5
Migration and integration: the
case of Latvia
Dace Akule, policy researcher,
Centre for Public Policy PROVIDUS
Latvia’s population
0%
20%
40%
60%
80%
100%
2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011
Foreigners, %
Non-...
Migration balance
-60000
-40000
-20000
0
20000
40000
60000
80000
1991
1992
1993
1994
1995
1996
1997
1998
1999
2000
2001
20...
Immigration stock
Source: Office of Citizenship and Migration Affairs
23527
24516
25466
26976
29487
30820
33055
34354
3624...
1821
1846
2631
2437
2212
2154
1896
2061
2396
2928
4831
4609
2388
2495
4824
6171
0
1000
2000
3000
4000
5000
6000
7000
1997 ...
Number of issued permits by reason of entry
981
3048
460
342
907
2836
529
337
586
908
472
342
574
854
534
533
0
500
1000
1...
Origin of immigrants in 2012
2534
605
277
197
191
102
0
500
1000
1500
2000
2500
3000
Russia Ukraine Belarus Kazakhstan Uzb...
Stock of foreigners in 2013
Russia 44586
Lithuania 4031
Ukraine 3735
Belarus 2318
Germany 1536
Estonia 1025
Bulgaria 698
S...
Labour immigration
• Employment becomes more popular reason for residence in
Latvia: 40-45% of residents with temporary pe...
Labour immigration: sectors
374 380
163
283
331
555
631
1734
719
360
449
10541085
628
1081
295
426
962
625
82
503
234
312
...
Labour immigration
• Access to labour market depends on purpose of immigration and
type or residence permit (e.g. free acc...
Labour immigration
• Legislation stipulates that migrant workers must receive at least
the average national gross monthly ...
Policy?
• In 2007 government failed to adopt a migration policy document
due to lack of interest in this issue (nationalis...
Policy?
• Ministry of Economy has estimated that approximately 120
thousand jobs would be created by 2030 as a result of e...
How large threats do the following aspects cause to
Latvia?
0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 90% 100
%
Latvia's inhabita...
What is your attitude towards the willingness of people from
other countries to come to work and live in Latvia?
Source: D...
From which countries or groups of countries would it
be desirable to let in immigrants from? %
Source: Market research cen...
Attitudes towards migrants’ impact on social and
economic processes
Source: NI: Dimensijas. Vēsturiskā atmiņa. LU SZF. Sur...
• Latvians behave as the “endangered majority”: everyone should live where they were
born
• 18% Latvians think that citize...
• Comparing the
legislation of 31
European and North
American countries,
Latvia’s situation was
evaluated as the
least fav...
Conclusions
• Question about people: who will live in Latvia? Whom do we want
to live in Latvia? How do we manage public s...
• Experience with the Russian-speaking population in Latvia has shown that we
should not build isolated communities. We ne...
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Dace Akule “Migration, Integration, Europeanization” – Final conference 27 June

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The expert seminar “Migration, Integration, Europeanization – old and new challenges for policies and actors. The case of Baltic States”, which took place in Warsaw on June 27.

The seminar was the final conference in the project Migration as a part of a policy for increased competitiveness, funded by the Swedish Institute and comprising a cooperation between think tanks and research institutes working with migration and integration in the Baltic Sea region. The conference was arranged in collaboration with demosEUROPA, The Institute of Social Policy at University of Warsaw, and Norden Centrum in Warsaw.

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Dace Akule “Migration, Integration, Europeanization” – Final conference 27 June

