Migration is a natural part of life!
Migration is a natural part of life!
The webhome of “I am European” social campaign is an introduction into an awareness project, which aims to support a more open, inclusive and calm approach to migration and migrants. The project is being implemented in eight European countries, including Latvia, and the project partner in Latvia is Club “The House” – Youth for a United Europe. Club “The House” is the first youth organization in Latvia that primarily informs and educates young people about the European Union. The organization promotes the idea of European unity and the values of the EU – democracy, tolerance, multiculturalism and respect for human rights.
Migration is neither good nor bad, it is simply the reality in which we live. Our aim is to invite young people to discuss this issue, gather knowledge and notice the opportunities and challenges that migration brings to our society. The project focuses on raising the awareness of young people through a variety of activities – involving young journalists to develop balanced and fact-based media content and multipliers, including teachers, who carry out global migration education activities. Reaching young people through social media is an integral part of the project, which helps to open up the topic of migration to young people in a more personal and direct way and see people to identify within the stories of the project ambassadors.
The social media campaign “I am European” is launched by two young people who share their migration experiences. Beata Jonite, a student at the University of Oxford and opinion leader shares her impressions of studying abroad and the experience she will take back to her homeland, and Alexander William Blomqvist Eliasen, an AFS intercultural volunteer from Denmark who has lived in Latvia for 9 months, talks about his life in Riga from a foreigner’s point of view.
Mankind originates from Africa, where about 200,000 years ago people started to spread all over the world to places we now know as Europe, Asia, Australia and America. Today, with the help of the rapid development of technology, migration has become a daily companion for us. We travel in order to broaden our horizons, get to know different cultures, languages and people, study or work, start a family. However, people are also moving away from their homes due to wars, terrorism, climate or natural disasters. Contrary to popular belief, most people move within the borders of their home country, which exceeds the number of people moving between different countries by four times. This is also the case in Latvia, where people move mainly from the countryside to cities, especially to the capital Riga.
Migration affects people personally as well as socially and it is often the topic in public debates. Migration diversifies and enriches culture, economy and people’s worldview, giving them an opportunity to find similarities in each other.
In 2020, 13,966 residents of the European Union and 30,536 residents of other countries of the world lived in Latvia with temporary residence permits.
Global migration rates have remained virtually the same since 1960. International migrants account for 2.75% to 3.25% of the world’s population.
53,208 migrants have settled in Latvia with permanent residence permits, of which only 4,848 are persons from the European Union and the European Economic Area.
From 2015 to 2020, the number of people who have acquired Latvian citizenship has decreased by 25,4%.
From 1998 to 2019, 2,867 people applied for asylum in Latvia, of which 217 persons were granted refugee status, but 552 persons – subsidiary protection status.
The largest ethnic minority in Latvia is the Russian population (24,7%), followed by citizens of Belarus and Ukraine.
Both Riga and Latgale region have an intercultural society in which Latvians make up less than half of the population.
In Latgale, separate events are often organized for Latvians and Russian speakers, which raises concerns about the increase of segregation.
In recent years, the migration balance in Latvia has improved – the gap between incoming and outgoing permanent residents is narrowing.
It has been observed that the majority of Latvians move to the European Union member states, while Latvia is more often chosen for long-term living by those coming outside the European Union.
Most commonly long-term migrants are between 20 and 44 years old.
Statistics show that the majority of long-term migrants in Latvia are men.
Migration and citizenship policy in Latvia is supervised by the Ministry of the Interior, which controls the entry, exit and stay of foreigners, including other citizens of the European Union.
Diaspora policy in Latvia is supervised by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Its goal is not only to support compatriots abroad, but also to cooperate with the Latvian diaspora.
Integration and social policy in Latvia is supervised by the Ministry of Culture, creating an environment in which Latvians have the opportunity to reach common goals, feel safe, develop their talents, work and study.