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Foreign investors pay some 1 bln dollars for residence permits in Latvia
Brief:Foreign investors have paid about 1 billion U.S. dollars buying up properties in Latvia in order to obtain temporary residence permits in the Baltic country, according to a report drawn up by the Latvian Interior Ministry. Statistics show that the numbers for requesting temporary residence permits from Chinese investors surged from a total of 136 applications received from 2010-2012 to 789 applications in 2013 and the first half of 2014, making China the second biggest supplier of investors of t
Foreign investors have paid about 1 billion U.S. dollars buying up properties in Latvia in order to obtain temporary residence permits in the Baltic country, according to a report drawn up by the Latvian Interior Ministry.

The total value of property transactions related to the acquisition of residence permits in Latvia from July 1, 2010, to June 30, 2014, has come to 837.5 million euros (about 1.08 billion U.S. dollars), the ministry said in the report to the Latvian government.

The Latvian immigration authority, the Office of Citizenship and Migration Affairs, received 12,000 requests for temporary residence permits in the four-year period, including 5,267 applications from investors and 7,160 from their family members.

The Latvian immigration authority granted the permits in 94.7 percent of cases, the Interior Ministry said.

Statistics show that requests for temporary residence permits from Chinese investors have been growing steeply since last year. The number surged from a total of 136 applications received from 2010-2012 to 789 applications in 2013 and the first half of 2014, making China the second biggest supplier of investors of this kind after Russia.

It follows from the report that the amendments to the Latvian Immigration Law passed in 2010 and allowing foreigners to obtain temporary residence permits in exchange for investments in real estate have been fuelling the inflow of investment through property transactions in Latvia.

Latvia's seaside resort town Jurmala and the capital city Riga have been attracting the highest number of foreign investors, with nonresidents currently making up 70 percent of all property buyers in Jurmala. Foreigners are also the main buyers of expensive luxury properties in Riga and Jurmala, according to the report.

On Sept. 1, 2014, amendments to the Latvian Immigration Law came into effect, raising the minimum price foreigners must pay for properties to obtain temporary residence permits to 250,000 euros from 150,000 euros.

Under the amended law, investors seeking residence permits in Latvia are also required to pay 5 percent of the value of the purchased property into the Latvian budget. (1 euro = 1.29 U.S. dollars)
 

Xinhuanet
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