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International Internet Magazine. Baltic States news & analytics Monday, 18.06.2018, 20:05

Around 20 apartments have to be checked out to find housing for an asylum seeker in Latvia

BC, Riga, 14.07.2017.Print version
Social workers have to personally arrive at and check out around 20 apartments to find appropriate housing for an asylum seeker, Sandra Zalcmane, the head of Shelter Safe House nongovernmental organization, said in an interview with LNT commercial TV channel this morning, informs LETA.

In her words, most landlords are still unwilling to let their property out to asylum seekers, as they worry about the immigrants’ ability to pay their rent. Zalcmane said, however, that there are also people who do not mind letting foreigners into their property and that the overall attitude to asylum seekers has become more accepting.


Some positive trends have also been observed in the asylum seekers’ employment, as more and more entrepreneurs are ready to offer jobs to asylum seekers with minimal knowledge of the Latvian language.


Zalcmane also noted that in the approximately three months asylum seekers spend in Latvia waiting for authorities to process their asylum applications they cannot acquire all the necessary knowledge about Latvia’s political system, labor and housing market, let alone learning the language.


The head of the NGO said families with children mostly inquire about education and healthcare opportunities in Latvia, while those asylum seekers who arrive in Latvia alone want to find housing and work as soon as possible.


Zalcmane said that around ten refugees have found sufficiently well-paying jobs so that they can sustain themselves in Latvia, but that only some 20 asylum seekers have permanently settled down in Latvia, which means that the overwhelming majority of the asylum seekers arriving in Latvia under the EU-wide relocation program leave the Baltic country as soon as they can.


At present, Shelter Safe House is working with 340 clients, 80 of whom have arrived in Latvia on their own.

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