Responding to the Global Detention Project’s Covid-19 survey, the Latvian Office of Citizenship and Migration Affairs, acting as contact point for the European Migration Network (EMN), reported that Latvia had not established a moratorium on new immigration detention orders and that it was not considering the measure. No immigration detainees have been released and they have only been informed about protective measures to prevent the spread of Covid-19. EMN Latvia also indicated that detainees are tested if they present any symptoms of the disease. Newly arrived migrants and asylum seekers staying in detention centres are placed in medical isolation for 14 days under supervision of medical staff. The GDP is aware of two immigration detention centres that are in operation in the country: the Mucenieki and Daugavpils detention centres.
According to the European Migration Network, non-citizens residing in Latvia whose legal residence period has expired after 13 March, may remain in the country during the state of emergency without the need to obtain a new document and retain the right to employment established by the residence permit or visa. In addition, on 3 April, the Latvian Parliament passed a law detailing the operations of state institutions during the state of emergency. According to the legislation, municipalities may grant social services and assistance to target groups not specified in the Law on Social Services and Social Assistance. In effect, this means that all non-citizens with a valid residence permit may apply for such assistance.
The Latvian Red Cross social workers and social mentors have been regularly providing information on security measures for refugees and asylum seekers living in the asylum centre of Mucenieki (80 persons, including 11 pupils) and in the city of Riga (19 people, 6 of them pupils). In cooperation with the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies and the World Health Organisation, the Latvian Red Cross has developed information materials on preventive protection measures as well as on action to be taken when a person is suspected of being infected with Covid-19.
- EMN Latvia (Office of Citizenship and Migration Affairs), Global Detention Project’s Covid-19 survey, 16 July 2020.
- Global Detention Project, Immigration Detention in Latvia, May 2020, https://www.globaldetentionproject.org/countries/europe/latvia
- European Migration Network, “Special Annex to the 30th EMN Bulletin: EU Member States and Norway: Responses to Covid-19 in the Migration and Asylum Area: January – March 2020,” https://ec.europa.eu/home-affairs/sites/homeaffairs/files/00_eu_30_emn_bulletin_annex_covid_19.pdf
- European Commission, “Municipal Support Available for Foreign Nationals in Latvia During Covid-19 Emergency,” 22 April 2020, https://ec.europa.eu/migrant-integration/news/municipal-support-available-for-foreign-nationals-in-latvia-during-covid-19-emergency
- Latvian Red Cross, “Refugees and Asylum Seekers are Provided with Safety Information of Covid-19 in Latvia,” 22 March 2020, http://www.redcross.lv/en/refugees-and-asylum-seekers-are-provided-with-safety-information-of-covid-19-in-latvia/
- Mucenieki Reception Centre, (Wikimapia, “Asylum Seekers Reception Centre Mucenieki,” accessed on 21 July, http://wikimapia.org/10914964/Asylum-seekers-reception-centre-%E2%80%9CMucenieki%E2%80%9D)