  1. 1. 5 Migration and integration: the case of Latvia Dace Akule, policy researcher, Centre for Public Policy PROVIDUS
  2. 2. Latvia’s population 0% 20% 40% 60% 80% 100% 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 Foreigners, % Non-citizens, % Citizens, % Source: Office of Citizenship and Migration Affairs
  3. 3. Migration balance -60000 -40000 -20000 0 20000 40000 60000 80000 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 Immigration Emigration Migration ballance Source: Central Bureau of Statistics
  4. 4. Immigration stock Source: Office of Citizenship and Migration Affairs 23527 24516 25466 26976 29487 30820 33055 34354 36249 42054 44328 47391 6676 6886 7547 7429 8003 9656 12815 14715 13785 13557 15957 187160 5000 10000 15000 20000 25000 30000 35000 40000 45000 50000 200220032004200520062007200820092010201120122013 Permanent Residence Permits Temporary Residence Permits
  5. 5. 1821 1846 2631 2437 2212 2154 1896 2061 2396 2928 4831 4609 2388 2495 4824 6171 0 1000 2000 3000 4000 5000 6000 7000 1997 1999 2001 2003 2005 2007 2009 2011 First-time issued temporary residence permits Source: Office of Citizenship and Migration Affairs
  6. 6. Number of issued permits by reason of entry 981 3048 460 342 907 2836 529 337 586 908 472 342 574 854 534 533 0 500 1000 1500 2000 2500 3000 3500 2007 2008 2009 2010 Family reunification Employment Studies Other Source: Office of Citizenship and Migration Affairs
  7. 7. Origin of immigrants in 2012 2534 605 277 197 191 102 0 500 1000 1500 2000 2500 3000 Russia Ukraine Belarus Kazakhstan Uzbekistan Turkey Source: Office of Citizenship and Migration Affairs
  8. 8. Stock of foreigners in 2013 Russia 44586 Lithuania 4031 Ukraine 3735 Belarus 2318 Germany 1536 Estonia 1025 Bulgaria 698 Sweden 564 Poland 527 United Kingdom 518 United States of America 505 Kazakhstan 466 Uzbekistan 444 Source: Office of Citizenship and Migration Affairs
  9. 9. Labour immigration • Employment becomes more popular reason for residence in Latvia: 40-45% of residents with temporary permits in 2008-2010. • If only 2000 foreigners acquired a work permit in 2005, the number exceeded 4000 in 2007. • Top countries: Russia, Belarus and Ukraine. Top sectors: manufacturing, transport and logistics, trade and repair. Most dramatic drop in demand for migrant workers was in construction sector – 36% work permit in 2007, and only 3% in 2010. • Pull factors – labour or skills shortages in specific sectors (also due to emigration), cultural and linguistic, geographic proximity. More important than comparatively low income levels (compared to EU average).
  10. 10. Labour immigration: sectors 374 380 163 283 331 555 631 1734 719 360 449 10541085 628 1081 295 426 962 625 82 503 234 312 684 271 220 144 151 1406 13 20 664 111 45 234 158 0 200 400 600 800 1000 1200 1400 1600 1800 2000 Manufacturing industry Construc- tion service Transportation IT, science Trade Other 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 Source: Office of Citizenship and Migration Affairs
  11. 11. Labour immigration • Access to labour market depends on purpose of immigration and type or residence permit (e.g. free access to family reunification migrants who joined a citizen, non-citizen or permanent resident; restricted to labour immigrants), knowledge of Latvian language. • Third country nationals recruited by employers to work in Latvia are linked to the employer who invited them, with no option to freely change employers or their employment position within the company (new work permit needed). • If migrant worker with a temporary residence permit become unemployed, his/ her residence permit is cancelled and the persons needs to leave the country. • These persons are also not entitled to unemployment benefits and services.
  12. 12. Labour immigration • Legislation stipulates that migrant workers must receive at least the average national gross monthly salary of the previous year – 481 LVL (685 EUR) in 2012. Minimum wage in 2013 set at 200 LVL (285 EUR). Plan to increase to 225 LVL (320 EUR) in 2014. Protection of low-skilled local labour, but also leaving the low-skilled jobs to the locals. • No formal work permit quotas, but the procedure and costs related to recruiting third country nationals were higher than in Estonia and Lithuania, and possessed a serious obstacle. • Changes in July 2008 – decreasing costs, establishing ‘one-stop agency’ for work permits. Employer had to pay a monthly fee of 35 LVL (50 EUR) for recruiting a third country national. In 2008 this became an annual fee, and in 2010 it was waived altogether.
  13. 13. Policy? • In 2007 government failed to adopt a migration policy document due to lack of interest in this issue (nationalistic party among coalition parties). The same situation in the present, when government’s action plan includes a goal of adopting a migration policy paper in 2013. • The action plan says that the aim is to establish a balanced system for the entry of foreigners that is in line with Latvia’s interests and facilitates economic growth. Based on this paper, new immigration legislation should also be adopted by the end of 2013. • Also need to evaluate the norm allowing third country nationals to get a temporary residence permit for 5 years after a purchase of a real estate (price tag for Riga, Riga region and other cities: 100,000 LVL, other places: 50,000 LVL)
