She believes that due to Covid-19, Latvia should review its visa policy

The Minister admitted that Latvia should review its visa policy, especially with those countries where the rates of infection with Covid-19 are quite high. According to her, the procedure for issuing visas with citizens of Russia and Belarus needs to be reviewed and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs tomorrow, July 14, at a government meeting will present a proposal on how to change the procedure for issuing visas with citizens of these countries.

She also acknowledged that passenger testing at the airport was low, but she also added that in this case it was necessary to assess whether it was worth having a whole Emergency Medical Service (NMPD) brigade at Riga Airport due to ten arriving passengers. “Of course, the possibility of opening a test point at the airport is being assessed, if it is not provided by the NMPD, then the airport is also ready to attract a private laboratory,” the minister said.

It has already been reported that Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkēvičs (JV) already last week allowed the possibility that the system of temporary residence permits should be reviewed in order to reduce the spread of Covid-19.

Discussing the proposals of the Ministry of Health (MoW) to strengthen certain restrictions to reduce the spread of Covid-19, Rinkēvičs called these restrictions “soft”. At the same time, the Minister informed about the statistics of foreign arrivals, especially from countries such as Russia and Belarus, which still have a high number of Covid-19 cases.

Rinkēvičs pointed out that the majority of citizens of these countries who arrive in Latvia have mainly received work-related visas, for example, 39% of visas have been issued to seafarers. At the same time, the Foreign Minister called for a discussion on the revision of the temporary residence permit system.

“We also put people with residence permits in Latvia during the emergency. I am not sure that they are sitting in self-isolation for two weeks,” Rinkēvičs said, adding that this is an issue worth discussing.

The Minister of Agriculture Kaspars Gerhards (VL-TB / LNNK) also pointed out the problem that more people from Covid-19 affected sectors visit Latvia, therefore the system of temporary residence permits in Latvia should be reviewed.

Dimitrij Trofimov, State Secretary of the Ministry of the Interior, acknowledged that this issue should be seen in the context of European policy on the granting of entry permits.

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