ECRI 5th report on Latvia (excerpts on employment), 2018


I Common topics


4. Integration





70. The very low levels of education described above, as well as frequently reported cases of anti-Roma prejudice and discrimination from potential employers result in high rates of unemployment among Roma, which in turn impacts negatively on their standard of living. The 2015 research project found that the ratio of the unemployed, both registered and unregistered, among (potentially) economically active Roma was around two-thirds (67.6%). While this can be viewed as an improvement compared to 2003 study results which had indicated a ratio of 90- 95%, the 2015 figure for Latvia’s overall population stood, in sharp contrast, at 9.9%.84

84 SIF (2015): 64.

71. In the context of high unemployment rates among Roma, the issue of
professional and vocational training and qualifications is of particular importance. From its discussions with the various relevant stakeholders, ECRI gained the distinct impression that the State Employment Agency (SEA) does not cooperate with other public entities and NGOs as much as is needed and expected when it comes to the difficult task of Roma integration into the labour market. A particular problem in this regard remains the absence of Roma-specific measures. While professional and vocational training courses are offered by the SEA to all unemployed persons, they usually require participants to have completed primary school up to 7th grade, a requirement which already excludes a large number of Roma (see § 66 above). According to SEA data of August 2015, the educational level of 67.4% of registered unemployed Roma was lower than the compulsory
primary education and 20% of them did not possess reading and writing skills.85 There is a lack of programmes suitable for Roma who have such limited education. Attempts to persuade the SEA to develop and offer courses for participants with lower educational backgrounds have so far not yielded any success.

85 Ibid.: 5.

72. ECRI recommends that the authorities ensure that the State Employment Agency offers professional and vocational training also for persons with very low levels of formal education in order to benefit those members of the Roma community who have been hitherto excluded.

Document data: CRI(2019)1 adopted 04.12.2018 published 05.03.2019 Link:

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