You can learn Latvian in SEA Latvian language courses, which are provided in Latvian, in several levels of language proficiency (see the Proficiency Levels of Latvian Language). Latvian language courses are free of charge. If you attend the courses, in addition to the refugee or person under subsidiary protection benefit, you will be paid a scholarship in the amount of EUR 5 for each day of the training.
Please note that you may have to wait until a place in Latvian language courses opens up. In that case please wait for the employment consultant to contact you and invite you to receive a coupon you need to start the training. If you do not start the training according to the schedule, you may lose your place on the waiting list for the courses.
Latvian language classes take place on weekdays and last 3–4 hours. The groups are small. The duration of each course in a sub-level is 120 academic hours, i.e., approximately 6 to 8 weeks. After finishing the courses in each level the participants are offered to take a government-funded Latvian language proficiency examination at the National Centre for Education. The National Centre for Education performs evaluation of the state language proficiency required for the performance of professional duties and duties of office.
After passing the Latvian language examination successfully you will receive a Latvian language proficiency certificate to prove to the employer and educational institutions your ability to communicate in Latvian.
Put all your efforts into learning Latvian during the courses. If you fail to master one level of the language courses, you will lose the opportunity to apply for the next level. You will also have no second chance to apply for the same level language courses.
Once you have started attending the courses, you must attend them on a regular basis until their end. Otherwise you will have to repay the money invested in the courses and the scholarship paid to you by SEA.
Please note that after registering with SEA and qualifying for the status of an unemployed person or a job-seeker, you are required to learn Latvian, if you wish to receive the state benefit for a refugee or a person under subsidiary protection.
Use the acquired knowledge in your daily communication with local people to strengthen the acquired language skills and improve them by means of self-study books and internet resources. Information about opportunities for language learning can be found on the internet, for example, on the information website for third country nationals, who live in Latvia. If you have the status of an asylum seeker and reside at “Mucenieki” Accommodation Centre for Asylum Seekers, ask your Latvian teacher for advice on how to study Latvian on your own.
You may use resources available on the internet to prepare for the Latvian language examination at the National Centre for Education:
- on NCE website:
- on the website of the Latvian Language Agency:
In Latvia, the proficiency level of the Latvian language is established according to the common six-level system for all European Union.
Latvian language courses allow you to acquire 3 levels of language proficiency: basic level – A, medium level – B and the highest level – C. Each proficiency level of the state language has two grades: the lowest – Grade 1 – and the highest – Grade 2.
- Basic level or Level A
- Grade 1 (A1) – the person is able to communicate in phrases and short sentences on simple everyday subjects, reads and understands simple texts (for example, advertisements), is able to write personal data (for example, given name, surname, occupation, address), understands slowly enunciated small texts on familiar topics. If your language skills are at this level, you can perform simple work that does not require extensive communication with people, for example, work as a cleaner, kitchen help or farm help.
- Grade 2 (A2) – the person is able to communicate in simple sentences on everyday subjects and professional subjects familiar to him or her, reads and understands simple texts on everyday life and work, is able to fill in forms, understands naturally paced enunciated small texts related to work and everyday life of the person. Language skills of this level allow one to perform the work of a construction worker, auto mechanic, confectioner, seamstress.
- Medium level or Level B
- Grade 1 (B1) – the person is able to phrase his or her opinion and participate in conversations on broader subjects, reads and understands texts of simple content and various subjects, comprehends naturally paced simple spoken texts on everyday life and professional topics. Language proficiency of this level is required in professions and positions related to provision of services to the public, for example, a cashier at a store, cook, hairdresser, pedicurist and manicurist, driver.
- Grade 2 (B2) – the person is able to communicate on everyday subjects and professional issues, to clearly phrase and justify his or her opinion, reads and understands texts of various content, is able to write the documents necessary for work. This level of language proficiency is necessary, if the person works as an accountant, engineer, salesperson, mechanic. After obtaining level B2 language certificate you may attend SEA vocational training courses and receive other services in Latvian.
- The highest level or Level C
- Grade 1 (C1) – the person is able to communicate freely, to express and justify his or her opinion on various topics freely, reads and understands texts of different content and complexity, is able to write various official documents. This level of language proficiency is required, if the person works as a teacher, doctor, architect or business manager.
- Grade 2 (C2) – the language skills of the person are close to native proficiency. This level of language proficiency is required for the heads of state administration, employees, whose responsibilities involve processing of documents and record keeping, as well as interpreters and translators.