RIGA, April 25 (Xinhua) -- Latvian lawmakers on Thursday endorsed in principle a proposal to double the number of hours foreign students are allowed to work from 20 to 40 hours per week, a parliamentary spokesperson informed.
The draft amendments to the immigration law, which were earlier rejected by the parliament defense, interior and corruption prevention committee, were hotly debated also at Thursday's parliament sitting.
Under the draft legislation proposed by a group of MPs of the ruling KPV LV party, foreign nationals who have received residence permits or visas for studies in Latvia would be allowed to work 40 hours a week. The new rules would become effective as of September 1, 2019.
The authors of the bill argued that the employment rules for foreign students have to be changed to deal with the situation where many of these students are already working significantly longer than the permitted 20 hours a week but their actual working time is not reported, which allows employers to save on taxes.
This situation does not help reduce illegal economic activity and employment in Latvia, supporters of the draft amendments stressed. They also dismissed the opponents' argument that longer working hours would leave a negative impact on the students' academic performance.
After more than two hours of debating, the parliament voted to continue work on the draft amendments to the immigration law and government regulations on foreign nationals' employment.