15 Feb 2024 19:21

Latvian Constitutional Court upholds law obliging Russians to know Latvian language to have residence permit renewed

RIGA. Feb 15 (Interfax/BNS) - The Latvian Constitutional Court has ruled that the regulation obliging Russian citizens to prove their knowledge of the Latvian language in order to have their residence permit renewed is constitutional.

As the Constitutional Court ruled on Thursday, paragraph 58 of the current version of the transitional rules of the immigration law complies with the constitution. The court concluded that, in its essence, the contested norm, if considered systematically along with other legal norms, entitles Russian citizens to obtain new legal grounds for continuing to reside in Latvia, provided that they are motivated themselves to take the necessary steps for this, BNS news agency reported.

The contested norm applies to Russian citizens who were Latvian citizens or non-citizens permanently residing in Latvia with residence permits. The contested norm sets a deadline by which these residence permits remain valid, meaning essentially that these residence permits will become invalid upon the expiration of this deadline.

In assessing the contested norm's compliance with Article 4, Protocol 4 of the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, the Latvian Constitutional Court concluded that the contested norm does not envision an automatic expulsion from Latvia of Russian citizens who have been granted permanent residence permits based on Clause 8, Part 1 of Article 24 of the immigration law.

These individuals are entitled to acquire the status of permanent European Union residents, to apply for a new permanent residence permit, or to apply for a residence permit in Latvia with the aim of acquiring the status of a permanent EU resident or another type of residency within the next two years.