Work in Latvia | Everything you need to know
Lush and green country called Latvia is well-known for its stunning lakes, rivers and even waterfalls. A country full of expats who have made the same decision you are about to make now and warm nationals ready to welcome you in the society.
One of the most affordable countries in Europe can be a good place to start your journey by working abroad. If you are curious about what our Job offers in Latvia are, click HERE. Keep reading to find out more about this fast-paced country.
Latvia, officially known as the Republic of Latvia, is located by the Baltic Sea. The official language spoken is Latvian, many nationals can speak Russian as well. Its population of 1.9 million lives in an area of 64,589 km2. In 2014, when Latvia joined the European Union, the currency was changed to the euro (€). It’s a charming country with the capital in Riga, which is at the same time the biggest city. Their summers are rainy and warm while winters are very cold and windy. You will be surprised how much this small Baltic country has to offer.
5 Curiosities about Latvia
- Over half of the territory of Latvia is covered by forests. It’s one of the greenest countries in the world.
- It is said that Latvia is a WiFi paradise. Latvians can enjoy one of the fastest internet accesses in Europe
- Latvians flag is one of the oldest in the world. It was established back in the year 1280
- Their national sport is… ice hockey!
- Latvian women are the tallest in Europe, and one of the tallest in the whole world! The average height for ladies is 170cm.
Culture in Latvia
Latvia has been a history of tumultuous development for being just between western and eastern Europe, this means that there are clear signals of foreign activity. Latvians are proud of their country and their traditions from their ancestors, you can experience the Latvian folklore during the Summer Solstice or “Jani” holiday when they show many of their cultural traits in music, dance, arts and more through a lot of activities.
In the city of Riga and Sigulda, you can experience the traditional Opera during festivities if you’re a fan of music and performance.
Cuisine in Latvia
Because of the fact that many internationals live in Latvia, even many Latvians don’t know much about their real, national cuisine. Fortunately, despite the very high percentage of expats, there are people still keeping their core traditions alive. So what is Latvian cuisine like? It can be characterised as mildly spicy, latviavn don’t use a lot of spices in general. It’s heavy cuisine with a lot of calories.
Latvians love potatoes and beans, their favourite meat is pork. Beer is their most loved alcoholic drink. The national cuisine of Latvia is far from being called plain or boring, and here, as proof, you can read a few examples.
These are some of their most popular dishes
- Karbonāde (breaded pork chops)
- Aukstā zupa (cold beet soup)
- Kartupeļu pankūkas (potato pancakes with sour cream and berry jam)
- Frikadeļu zupa (meatball soup)
- Debesmanna (cranberry pudding)
Work in Latvia
Working in Latvia may be a great experience, especially for expats, they have many offers available in the capital Riga about customer service, IT services, sales and more suitable jobs for expats interested in moving to Latvia. The economy in Latvia is growing, and the IT field is increasing its activity in this well-located country along with the Tourism sector.
Salaries in Latvia varies whether you are in the Capital or in the rest of the country, in Riga you may find the highest salaries with an average of €1.300, while in the rest of the country the average is about €850, this may seem lower than other European countries but the low cost of living makes up for it.
The work culture in Latvia is a mixture with European culture in general, they are open to expats, actually, the majority of their workforce comes from expats, however they value privacy, this means that while you don’t bother them with awkward questions about family and their private life at work, you’ll be perfectly fine.
Work in Riga
Riga is the capital of Latvia and more than half of the population of the country lives here. Its perfect location with a harbour in the Baltic sea, make Riga an attractive destination for a growing economy, it is called “The Smart City” because of their economical growth in 2014. The leading fields are trade accounting, transport and manufacturing, but you can also find opportunities in the tourism industry.
Taxes in Latvia
Once you arrive in Latvia you need to apply for a Tax Identification Number. It’s your social security system number which contains 11 digits. With this number, you are entitled to use social security systems such as unemployment found. Latvia has adopted the Personal Income Tax system (PIT). That means the progressive rate is based on an annual income. E.g. for an annual income up to € 20 000 rate is 20%.
You can find more information by looking at this website
Finding accommodation in Latvia
Most of the accommodations for rent in Latvia are already furnished, so you don’t have to worry about it. It will save you a lot of time and effort. However, it’s still good to start looking for a place to stay before you will move there. The majority of expats decide to start living and working in Riga because most of the job opportunities are located there. To find accommodation remotely, you can visit websites like rentinriga.lv/en/apartment/rent. It’s also good to check Facebook groups with rental offers. Then, you will have an opportunity to contact your future landlord in person. If you would like to change accommodation after arrival, contact local agencies. They know the neighbourhood the best, however, remember you will have to pay a fee for their services.
In most cases, you will have to pay utilities on your own. Costs will depend on the area you live in. The highest costs of accommodation will be in the capital city – Riga, close to the city centre. If you want to save some money you can rent a room in a shared apartment, but generally, accommodation costs are affordable for new arrival expats.
Living cost in Latvia
Costs of living, similarly to costs of accommodation, are relatively low. Prices of groceries and articles of everyday usage are low compared to other European countries. The same applies to restaurants and hotels. If you will use public transport remember to buy a ticket beforehand, since a ticket onboard may cost more. If you take a taxi, the basic price is € 1.70, then you have to pay € 0.50 for every 1 kilometre. In most public places it’s possible to pay by card.
Read our article if you want to know more about Living costs in Riga, Latvia.
Below you can find examples of basic expenses in Latvia.
|Description||Cost in Euro|
|Accommodation*||350 – 600|
|Food** (meal for two)||30 – 45|
|Fitness club (monthly pass)||39|
|Mobile rate (monthly)||40-55|
|Pint of beer||3|
* Prices can vary depending on the neighbourhood, the number of people living in the apartment and facilities.
**Depends greatly on your diet and which shops you buy food and drinks from.
Expats in Latvia
Latvia is a great destination for expats. Moving there, you won’t experience a culture shock, the population of Latvia contains a lot of expats from all around the world. The diversity is big, so you can find plenty of groups in the social media of expats living there. Don’t hesitate to socialize, the same applies to making friends with your future colleagues. They are in a situation similar to yours, so change some experience while having a cup of coffee… or a pint of beer. Look if something interesting is happening in the neighbourhood, expat communities often organise meetings to make new friends in a foregin city.
But also, don’t forget to try to merge with the nationals. Be open to new customs and traditions, maybe you will apply some of them to your everyday life abroad. Expand your network, people is what makes your journey unforgettable.
Where to learn Latvian
Except their national language, Latvians speak Russian and English, however, the second one is used more commonly for the business and tourism sector and for younger generations. For this reason, to feel better in your new community it’s good to know at least the basics of Latvian. To make the best of your Latvian experience, check for free language courses for foreigners. Read more about online Latvian courses here. For those who really can’t wait, taking the course online, you can start before moving! However, if you prefer to make it already there, check this link for more information:
Even though Latvian might not seem easy at the beginning, don’t give up. Everyday practice is the best way to learn, nationals for sure will appreciate your effort!
In Latvia you can find many interesting job opportunities for expats. With its excellent quality of life and picturesque landscapes, this small European country is a very satisfying destination for internationals. A fast-growing economy, wide expat community and welcoming nationals are great arguments for starting your journey with living and working in Latvia.