Latvia: New law on assistance for people from Ukraine – European Commission

On 3 March 2022 Latvia adopted the Law on Assistance to Ukrainian Civilians outlining reception and integration support measures for persons fleeing Ukraine due to Russia’s military aggression in the country.
The law provides for thegranting of visas for a period of one year, with right to employment, to all Ukrainians with valid travel documents (biometric passports) and, by amendments passed on 10 March 2022, the granting of residence permits for a one year to persons from Ukraine without valid travel documents. Further amendments to the law prescribe temporary protection for Ukrainian civilians in Latvia, reconciling it with both Latvian Asylum Law and the EU Temporary Protection Directive.
The law also guarantees state-funded primary support (accommodation and food) to Ukrainian civilians for a period of 90 days. As prescribed by the Rules on the Provision of Accommodation and Catering Services to Ukrainian Civilians, accommodation and food is to be provided by municipalities and paid for by the state, with a maximum allocation of 20 EUR for accommodation per person per day. As of 31 March, more than 17 000 Ukrainian refugees had registered with local civil defence committees in Latvia, more than 6 700 of whom had already been accommodated by municipalities.
The law stipulates that Ukrainian civilians are entitled to the same social assistance, health care, education and employment services as Latvian citizens. The social assistance package consists of a range of allowances and services, as well as a one-time crisis benefit of 272 EUR to all adults and 190 EUR to all minors arriving from Ukraine. The law defines Ukrainian civilians as a group at risk of social exclusion.
The law grants Ukrainian civilians access to state-funded healthcare services to the same extent as Latvian nationals insured under the state compulsory health insurance. Like other vulnerable social groups, Ukrainian civilians are exempt from patient co-payments, unless they are insured in accordance with the Law on State Social Insurance.
Arrivals from Ukraine also have access to a simpler employment procedure under the new law, as it lifts the requirement for employers to register their vacancies with the State Employment Agency and to provide no less than the national average gross salary. It also relaxes requirements for the employment of Ukrainians as medical professionals, psychologists, sports and education specialists. All Ukrainian civilians are entitled to a one-off allowance in the form of a minimum monthly wage (500 EUR) upon commencement of employment.
According to the law, Ukrainian civilians are also entitled to free-of-charge public transport and free-of-charge visits to state museums.
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