. This is also reflected in the media, which echoes the lack of action and solutions from the national authorities[17]. Thus, for refugees and asylum seekers arriving to the country, Latvia is seen as a not very attractive option for applying for asylum and settling down. Some local media in Russian even describes it as the need to flee Latvia[18].

Notably, individuals often choose to leave Latvia even after having been granted refugee status and found employment. In a documentary from 2016, an Eritrean refugee quit his job as an interpreter at an asylum center to move with his wife to Germany where he already had an aunt living.[19] In 2017 a total of 90% of refugees and asylum seekers in Latvia were estimated to leave the country, mostly to Germany.[20]

This negative impression of Latvia as a refuge country is also perceived by refugees and asylum seekers through concrete actions the government has taken, as for example, the construction of the 95 km long wall to “fight against the threat”[21]. Some media has covered more actively the conservative opinion of concrete political parties and sectors of the society, who consider refugees, asylum seekers and migrants to be a threat to the nation and to its traditional values[22].

Finally, few media publications can be considered positive, mostly related to good practices or personal experiences of employers who have helped asylum seekers or refugees to access the labour market. In addition, some articles do refer to immigration, and consequently the arrivals of refugees and asylum seekers, as positive because of the increasing emigration rates of Latvian nationals, which could lead to a critical demographic situation[23].

Additional bibliography:

https://baltnews.lv/riga_news/20190413/1022902841/huzhe-immigracii-chto-za-problema-ugrozhaet-budushchemu-pribaltiki.html

https://rus.delfi.lv/news/daily/latvia/latviya-zavershila-programmu-es-po-peremescheniyu-bezhencev.d?id=50395975&all=true

https://bb.lv/statja/nasha-latvija/2019/04/23/nishcheta-i-bezdele-bezhency-izsirii-iiraka-boyatsya-zhit-vbaltii

https://lv.sputniknews.ru/Latvia/20190428/11436328/Latviya-obognala-Estoniyu-i-Likhtenshteyn-po-kolichestvu-prinyatykh-bezhentsev.html

https://lv.sputniknews.ru/trend/migranti_15122015/

http://argumenti.ru/world/2019/04/609323

https://rus.lsm.lv/statja/novosti/obschestvo/migranti-skolko-ih-segodnja-v-latvii-i-kak-oni-zhivut.a310213/

https://rus.delfi.lv/news/daily/story/posle-pervoj-lozhki-vse-zaplakali-kak-zhivut-bezhency-i-zhiteli-mucenieki-segodnya.d?id=49712871

https://rus.delfi.lv/temi/bezhency-v-latvii/

[1] https://rus.delfi.lv/news/daily/story/ot-legalizacii-marihuany-do-deportacii-bezhencev-s-chem-latvijskie-politiki-idut-na-vybory-v-evroparlament.d?id=50937529&all=true

[2] https://eadaily.com/ru/news/2019/04/12/pogranichnik-chechency-perepravlyayut-nelegalov-cherez-latviyu

[3] https://lv.sputniknews.ru/Latvia/20181202/10189111/migranty-prestupnost-politika.html

[4] https://lenta.ru/articles/2018/03/27/nezvanye_gosti/

[5] https://bb.lv/statja/nasha-latvija/2019/02/19/pomeshchennyy-v-centr-bezhencev-mucenieki-chelovek-nabrosilsya-na-pogranichnika

[6] https://rus.delfi.lv/news/daily/criminal/finskaya-policiya-rassleduet-seriyu-iznasilovanij-zhertvy-devochki-10-15-let-podozrevaemye-bezhency.d?id=50642439&all=true

[7] https://lv.sputniknews.ru/Latvia/20190213/10930305/gei-bezhenec-latvia-status.html

[8] https://lv.sputniknews.ru/world/20190514/11557989/Latviya-okazalas-samoy-gomofobnoy-stranoy-ES.html

[9] http://ec.europa.eu/commfrontoffice/publicopinion/archives/eb/eb83/eb83_anx_en.pdf

