In accordance with amendments to Section 9, Paragraph seven of the Immigration Law, the current procedure for granting of the European Union Blue Card and right to employment for foreigners is being changed.
It is determined that the labour payment for requesters of the European Union Blue Card, who will be employed in the profession, included in the list of professions approved by the Cabinet of Ministers, where the significant shortfall of labour force is projected, will be determined pursuant to the average monthly gross payment of employees working in the Republic of Latvia in the previous year by applying the rate 1.2 (currently - 1.5).
At the same time it is determined that in cases, when a foreigner will be employed in the profession, which is included in the list of professions approved by the Cabinet, where a significant shortfall of labour force is projected, the vacant position applied to the State Employment Agency (hereinafter - the SEA) shall be vacant for at least 10 working days (currently a month). Thus the requirements for acquisition of the right to employment are facilitated for professions, where a significant shortfall of labour force is projected. Facilitated provisions for receipt of the EU Blue Card will be applied to foreigners, namely, it is planned that the requirement of the higher education of three years in the relevant speciality or industry may be substituted with the professional experience of five years in the relevant speciality or industry.
Procedure, according to which the professional experience may be acknowledged as appropriate, shall be determined by the Cabinet of Ministers. Amendments provide to reduce the term for review of documents for receipt of the EU Blue Card up to 10 working days, the general term for adoption of the decision in the case of requesting of temporary residence permit is 30 days. After adoption and coming into force of the draft Cabinet Regulation, the Ministry of Economics plans to perform further assessment of professions included in the draft Cabinet Regulation and impact of Cabinet Regulation on the number of issued work permits, while working on the next Informative Report on the medium and long-term projections for the labour market in the 2nd Quarter of 2018. The list of professions will be further updated as per need, taking into account the situation on the labour market and regular projections of the labour market updated by the Ministry of Economics.
Draft Cabinet Regulation “List With Specialities (Professions), Where a Significant Shortfall of Work Force is Projected and Where Foreigners May be Invited to Work in the Republic of Latvia” (hereinafter - Draft Regulation) determines the professions, where requirements for acquisition of the right to employment will be facilitated, thus accelerating the process for preparation of work permits for foreigners as well as increasing the availability of highly qualified work force for employers in Latvia.
The list of professions referred to in the Draft Regulation (hereinafter - list of professions) is prepared on the basis of the Profession Classifier referred to in Cabinet Regulation No. 264 “Regulation On Profession Classifier, Principal Duties Corresponding to a Profession and Basic Requirements for Classification”, adopted on 23 May 2017, where each profession is classified pursuant to a 6 digit code.
Professions included in the list of professions are summarized according to professions of particular industry (in accordance with the recommendation of the Ministry of Welfare).
Professions, subject to preferences referred to in Section 9, Paragraph seven of the Immigration Law, were determined by using the data being at the disposal of the Ministry of Economics regarding the projected shortfall of work force, identifying the separate groups of the professions (division of professions included in the Profession Classifier on the four digit level), where employers face shortfall of labour force and see the need to attract guest workers.
In order to determine from the above mentioned professions the professions, which should be further on included in the list of professions, the two level selection of professions was carried out:
1)professions, where insufficiency of labour force may adversely impact the economical growth of Latvia in near future, were identified. The medium and long-term estimates of the labour market of the Ministry of Economics were used as a basis for analysis.
The key indications for selection of professions in this stage were included:
(a) a shortfall of labour force is to be expected in the profession in the medium term;
(b) the relevant profession is significant for development of industries with high value added (or industries related to them);
2) professions, where the challenge to fill up the vacant position is directly related to shortfall of labour force rather than low compensation level in the profession, were removed from the initial list. Data of the SEA, State Revenue Service and OCMA regarding vacant positions, job seekers, average salary for professions and issued work permits were used for the analysis.
The requirement that the average salary rate for the profession should not be below the average level of the basic group of the relevant profession was included in the analysis as one of the basic indications for selection of professions.