OREANDA-NEWS  On Thursday, the Latvian Seimas adopted in final reading a law expanding the circle of Russians with permanent residence permits who need to pass a proficiency test in the state language.

According to the press service of the Seimas, the adopted amendments to the immigration law state that Russian citizens who have received permanent residence permits in accordance with the so-called law on foreigners will have to pass a test for proficiency in the state language. This law, which became invalid on May 1, 2003 with the entry into force of the Immigration Law, provided that permanent residence permits could be obtained by those foreigners whose place of residence was registered in Latvia on July 1, 1992 and who were registered in the register of residents.

The adopted amendments established that permanent residence permits for such Russian citizens will be valid until July 15 next year, if the Office for Citizenship and Migration Affairs (UDM) does not receive the documents necessary for obtaining permanent resident status of the European Union (EU) by June 30, 2025.

For those who, in order to apply for permanent resident status in the EU, will need proof of proficiency in the state language, the residence permit will be valid until November 17 next year, provided that by June 30, 2025, information is received that a particular person has been tested for proficiency in the state language at least once and has been re-checked and UDGM will not receive the necessary documents to obtain permanent EU resident status until October 31 next year.

The new requirements will apply to about 5,000 Russian citizens, representatives of the Latvian Interior Ministry noted earlier. People under the age of 75 will have to confirm their knowledge of the language.