The Republic of Latvia is a Baltic state with a population of about 2 million, located in northeastern Europe between Estonia and Lithuania. Since 2004, Latvia has been part of the European Union, and in 2014 the country joined the euro area. Working in Latvia for expats in 2021 is a good reason for immigration to Europe in the long term.
For example, agriculture, woodworking, some industrial sectors, as well as transit services are developed. By the way, one of the most popular and demanded vacancies in Latvia is a truck driver. But other foreign specialists are also required, the same builders and representatives of blue-collar professions. Doctors and IT specialists are in demand.
Over the past 20 years, the country’s population has been steadily declining, young Latvians are striving for more developed European countries, therefore, to increase the economic potential, the government is interested in attracting labor from abroad. The unemployment rate in Latvia is in the region of 8-9%.
Next, we will learn how to find a job in Latvia without intermediaries, consider the available vacancies and salaries in 2021, as well as the basic requirements for foreigners.
Employment in Latvia for foreigners
Because Latvia is part of the EU, the requirements for hiring foreigners are not much different from other European states. That is, for legal employment on Latvian territory, foreigners need to find an employer in advance, obtain a work permit, then open a work visa at the Latvian Consulate and issue a residence permit with the right to professional employment.
A mandatory requirement for a Latvian company when accepting an employee from abroad is to inform the State Employment Agency of Latvia (hereinafter – GAZ) about this. Thus, the local authorities make sure that residents or citizens of one of the EU countries do not apply for a vacancy for at least a month. For some categories of foreign specialists, such confirmation is not required, for example:
- athletes, coaches, representatives of creative professions: actors, artists, composers, directors, dancers and so on;
- holders of the EU Blue Card;
- foreign teachers at accredited Latvian universities;
- technical personnel involved in organizing cultural or sports events;
- officials, experts, and consultants who carry out professional activities in Latvia based on international agreements;
- businessmen working in their own Latvian company, subject to certain conditions.
If the application for hiring an expatriate specialist is approved by the employees of GAZ Latvia, the Latvian employer will send the applicant a job invitation, previously registered with the Office for Foreigners under the local Ministry of Internal Affairs. After that, you can apply to the Consulate of Latvia in your country for a work visa.
Usually, the first residence permit is issued for a period of up to one year, with the right to extend it for up to 5 years, after which it becomes possible to obtain a permanent residence, and subsequently Latvian citizenship. Changing employers is not permitted during the first year. To do this, you will need to go through the entire procedure again.
How to find a job in Latvia. Job search without intermediaries.
Before you start looking for a job in Latvia, you need to assess your chances of successful employment. First of all, this concerns language proficiency and qualifications. To independently search for a prestigious and well-paid job in Latvia in 2021, in most cases, you will need to know the Latvian language at a good level.
Certain types of professions, especially those regulated or related to the state structures of Latvia, require skills in the local language without fail. Private Latvian companies can accept expats at their discretion, depending on the functional responsibilities of the candidate. Working in Latvia without knowing the language is mostly unskilled labor or companies aimed at interacting with foreigners.
Basic job search options in Latvia
First of all, visit the official website of the Latvian employment agency – nva.gov.lv. Here you can find a lot of informational materials about the Latvian labor market, available vacancies, and other useful information for job seekers.
Popular job search sites in Latvia
- Dienas Bizness
- Baltic Times
Use professional social network Linkedin and personal contacts. Very often, with the help of relatives and friends, it is possible to find work in Latvia much faster.
Jobs and salary in Latvia
In terms of wages, the Republic of Latvia ranks last in the European Union. In 2021, the net average wage in Latvia is 812 euros per month. Fewer wage earners receive only in neighboring Lithuania, as well as Bulgaria, Hungary, and Romania.
The minimum wage in Latvia from January 1, 2021, is 500 euros.
Available vacancies in Latvia for expats in 2021 are international drivers (truckers), engineers, builders, IT specialists. Sometimes workers are required in the wood products, pharmaceuticals, health care, and social sectors. Salaries here reach 1000 euros per month, sometimes even more.
Unskilled work in Latvia is especially popular among expats. These are nannies, nurses, housekeepers, movers, waiters, salesmen, cook assistants, and other professions. A special place is occupied by seasonal employment in Latvia in agriculture for the harvest. Earnings in these areas leave much to be desired, no more than 500-600 euros.
Work visa to Latvia
For entry into Latvia and official employment for more than 3 months, foreigners must obtain a long-term visa (type D) and a residence permit with the right to conduct professional activities. This is done through the Consulate of Latvia in your country. In each case, the department staff will provide the necessary assistance and clarify the list of required documents.
Documents for work visa and residence permit in Latvia
- Completed application forms, separately for a visa and a residence permit.
- A valid international passport.
- Three color photographs (3.5×4.5 cm).
- Medical insurance with coverage of at least 42.6 thousand euros.
- Certificate of no criminal record.
- Confirmation of the availability of a place to live in Latvia (real estate or lease agreement).
- A copy of the employment contract and an invitation from a Latvian employer.
The consular fee for a work visa is 61.18 euros. The list of documents for a residence permit is considered from 5 to 30 working days. Depending on the situation, employees of the Latvian Embassy and the Office for Foreigners may request additional information.