By this October the one-stop-agency Information Centre for Newcomers (ICN) operating all over Latvia, has provided information and support to 701 foreign nationals* from 49 countries outside the European Union. Support was also provided to 33 specialists from different areas, who are working with this target group. Overall, this year 1171 consultations were provided, of which 1005 in person, on different legal, education and employment matters.
The head of ICN Gunta Vīksne indicates that the most popular topics of consultations are migration matters, including reception and extension of residence permits, employment and business opportunities in Latvia. Customers frequently want consultations about health care, education and family reunification matters. “This year most support has been provided to citizens of India, China, Pakistan, Turkey, Afghanistan, Syria. A big share of consultations have been provided to citizens of Ukraine, Russia, Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan, Belarus. People, who received the first consultation, often contact us for assistance again.” G.Vīksne notes that most consultations are provided in the capital. “The explanation for this fact is that most of immigrants are staying in Riga, including students, who use the services provided by our centre”.
Psychologist’s services are also available in the centre and this year have been used by 11 customers – 48 consultations have been provided in total.
G.Vīksne emphasises that all the ICN services are available to customers free of charge.
In order to ensure high quality communication with ICN customers, ICN has 24 translators and language specialists with knowledge of 11 languages: Arabic, Kurdish, Dari, Chinese, Spanish, Vietnamese, Turkish, Hindi, Tigrinya, Georgian, Sorani. In nine months the interpreting service has been provided 1302 times to 218 foreign nationals. Interpreter services were also provided to the specialists working with foreigners. For the purposes of communication with customers the interpreter service was most frequently provided to medical staff in hospitals, polyclinics, to the State Employment Agency, the Latvian Centre for Human Rights, banks, as well as social workers and social mentors.
ICN invites to get free consultations by phone, e-mail or in person – applying for a visit in advance:
ICN Riga office:
Information lines: +371 25565098, + 371 28612120
Address: Lacplesa Street 75 – 1B, Riga
Additional information: +371 67898343
ICN regional focal point “Latgale” in Daugavpils:
Information line: +371 25723222
ICN regional focal point “Zemgale” in Jelgava:
Information line: +371 25719588
ICN regional focal point “Vidzeme” in Cēsis:
Information line: +371 25719266
ICN regional focal point “Kurzeme” in Liepāja:
Information line: +371 25719118
ICN began its work as a one-stop-agency on 18 May 2016. ICN Riga office operates as a coordinating centre in Latvia. It provides assistance in dealing with problems of a particular customer and supports the ICN focal points/branches in the regions (in Cesis, Jelgava, Liepaja and Daugavpils) with regard to provision of services, ensures professional support to service providers in all municipalities in Latvia, coordinates awareness and availability of services to various groups of immigrants.
The activity of the Information Centre for Newcomers within the framework of the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund is ensured and developed by the NGO “Shelter “Safe House””. The centre is co-funded by the European Union. Grant Agreement No. PMIF/12/2017/2/01.
*A third-country national is a person who is not a citizen of the member states of the European Union, the European Economic Area or the Swiss Confederation.
Information prepared by Rasa Salina (Rasa Saliņa), Multimedia Communications Specialist, phone 29145314, e-mail: email@example.com