Employment of foreigners

The right to employment is certified by the entry in a visa or residence permit issued to the foreigner. If an employer cannot find a suitable employee in Latvia or other European Union and European Economic Area (EU/EEA) country, he has the rights to hire an employee from a non-EU/EEA country. Employment of the foreigner can be based on:

  • employment contract
  • other agreement.

If a Latvian employer wants to employ a foreigner by signing an employment contract:

  • the employer has to register the vacancy with the State Employment Agency (SEA);
  • the employer has to submit his invitation letter for a visa (for short-term employment) or request of residence permit (for long-term employment) with employment contract and other documents to the Office of Citizenship and Migration Affairs (OCMA);
  • the foreigner has to submit documents for registration of a visa or a residence permit to diplomatic or consular representation of the Republic of Latvia abroad;
  • the foreigner has to register with the State Revenue Service as a tax payer.

The recruitment procedure can be initiated if the vacancy has not been filled within 10 working days. The right to employment is granted without vacancy registration only in the exceptional cases, for example, for artists, composers, sportsmen/coaches, teachers and university professors, potential EU Blue Card holders, etc. Seasonal workers are granted a long-term visa for the time period up to 6 months during 12 month period.

In 2020, changes in the management of legal migration were introduced by legislation related to the control of the spread of COVID-19 infection and introducing certain conditions and limitations for employers in attracting foreigners, if a foreigner is from high or particularly high COVID-19 risk country (it is limited to specific functions and jobs, according to criteria, provided by law).

Before employing a foreigner please check whether the prospective employee has been granted the right to employment according to the validity of visa or temporary residence permit without attesting the invitation to work!

If a foreigner wants to receive a visa and the right to employment, the necessary amount of financial means, or salary paid by the employer, should not be less than remuneration for work pursuant to the average gross monthly work remuneration of persons working in the Republic of Latvia for the previous year (in accordance with the last information published by the Central Statistics Bureau) (in 2020 – EUR 1143 gross). This provision does not apply to citizens of EU/EEA countries. As concerns seasonal workers in the agriculture, forestry and fishery sector, the minimum amount of work remuneration shall be in accordance with the average monthly gross salary of employees in the planned employment sector of the foreigner.

For EU Blue Card applicants, the minimum salary shall not be below the average gross work remuneration in Latvia in the previous year, multiplied by coefficient 1.5. If a residence permit is requested by a foreigner who wishes to receive the EU Blue Card and who will be employed in a speciality (profession) which has been included by the Cabinet in the list of specialities (professions) in which significant labour shortages are expected, the minimum salary shall not be below the average gross monthly work remuneration by applying the coefficient 1.2.

Additional information about employment of foreigners is available on the website of the Office of Citizenship and Migration Affairs and the State Employment Agency.

Information can also be found in an informative guide on the website of the Investment and Development Agency of Latvia.

See also:

Regulation of the Cabinet of Ministers No.55 of 28 January, 2014 “Regulations Regarding Employment of Foreigners”

Regulation of the Cabinet of Ministers No.225 of 25 April, 2017 “Regulations regarding the Amount of Necessary Financial Means for a Foreigner and Procedures for the Determination of the Existence of Financial Means”

Regulation of the Cabinet of Ministers of 28 September, 2021 “Epidemiological Safety Measures for the Containment of the Spread of COVID-19 Infection”