  14. 14. Policy? • Ministry of Economy has estimated that approximately 120 thousand jobs would be created by 2030 as a result of economic growth. Additional 100 thousand jobs would become vacant due to the elder generation leaving the labour market. • Who will fill these vacancies? Competition for human resources with other EU countries and beyond. Why would people choose Latvia? • Working on the return of Latvians having emigrated. A plan to facilitate return migration adopted in the government in January 2013. But return migration mostly depends on the general socio- economic situation of Latvia. • Surveys show that 65% of emigrants don’t plan to return in the near future (5 years).
  15. 15. How large threats do the following aspects cause to Latvia? 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 90% 100 % Latvia's inhabitants emigrate Latvia loses its economic independence since large foreigncompanies take overandforce locals outof People fromothercountries come toLatvia tolookfor a betterlife Traditional moral standards change due tostandards thatcome fromothercountries andregions The arrival of different(untraditional toLatvia) religion The arrival of differentcultures andtraditions Mixedmarriages betweenLatvia's inhabitants and people of differentetchnicities andskincolor verylarge threat small threat nothreatatall difficulttosay/no answer Source: Market research centre SKDS. ‘Nacionālo ideju popularitāte sabiedrībā, Latvijas iedzīvotāju aptauja’ (Popularity of nationalistic ideas among the population. A survey of Latvia’s inhabitants), July 2012, commissioned by the Alliance of European Conservatives and Reformists.
  16. 16. What is your attitude towards the willingness of people from other countries to come to work and live in Latvia? Source: DnB Nord Latvijas barometrs, survey conducted on February 2011, N= 1005 Latvia’s inhabitants, respondents could agree to multiple statements
  17. 17. From which countries or groups of countries would it be desirable to let in immigrants from? % Source: Market research centre SKDS. ‘Nacionālo ideju popularitāte sabiedrībā, Latvijas iedzīvotāju aptauja’ (Popularity of nationalistic ideas among the population. A survey of Latvia’s inhabitants), July 2012, commissioned by the Alliance of European Conservatives and Reformists. 0 5 10 15 20 25 30 35 40 45 50 Difficult to say/ no answer Immigration should not be allowed under no circumstances Other countries African countries India China Countries of Middle East Other countries of NIS Russia, Belarus, Ukraine EU countries
  18. 18. Attitudes towards migrants’ impact on social and economic processes Source: NI: Dimensijas. Vēsturiskā atmiņa. LU SZF. Survey conducted in 2010, N= 1004 Latvia’s inhabitants, % of respondents according to ethnic origin (identification), “absolutely agree” and “rather agree” answers were summed up. Quoted in: Human Development report of Latvia 2010/2011
  19. 19. • Latvians behave as the “endangered majority”: everyone should live where they were born • 18% Latvians think that citizenship should not be granted to people who want to keep their traditions and culture, 7% Russians agree. 36% Latvians think that citizenship should not be granted to migrants, 15% Russians agree. (2010 survey, LU) • Cultural and linguistic assimilation?! • 70% do not support state budget expenditure on immigrant integration, thus the main funding source remains the European Fund for the Integration of Third Country Nationals (75% EU funding, 25% national co-funding; activities since 2009 are sporadic due to institutional changes) • Since 2009 the institutional responsibility for migrant integration policy has changed 4 times! Public opinion
  20. 20. • Comparing the legislation of 31 European and North American countries, Latvia’s situation was evaluated as the least favourable for migrants and their children (2011 study, data for May 2010) • Latvia has projects, but no coherent strategy on migrant integration • Catching up, but not enough: still last of all 31 countries (keeping the worst record as in the 2007 study) www.mipex.eu Migrant integration policy index (MIPEX)
  21. 21. Conclusions • Question about people: who will live in Latvia? Whom do we want to live in Latvia? How do we manage public services with limited resources – weaker provision of services, higher taxes, or more people contributing their resources? • To enhance the return of Latvians, the society needs to realize and be ready to increasing diversity of Latvia’s population, with spouses from other countries and more ‘mixed’ children living in Latvia. • Immigration is inevitable, a reality. Need to manage risks, mainly due to lack of policies and negative public attitudes thanks to the Soviet migration experience, integration of Russian-speaking population, especially as the majority of migrants come from Russia, Ukraine and Belarus able to survive without learning Latvian language.
  22. 22. • Experience with the Russian-speaking population in Latvia has shown that we should not build isolated communities. We need cooperation instead of parallel worlds. But we don’t need melting pots or 2 salad bowls. • Communities developing together, but people keeping their own chosen identities. Practicing that all people living in a country are shaping this community. • Need to ensure equal rights and responsibilities – paying taxes, observing legislation, participating in decision making (only citizens are allowed to vote in local (municipality) elections; consultative council for immigrant integration established in 2013) • Need to support people learning Latvian language while also keeping the knowledge of mother tongue • Need to support access to public services and institutions (migrants don’t know the local situation!) • Need more open citizenship policies – newly born, high school graduates, dual citizenship (adopted in May 2013) Conclusions

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