[10] https://www.currenttime.tv/a/29177155.html

[11] https://bb.lv/statja/nasha-latvija/2019/04/29/latviya-v-2018-godu-prinyala-tolko-30-bezhencev

[12] https://lv.sputniknews.ru/Latvia/20180116/7053723/Bezhency-potjanulis-obratno-Latviju.html

[13] https://baltnews.lv/news/20151226/1015266306.html

[14] https://www.bbc.com/russian/international/2016/02/160209_latvia_refugees

[15] https://www.currenttime.tv/a/29177155.html

[16] https://rus.delfi.lv/news/daily/latvia/bezhenec-iz-eritrei-nashel-v-latvii-rabotu-rabotodatel-zhdet-vizita-yazykovoj-inspekcii.d?id=47941577

[17] https://www.bbc.com/russian/features-40460467

[18] https://rus.lsm.lv/statja/novosti/ekonomika/bezhenci-prodolzhayut-bezhat-uzhe-iz-latvii.a255987/

[19] https://eng.lsm.lv/article/society/society/all-refugees-first-granted-asylum-have-left-latvia.a206485/

[20] https://eng.lsm.lv/article/society/crime/almost-90-of-asylum-seekers-leave-latvia.a246078/

[21] https://www.dw.com/ru/%D0%BB%D0%B0%D1%82%D0%B2%D0%B8%D1%8F-%D0%BF%D0%BE%D1%81%D1%82%D1%80%D0%BE%D0%B8%D0%BB%D0%B0-93-%D0%BA%D0%B8%D0%BB%D0%BE%D0%BC%D0%B5%D1%82%D1%80%D0%BE%D0%B2%D1%8B%D0%B9-%D0%B7%D0%B0%D0%B1%D0%BE%D1%80-%D0%BD%D0%B0-%D0%B3%D1%80%D0%B0%D0%BD%D0%B8%D1%86%D0%B5-%D1%81-%D1%80%D0%BE%D1%81%D1%81%D0%B8%D0%B5%D0%B9/a-47858010

[22] https://lv.sputniknews.ru/Latvia/20190121/10700863/miting-front-narodnoj-vlasti.html

[23] https://lv.sputniknews.ru/Latvia/20190407/11281456/migraciya-rabota-vymiranie.html




Follow-up on the refugee crisis





The subjective perspective


As set out in this report, there are a number of issues to be addressed in the context of asylum and refugee protection in Latvia. While Latvia does live up to its legal obligations of offering international protection, in the vast majority of the cases this protection is granted in the form of “alternative status” rather than Convention status, meaning that the individual enjoys a lesser form of protection with shorter durations. Notably, alternative status is more often than not granted to Syrian and Eritrean nationals; two of the most refugee producing countries in the world.

Another issue regards the lack of legal safeguards against arbitrary detention. Individuals are detained at the discretion of the Border Guards, and decisions are usually upheld by courts if disputed, which puts already vulnerable groups such minors or stateless persons in even more precarious situations. Latvia must make an effort to implement alternatives to detention and introduce safeguards and stricter legal means to avoid the use of detention of those who are the most vulnerable.

The construction of a nearly 95 km long fence along the border with Russia is likewise a worrying example of a trend aiming to “protect” Latvia again against an “influx of migrants”, spending millions of Euros as part of a government campaign giving Latvian citizens the impression that far more people are coming than is actually the case, and furthermore that these people constitute a threat to the country. Rather than continuing the spending and extending the fence to stretch the entire length of the border, Latvia could with advantage reprioritise the money to focus on good integration, making sure those who are given a residence permit also have the right conditions to make a safe life in Latvia.

Because indeed, as has also been made clear in this research, Latvia is by many considered a country of transition rather than destination. Even individuals granted international protection in Latvia end, more often than not, moving on to a different European country such as Germany, where they might have better chances earning a living through undocumented work, but where their legal status is not protected. Far too little is done from Latvia’s side to avoid this, and the Latvian government must assume its responsibility of providing the sufficient support to newcomers who are granted a status to stay in the country. Until there is an active effort to establish coherent programmes promoting the employment, housing, health and social integration of refugees, and to fight hate crimes and other discrimination in society, Latvia cannot be said to fulfil the entirety of its responsibility under international and European law to protect refugees and holders of alternative protection statuses.




