Jānis Zelmenis


31 October, 2011

After Latvia offered foreign investors to obtain temporary residence permits, the Russian business community and therefore the media interest in investment opportunities in Latvia increased significantly. To clarify the situation, Janis Zelmenis gave interviews in Moscow to major business media of this country – Kommersant, RBC Daily, and Kommersant Dengi.

Russian journalists seemed to be interested in such topics as influence of this country's business structure on Latvia, amount and structure of funds invested by Russian companies as well as the advantages that our country can offer to attract business interest, including possibility of obtaining a temporary residence permit.

Explaining the situation, Janis Zelmenis pointed out that Latvia can offer to foreign companies not only the freedom to travel within the Schengen countries, but also the possibility to develop their business. “An important advantage of deciding in favour of investments in Latvia is our country's membership in the European Union and the benefits of participation in it – different types of business support measures, opportunity to enter the EU market and access to finance. In turn, one of the main drawbacks is population outflow and a lack of clear national development strategy,” J.Zelmenis explained to the Kommersant newspaper.

It shall be recalled that in July last year, amendments to the Immigration Law came into force, which provided an opportunity for foreign investors to receive temporary residence permits by investing in the authorized capital of the companies registered in Latvia, acquiring real estate or making financial investment in a Latvian credit institution. Citizens of Russia and other CIS countries are interested in the privilege of free travel in the Schengen countries without a visa, and, unlike many other Schengen countries, Latvia does not require residence permit recipients to reside in our country.
It is estimated that the total investment amount received for more than a year due to possibility of granting residence permits exceeds Ls 100 million. The Latvian real estate market, especially in Jurmala and Riga centre, has become more active. Residence permits have been requested by more than 1000 people, including family members of investors.