Changes with Respect to Work Remuneration for Employees from Third Countries

By: Ints Skaldis

In February this year, amendments to the regulation concerning the amount of funding necessary for a foreign national have come into effect[1], prescribing changes with regard to the minimum work remuneration to employees from the so-called third countries (the said does not apply to citizens of EU and EEA). Upon inviting third-country nationals to work in Latvia, the minimum work remuneration will be tied to the average gross work remuneration in the industry where such employee is employed, or else, the average work remuneration across all industries. If the salary in an industry is below the average salary of all industries, then the minimum “reference point” shall be the remuneration in the specific industry.

Currently, the average gross monthly salary in Latvia (across the industries) is EUR 1537. At the same time, there is a number of industries where the average remuneration is lower, for example, accommodation and catering services (EUR 993), education (EUR 1247), transport and warehousing services (EUR 1477), etc. In these industries, instead of the current EUR 1537, the monthly work remuneration for a foreign national will be tied to the average salary in the industry. The said amendments will alleviate a possibility to hire employees from third countries in the industries where the remuneration is below the average.

Concurrently, the industries where the average gross monthly remuneration is above EUR 1537, for example, mining industry (EUR 1703), information and communications services (EUR 2549) etc. the minimum amount of the monthly remuneration will be tied to the average in the country without increasing the current threshold.

As regards to persons employed in the construction industry, the minimum gross monthly remuneration set forth in the general agreement of the industry is applicable, which is EUR 930 as of 1 January 2024. Those employed in the agricultural, forestry and fishing sectors who receive a long-term visa as seasonal workers have to be paid the average work remuneration of the respective industry in any case.

It is crucial to note that changes in employment contracts concluded with foreign nationals can be made only by amending them pursuant to Article 97 of the Labour Act. A unilateral decrease of the work remuneration is not allowed. Upon reaching an agreement with the current employees about changes in the work remuneration, it has to be reported to the Office for Citizenship and Migration Affairs within three business days.[2]

Information About the Current Average Remuneration Broken Down According to Industries Pursuant to Publicly Available Data[3].

LINE OF OPERATION Average gross monthly work remuneration[1]
Average gross monthly remuneration (across industries) 1573
A Agriculture, forestry and fishing 1545
A01 Crop and livestock production, hunting and related ancillary activities 1297*
A02 Forestry and logging 1784*
A03 Fishing 1539*
B Mining and quarrying 1703
C Manufacturing 1460
D Power, gas supply, heating supply and air conditioning 1972
E Water supply, sewage, waste management and rehabilitation 1519
F Construction** 1449**
G Wholesale and retail trade, repair of motor vehicles and motorcycles 1365
H Transport and warehousing 1477
I Accommodation and catering services 993
J Information and communications services 2549
K Financial and insurance activity 2678
L Real estate operations 1247
M Professional, scientific and engineering services 1967
N Activities of administrative and support services 1310
O Public administration and defence, compulsory social security 1810
P Education 1247
Q Health and social care 1654
R Arts, entertainment and recreation 1286
S Other services 1247

* Those persons who are employed in the agricultural, forestry and fishing industries who receive the long-term visa as seasonal workers shall have the average remuneration of the respective industry paid anyway.

** There is a valid general agreement in the construction industry which prescribes an obligation to pay the minimum monthly gross remuneration of EUR 930 or EUR 5.57 per hour to the persons employed in the construction industry.

NB! If the average gross monthly salary in the industry where the third-country national is employed is higher than the average monthly salary (gross) across the industries, then the required minimum amount of funds is equal to the average monthly gross remuneration across the industries (EUR 1537), and it is not tied to the average remuneration of the respective industry.

[1] 25 April 2017 Cabinet of Ministers Regulation No 225 “Regulation on the Amount of Financial Resources Required for a Foreign National and Identifying of the Existence of the Financial Resources”

[2] 28 January 2014 Cabinet of Ministers Regulation No 55 “Regulation on Employment of Foreign Nationals”, Section 11.

[3] The currently established minimum amount of financial resources required for the foreign national is tied to the work remuneration data per year 2023.

[4] Portal of official statistics. Monthly average remuneration of employees broken down into lines of operations in the year 2023.

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Ints Skaldis
Senior Associate / Latvia