Additional bibliography


Amnesty International Ltd. Amnesty International Report 2017/18. The state of the world’s human rights. 2018.

https://www.amnesty.org/download/Documents/POL1067002018ENGLISH.PDF

European Commission/EACEA/Eurydice, 2019. Integrating Asylum Seekers and Refugees into Higher Education in Europe: National Policies and Measures. Eurydice Report. Luxembourg: Publications Office of the European Union. January, 2019.

https://www.esu-online.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/232_en_migrants_he-1.pdf

European Migration Network Latvian Contact Point. Overview. Structure of the migration and asylum policy in Latvia. Riga, October 2016.

http://www.emn.lv/wp-content/uploads/Organisation-of-Asylum-and-Migration-Policy_FINAL_LV-19.12.2016_EN.pdf

Freedom House. Latvia. 2018.

https://freedomhouse.org/report/nations-transit/2018/latvia

Gaveika, Arturs & Bulgakova, Ilona. Asylum law regulation and current events of its application in Latvia. Border security and management. 20016.

https://www.researchgate.net/publication/326229516_ASYLUM_LAW_REGULATION_AND_CURRENT_EVENTS_OF_ITS_APPLICATION_IN_LATVIA

Human Rights Liaison Unit Division of International Protection UNHCR. Submission by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees

for the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights’ Compilation Report - Universal Periodic Review: LATVIA. November, 2010.

https://lib.ohchr.org/HRBodies/UPR/Documents/session11/LV/UNHCR_UNHighCommissionerforRefugees-eng.pdf

Ilze Siliņa-Osmane. European Migration Network Latvian contact point. Policy Report On Migration And Asylum Situation In Latvia. Reference Year 2015. Riga, April 2016.

http://www.emn.lv/wp-content/uploads/APR_2015_LATVIA_part_2_EN.pdf

Ilze Siliņa-Osmane. European Migration Network Latvian contact point. Policy Report On Migration And Asylum Situation In Latvia. Reference Year 2016. Riga, April 2017.

http://www.emn.lv/wp-content/uploads/APR_2016_part2_LATVIA_EN.pdf

Ministry of Interior of Republic of Latvia. Office of Citizenship and Migration Affairs. Official website:

Asylum granting procedure.

https://www.pmlp.gov.lv/en/home/services/asylum-seeking/the-procedure-of-granting-asylum.html

Rights of refugees and persons who have been granted alternative status in Latvia.

https://www.pmlp.gov.lv/en/home/services/asylum-seeking/receipt-of-asylum-seekers-in-latvia-frequently-asked-questions-and-answers.html

Asylum seeking.

https://www.pmlp.gov.lv/en/home/services/asylum-seeking/patvmekleng.html#1

Nadina Millere Representative of Latvian Association of the Orphan's Courts Employees and The head of Orphan’s Court. Asylum seeking children in Latvia. Stockholm, 28.09.2012.

https://www.slideserve.com/zeke/asylum-seeking-children-in-latvia-nadina-millere-representative-of-latvian-association-of-the-orphans-courts-emp

NGO “Safe House” Official Website:

http://www.patverums-dm.lv/en/study-programme-for-asylum-seekers-introductory-course-about-latvia

UNHCR. Integration of refugees in Latvia. Participation and Empowerment. Understanding Integration in Latvia through the participation of refugees, integration stakeholders’ experiences, and research. October 2014 – January 2015. June, 2015.

http://www.emn.lv/wp-content/uploads/UNHCR_Integration-of-refugees-in-Latvia.pdf





Latvia

Capital: Riga
Location: Eastern Europe
EU-member since 2004
Currency: Euro
Population: 2,023,800
GDP:
Min. wage:
Poverty line:
Population under poverty line:

IWB researchers

Aleksandra Semeriak

 

 

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