Latvia is a member of the European Union and the Schengen Agreement. Geographical closeness to Russia and prevalence of Russian language make Latvia a convenient launch pad for Western companies -- to enter Russian market -- as well as for non-residents of the European Union -- to enter the EU market.
Buying company in Latvia. Companies registered in Latvia have the same advantages for business activities within the EU as any company registered in any country of the EU, including the “Old Europe”. For example -- absence of customs barriers or opportunity to buy, sell and rent real estate in any country of the EU under facilitated procedure. To buy a company in Latvia is simple enough and much less expensive than in Western European countries.
Real estate. Latvian legislation gives foreigners an opportunity to buy as well as to lease real estate and land plots almost without restrictions. The procedure of purchase and registration is stable and simple. All real estate enters the common register -- the Land Registry what provides high reliability of the deals. Foreigners can buy real estate on credit. Real estate prices in Latvia had been falling down in 2008-2009 and stabilized in 2010. The growth in prices is expected in the nearest future.
Right of free movement within the EU. Foreign investors and real estate owners can apply for Latvian residence permit which gives an opportunity of free movement within countries of the Schengen Agreement.
Residence permit can be obtained by a person who invested no less than 25 thousand lats in the fixed capital of an enterprise. In addition a foreign investor, within the bounds of economical activity, has to pay taxes to the amount of no less than 20 thousand lats per year to the state or institutions of local government.
Residence permit can be also obtained by foreigners who own real estate in Riga and its surroundings or republican cities to the total amount of no less than 100 hundred lats or no less than 50 thousand lats if the property is located in other region.
Jobs, labour market. Level of employees’ education in Latvia is high enough and salaries are relatively low. But in recent years unemployment caused mass departures of able-bodied residents of various qualifications who sought jobs in the UK, Ireland and other Western European countries.
If you would like to make a career in Latvia you should take into account that 98% of Latvian companies are small and average-sized. Big factories are close to none in Latvia and foreign companies, as a rule, tend to have small offices here. So the possibilities of salaries and career growth here are quite limited.
Photo - Armen Khalatyan (Meeting.lv)