Englishman Moving to Latvia


I am moving to Latvia , liepaja possibly next year with my girlfriend.

I am currently a Health club assistant manager with gym instructor qualification and also will have  a personal training qualification among others including leisure management etc

I am looking for help learning the language and job hunting, whilst also need to know the rules/ laws with relocation ( work permits) ( residence permits etc

If anyone could help i would appreciate it and be very grateful

Thank you for your time


Ben  :)


If you are a UK citizen, you have no requirement for work or residency permits. You will need to live in LV for 6 months before qualifying for a residency permit (given the Brexit situation, I would suggest getting one as it will remove any argument later on).

Be aware that most companies will expect you to speak Latvian, and some will expect Russian as well. Salaries are very low compared with the UK, average wage is about 880euro per month. There are not as many gyms or fitness clubs as are dotted in the UK but there are a lot of 'leisure service' companies. is your best bet for trying to find work, or for ad hoc work.

Learning the language is more complex, if your girlfriend speaks Latvian, get her to give you the basics then find a company like BalticBright or similar because you MAY qualify for returning emigree family support and get free courses.

Word of warning, from my experience in Riga, if you start to speak Latvian badly, the Latvians will switch to English to save you embarrassment, making practicing more difficult.

Good luck and remember that if you come over in winter, wrap up warm

Thank you for the advice and information, i am very grateful..

I am going liepaja at christmas for a week to see girlfriends family and see some of latvia

Bring a jacket and longjohns, it will be cold and windy especially windy around Liepaja.

Good Luck

Yes, Liepaja is a very beautiful city and it indeed is very windy. it is nice chilling in hot summer but windy winters make it feel colder than further away from sea.

As phinp mentioned EU makes it easy for you to travel over and seek opportunities.

Regarding your profession, i guess in most cases if you intend to work with general public you will need to be able to communicate in Latvian and/or Russian. However if you would go for a management level and not working with general public i assume if you offer input potential for the company the language could be not a problem as most people on management level do speak English.

Dear Ben in honest words ,no dont. Here is only good for retired English as Latvian is spoken by less than a million people here. It is a harder language then worth it. Russian is more universal. Everyone speaks it here. So jobs no pay so little even if you can find one. Only in Riga or the cities can any form of pay job be found but at half or less than any place in this world i have been save Greece. Buy house here for 40k many for less but outside the city in rural bliss. Water from well in the garden ,, sewage dug yourself and power connected at a high price. Rent is high around 350 euro per month plus. When jobs so poor even doctors earn less than a British pensioner can earn here. Pensioners yes this is the place as it is cheap if you buy a house and just pay for logs and food. Tv interactive world service and internet around 16 euro per month but some far more if you do not do the research. My advice is come and see first it is lake and forest countryside with sixty miles of white sand beach and bluest blue warm water sea. In the south beyond Riga more housing but some very very poor places among riches. many thousands of youth have left for work in England and USA. Very few will ever come back. I told you I would be honest, brutally so. Latvia is not a place to find riches it is a place to rest after a working life. Great for those English already here and established but it has been four years of building home for me and many more years left for some i know who see that building materials are more expensive here as all is imported. I would say house and five acres here all landscaped by me has cost only 28000 pounds and no mortgage. For some this would have cost much more to do.It depends on you as no help as everyone here needs cash injections. Cant ask any one to come for money as you are then their employer. All hell goes on taxed and fined if caught. Self employed workers want a living wage but that is often more for English as we are seen as filthy rich even if we are not. So as much as possible must be done by you and hope to finish before the fourth year. Summer here is so hot and no rain means no water. The winter colder than Iceland fridges and goes on for 5 months. Snow 3 feet deep is normal so it is hard even to go out to shops . You have to learn to store and preserve foods like our ancestors did. I love sitting in front of the log fires at home but after 3 months your going up the wall wanting exercise. Saves the pension though and always rich in Spring. Hope you do come to see Latvia it is a great place but all said is true. i would not come here again if i had my way even though it is far cheaper to reside and live.

Latvia is near bankrupt but prices are rising steadily and steeply. Gasoline is now near UK price ....
Salaries are no better now than 10 years ago but costs are double.

House and land prices soared after joining EU ... most more than doubling overnight. Despite the terrible state of latvian economy - real estate pricing is still high. Lack of skilled workers to build houses etc. stifled the residential development and you see many foundations laid - but then dormant for years while owners strive to save enough money to start next stage.
Shop are closing, businesses closing ... as the population reduces ... so it gets worse.

If you have money - then all is fine. If you don't ? Then it is a slow road to hell.


what you write is depressing. partly it is true. however, i know some very good builders and other craftsman so it is not that they do not exist.
There is this unwritten promise, but not only in Latvia, that if a person will get schooling/education his life will be sorted. And too many were and still get fooled by that not seeing how education has also turned into business some time ago now and this promise into selling point.
There are however, alternative thinking people and communities that are happy despite the monetary economics state in the country as they have different values in life.
We can go on forever blaming economics, politics and who else not for the personal despair, but this as it always has been the case depends on how people treat themselves and others.

I like the land and i have beautiful people around me so i do not focus too much on all that political/economical game, but it could be that this is leading to another crash and possibly new beginning.

I have been renovating my house for over 13years and builders come and go. I have had 3 different gangs working on it - each one splits up and off they go to Sweden / UK / Ireland etc. I get left to find a new gang.

I am lucky that I am reasonably secure financially. But many people here are not. I am also lucky that I do not like Riga and only visit there when absolutely necessary. Among the established Expat community - it has a rather bad nickname that cannot be written here. Based on the dog filth and rubbish that is left once snow melts ...

Other towns such as Ventspils and Liepaja are far cleaner healthier places to live - but problem is work is mainly based for Expats in / around Riga.

24 years out here ... so that must say something ! But I have always been lucky that my work is International based. I can basically live where I like.

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