The shortage of highly qualified specialists, which is currently experienced by a number of companies, particularly in manufacturing and ICT sectors, is hindering Latvia’s economic growth, growth in business productivity and attraction of investments, and therefore also the creation of well-paid jobs.
The issue of labour availability in Latvia is becoming increasingly pressing. The Ministry of Economics (MoE) predicts that the situation will become even more tense in the coming years. There is no shortage of people in Latvia, but there is a lack of staff with adequate skills in the Latvian centres of economic activity.
In order to ensure a balanced labour market and economic development in the medium term, on 20 February the Cabinet of Ministers approved a list of professions where there is a significant shortage of labour force and in which foreign specialists could be attracted by applying simplified conditions, preparing work permits in the cases, when third-country nationals are invited to work in the Republic of Latvia in these professions.
The list of professions is created:
- using data available to the MoE on the expected shortage of labour force;
- identifying professions where employers already face shortage of labour force (employers’ survey);
- forecasting, in which occupations a significant shortage of labour is expected in the near future.
The list of professions includes 237 professions/specialities (represent major groups 1-3 of the Classification of Occupations), incl.:
- scientists, physicists, chemists, mathematicians, statisticians – 49 occupations;
- information and communication technicians – 51 occupations;
- manufacturing technicians – 85 occupations;
- electrical technology and electrical and construction technicians – 36 occupations;
- financial analysis and management professionals – 7 occupations;
- fishing vessels sailing technicians – 2 occupations;
- aircraft pilots and maintenance technicians – 7 occupations.
The following incentives will be applied for the attraction of specialists included in the list of occupations:
- if an employee wishes to receive an EU Blue Card – the minimum remuneration shall not be lower than the average gross wage in Latvia in the previous year multiplied by factor 1.2 (instead of the current factor 1.5);
- in other cases – it will be possible to attract a foreigner for a vacancy, which has been registered at the State Employment Agency for at least 10 working days (the current requirement is no less than a month).
The Cabinet regulation does not provide for any other kind of advantages. The current conditions for regulated occupations (including knowledge of languages, relevant certificates, etc.) remain in force.
As it is known, on 2 February 2017, the Saeima approved amendments to the Immigration Law in their final reading, including several proposals made by the Ministry of Economy with a view to simplify entry conditions for highly qualified employees, as well as employees in occupations with a significant shortage of labour force.
Amendments to the Immigration Law created three important solutions for attracting highly qualified professionals and founders of startups, shortening and improving the overall process of attracting labour force and providing opportunities for foreign students to work 20 hours a week with any employer.
The EU Blue Card is a temporary residence permit introduced at the European Union level for highly skilled labour force not from the European Union and the European Economic Area countries, which gives them several advantages compared to national residence permits. For more information on the conditions of the European Union Blue Card see www.apply.eu and www.pmlp.gov.lv.
For more information on the process of preparation of work permits, when preparing temporary residence permits, see http://workinlatvia.liaa.gov.lv/ (in English).
Public Relations Division
Ministry of Economics