23-April, the Saeima adopted an extensive package of amendments to the immigration Law, including the deputies decided that the extension of the residence permit you will need to pay 5 000 Euro for each family member. Such drastic changes were made in the last, third reading, after the coalition during the week changed its policy in this matter. 29 April President Raimonds Vejonis has returned the amendments to Saeima for revision.
Taking into account the difficult situation with the state budget, it would be possible to understand the desire of lawmakers to begin to charge extra for a residence permit. But I dare say that imposing such a duty, Latvia risks losing his big opportunity.
Such a statement is self-explanatory, and I would like to point out some historical Parallels with Hong Kong 40-ies of the last century. At that time Hong Kong was an important port and naval base of great Britain. However, the population of this British colony was only a few hundred people, and next to a huge China. China at that time was experiencing one of the most difficult historical periods, the country was torn by a bloody civil war, which ended with the victory of the Communists in 1949, the year. For the economy of Hong Kong it is very difficult times, as it came to power in China the Communists began to reorient their trade toward the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe. In turn, the United States persuaded the United Nations (UN) to impose an embargo on trade with China. As a result, the economy of Hong Kong, which was geared to transit from China, "dried up". Something this story reminds us, isn't it?
However, in those trying times have occurred and a different twist. Before the victory of the Communists who stood at the helm of industry of Shanghai entrepreneurs began to transfer their production and capital to Hong Kong to avoid clashes with a corrupt government of the nationalists. It should be noted that the British colony at the time, strongly motivated to such actions, providing favorable conditions for business registration and transfer of production. The victory of the Communists accelerated the process of transfer of financial human resources.
Managing the archive of documents of Hong Kong at the Hoover institution at Stanford University Ming Cha describes the event that time as a "link of Chinese capitalism to Hong Kong". In comparison with the socialist economy of China, the British colony looked like the edge of possibilities and the "Paradise of capitalism". A Kong filled with people and financial capital. Almost overnight, from a sleepy colonial warehouse Hong Kong has become a regional industrial and financial centre. This happened largely because of economic immigrants. International trading company located in Hong Kong, quickly helped to find a market for the future of the industry. The rest, as they say, is history. In 2013, the year of the gross domestic product per capita of the population of this once backward country totaled 38,123 USD, 2.5 times more than in Latvia (world Bank).
Of course, history rarely repeats itself, and all the Parallels with the events of the past should be performed very cautiously and carefully. But it gives very useful information for reflection. I have repeatedly spoken about the main challenges for Latvia's economy, and that emigration is one of the major threats to the economy and the welfare of our country. About what is happening in the neighboring country we usually say as a threat to the security of Latvia, however, it may well be that at the same time it is also a possibility for the Latvian economy.
You should carefully analyze how representations of inhabitants of Latvia about the typical applicant for a residence permit as about Russian oligarchs are true. Especially, taking into account the trends of the last two years.
For example, in October 2014, the year many former journalists of the Russian news portal Lenta.ru moved to Latvia together with the editor Galina Timchenko here to develop our independent media project Meduza. Those same journalists, who had submitted their resignations protesting the decision about the dismissal of Timchenko from the post editor, adopted by the then owner of the portal and associate of Vladimir Putin, Alexander Mamut. Do the Latvian legislators their initiative wanted to bring against these people? There are many other examples. You can make a list of the names of filmmakers, writers, journalists, actors, who for the last couple of years, together with their families moved to Latvia.
The sudden initiative of the Seimas may close doors to all these people who are neither oligarchs nor supporters of Russia in the existing political regime. It will also be a strong signal for many other talented and courageous individuals who appreciate the opportunity to move to Latvia. Not to mention the fact that such actions speak about Latvia as about the country, about consistency, predictability and the possibility of making informed and balanced decisions in our state.
The extra money can come in the budget of the country, this time is not worth it to abandon a historic opportunity to bring human resource and financial capital, which can amount to billions of euros.
At the same time it is impossible not to agree with deputies that it is necessary to ensure that the General gave direct benefits and the state budget. And the best way in this case, in my opinion, is the transformation of the estate tax in the "tax the rich", as recently proposed by the Minister of economy Given Reizniece-Ozola. A decision on the issue for five thousand deputies should be changed.