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Eurofound's EU PolicyWatch collates information on the responses of government and social partners to the COVID-19 crisis, the war in Ukraine, rising inflation, as well as gathering examples of company practices aimed at mitigating the social and economic impacts.

Factsheet for measure LV-2022-19/2403 – measures in Latvia

Easing access to employment for Ukrainian refugees

Ukrainas bēgļu nodarbinātība

Country Latvia , applies nationwide
Time period Open ended, started on 05 May 2022
Context War in Ukraine
Type Legislations or other statutory regulations
Category Promoting the economic, labour market and social recovery
– Active labour market policies (enhancing employability, training, subsidised job creation, etc.)
Author Kriss Karnitis (EPC) and Eurofound
Measure added 23 May 2022 (updated 20 June 2022)

Background information

On 3 March 2022, the Latvian Parliament Saeima adopted the Law on Assistance to Ukrainian Civilians. The purpose of the Law is to provide assistance to Ukrainian civilians who leave Ukraine or who cannot return to Ukraine due to the armed conflict caused by the Russian Federation. The assistance specified in the Law is provided during the course of the armed conflict. Since it was introduced, the Law has been amended several times. The law determines how the employment of Ukrainian refugees will take place.

Content of measure

The law provides for the right of Ukrainian civilians to obtain a long-term visa with the right to employment without restrictions for up to one year. Employers employing Ukrainian citizens who have arrived in Latvia to flee the war do not have to meet several requirements that would normally be mandatory if the employee is a third-country national. Employers do not have to register the employer's vacancy with the State Employment Agency and do not have to ensure a wage not less than the average gross wage in Latvia in the previous year.

On 14 March 2022 the Law was amended with the norm that upon entering into employment, a Ukrainian civilian is entitled to a one-time allowance for start of the employment relationship. The amount of the allowance is one minimum wage which currently is €500. The amendments also stipulates that the employer is entitled to employ a Ukrainian civilian without the first compulsory medical examination for three months from the date of concluding the employment contract.

Use of measure

On 8 April 2022 the Ministry of Interior informed that 14,043 refugees have received documents with employment rights in Latvia. On 12 April 2022 la.lv news portal informed that more than 1,300 Ukrainians had applied for a job at the State Employment Agency (SEA) in the middle of last week, but this number has certainly increased now, as the number of visas issued to Ukrainians, which include a work permit, has increased several times since. The article also informs that currently, more than 7,000 vacancies have been registered with the SEA, indicating that the employer also wants to employ civilians from Ukraine.

Target groups

Workers Businesses Citizens
Migrants or refugees in employment
Does not apply to businesses Migrants or refugees

Actors and funding

Actors Funding
National government
Public employment service
National funds

Social partners

Social partners' role in designing the measure and form of involvement:

Trade unions Employers' organisations
Role Informed Informed
Form Not applicable Not applicable

Social partners' role in the implementation, monitoring and assessment phase:

  • Social partners jointly
  • Main level of involvement: Peak or cross-sectoral level

Involvement

Both peak level social partner organisations, the Employers’ Confederation of Latvia (LDDK) and the Free Trade Union Confederation of Latvia (LBAS) are actively involved in providing assistance to Ukraine and Ukrainian refugees in different forms. Regarding Government’s actions, both organisations have expressed their support. As usual, regarding changes in legislation, social partners are at least informed, often consulted and agreed on outcome.

On April 21, a meeting of the National Tripartite Cooperation Council (NTSP) took place, where the government and its social partners - LBAS and LDDK discussed the impact of the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the subsequent sanctions imposed on Russia on the Latvian economy and the well-being of the Latvian population.

Views and reactions

On 28 February LDDK had a meeting with the Government. Minister of Welfare Gatis Eglītis provided information on the draft law “Law on Support of Civilians of Ukraine”. The Minister pointed out that it is important that the adopted law contains flexible conditions related to the announcement of a vacancy in the State Employment Agency (SEA), the average salary in the country, etc.

The LDDK emphasized that the employment conditions should be as similar as possible in cases where the employer employs Latvian residents, except for the requirements regarding the state language and the mandatory health examination. This would avoid additional administrative burdens and remove any restrictions on the employment of these people.

The LBAS has participated in the drafting and adoption of the ETUC Resolution on Ukraine. The LBAS supports employment of Ukrainian refugees, however stresses that it is very important for Ukrainian refugees to know their rights.

Sources

  • 28 February 2022: LDDK agrees with the responsible ministries on coordinated cooperation in support of Ukraine (lddk.lv)
  • 14 March 2022: Legislative additional mechanisms to support the people of Ukraine (lvportals.lv)
  • 23 March 2022: LBAS: ETUC Resolution on Ukraine (arodbiedribas.lv)
  • 22 April 2022: The NTSP meeting discusses the impact of the war in Ukraine on Latvia's economic situation (lvportals.lv)
  • 23 May 2022: Law on Assistance to Ukrainian Civilians (likumi.lv)

Citation

Eurofound (2022), Easing access to employment for Ukrainian refugees, measure LV-2022-19/2403 (measures in Latvia), EU PolicyWatch, Dublin, https://static.eurofound.europa.eu/covid19db/cases/LV-2022-19_2403.html

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Disclaimer: This information has not been subject to the full Eurofound evaluation, editorial and publication process.