In 1991 The Ministry of Economics established State Employment department. Chairman of the Council of Ministers Ivars Godmanis and the Minister of Government Affairs Kārlis Līcis appoint Sergejs Blaževics as the director of the Service.

On April 17, 1991 the Council of Ministers of the Republic of Latvia established the State Employment Service under the supervision of Ministry of Welfare.

In 1991 Latvia renewed its participation in the International Labour Organization (ILO) ratifying and adopting the conventions, and submitting yearly government reports. The Agency regularly provides information to the International Labour Organization about the labour market and unemployment situation in Latvia allowing to internationally compare the economic indicators.

On January 15, 1992 the first unemployed job seeker was registered, and 14 days later (in accordance with the laws of the time) was the first person to acquire unemployed person status. Within the period of one year the number of registered unemployed reached 31,000. In December of the same year the involvement of unemployed persons in active labour market measures (paid temporary public work and vocational training) was initiated.

In early 1993 the registered unemployment level was 2.7%. During that year computer programmes for accounting the unemployed and available vacancies were developed and implemented, the first statistical reports were made. Within a year the number of unemployed raised to 76,744 (5.7%).

In March 1995 the first measures for promoting employment were developed.

During 1996 the unemployment level rose from 83,000 (6.6%) to 90,819 (7.2%). Job seeker clubs were organised as an additional service for unemployed persons in Riga and Cēsis.

Starting from 1997 the director of State Employment Service was Andris Siliņš. During this time the Service actively cooperated with municipalities, and employment promotion plans were developed. A total of 5,501 unemployed persons joined the Job seeker club.

In 1998 an Employment information office was opened in Riga. The situation in labour market of Latvia was affected by the economical crisis in Russia; as a result the unemployment lever rose significantly during the last months of the year reaching 9.2%. The number or registered unemployed increased from 84,934 to 111,383.

In the beginning of 1999 the structure of State Employment Service included the central body, 20 financially independent State Employment Service centres, 8 State Employment Service departments and 38 State Employment Service offices.

On July 1, 1999 on the basis of State Employment Service – the civil office under the supervision of Ministry of Welfare – a non-profit association State joint-stock company State Employment Service (SES) was established. NPO SJSC State Employment Service holder of State capital share was the Ministry of Welfare. NPO SJSC State Employment Service was a two-level organisation consisting of administration and branch offices which, in their turn, consisted of 28 centres and 34 sectors. This way the whole territory of Latvia was covered, and people could receive SES services closer to their residence.

On September 11, 2000 Alvis Vītols was assigned as the director of NPO SJSC State Employment Service. SES thematic periodical “Darbdiena” (Weekday) was launched. The yearly average number of unemployed persons was still very high – 100,554.

In May 2001 State Employment Service joined The World Association of Public Employment Services (WAPES).
A number of pilot projects were launched this year – Unemployed Youth Work Practice with Employer, Subsidised Work Places for the Unemployed with Disabilities, Social Enterprises in Labour Market for the Employment of Less Competitive Unemployed.

In 2002 the Job seekers club is modified into measures for increasing competitiveness. Measures for certain groups of people are lunched, such as Subsidised Work Places for People in Pre-Retirement Age.

With October 1, 2003 Cabinet of Ministers changed NPO SJSC State Employment Service to State Employment Agency. As a result of the reorganisation, State Employment Agency (SEA) consisted of Central Office, 28 Local Employment Offices (one in each district centre) and 31 sectors. The Agency is a direct administrative authority under the supervision of the Minister of Welfare.

On January 12, 2004 Ringolds Beinarovičs became the director of SEA. This year was significant as on May 1 Latvia became an EU member state, and SEA joined European Employment Services (EURES) – the cooperation network of the public employment services in EU/European Economic Area. On March 1 of the same year a European Social Fund department was established ensuring the implementation and supervision of Structural Fund projects.

2005 for the Agency was a year when new measures were developed: for job seekers – support for those who were given notice of termination, for the unemployed – a pilot project for acquiring the required abilities in the work place, and support for people with mental disorders.

In 2006 after the reorganisation of Riga Regional Employment Office, SEA consisted of 27 Local Employment Offices, 6 Client Service Centres and 25 sectors. On this year the Quality Management System was implemented.

From February 1, 2007 Agency is included in the State Civil Service institutions. Also, Agency’s functions were centralised, and all supporting functions as financial resource planning and management, accounting, personnel management and economic activities were now performed centrally allowing the employees of Local Employment Offices to focus on the direct responsibilities – providing services and organising dialogue with partners.

On September 1, 2007 Professional Career Choice State Agency was added to SEA creating Career Guidance Department. One-stop agency was developed, and the unemployed and job seekers could receive all career-related services in one place.
SEA developed new measures for unemployed representing disadvantaged groups – persons with diagnosed disability, special training for persons after maternity leave.
Furthermore, in 2007 the registered unemployment level was the lowest in 20 years – 4.8% with 51,660 unemployed persons.

On February 25, 2008 Baiba Paševica became the director of SEA. A notable occurrence in this year was the sudden fall in vacancies registered with SEA (from 17,662 to 3,205 at the end of the year) – result of the global economical crisis. In late 2008 the number of unemployed persons jumped to 76,435 (7%). SEA began a new support measure for the unemployed when starting a business or becoming self-employed.

2009 was the year of economical crisis: lesser work places, increased unemployment. The employment services of EU played a significant role in managing the global crisis.
At the end of the year the unemployment level was unprecedentedly high 16% (179,235), while the number of vacancies dropped to 1,389. The number of repeatedly registered unemployed was the highest ever – 223,000.
New active labour market measures were developed and introduced in an extremely short period of time. These included work practice in municipalities receiving a grant, vocational training for people at risk of unemployment, improvements in unemployed person and job seeker training. For customer convenience a Local Employment Office was opened in Sigulda.

The labour market policy measures implemented in 2010 can be divided in two categories: measures with the aim of improving the abilities and qualification of the unemployed compensating for lower labour efficiency; and measures with the aim of managing the negative social consequences of the crisis and slowing down the unemployment rates.

SEA introduced new services: Professional higher education for the unemployed, Training and work practice for SEA inspector assistants, Life-long education measures for the employed, Work practice for the youth.
In March 2010 the largest number of unemployed persons in the history of Agency was registered – 194,253 (17.3%). The average number of registered unemployed is also the highest in 20 years – 177,700. However, despite the difficulties 97,100 of the unemployed persons found permanent job within one year. 72,300 or 75% of them had participated in at least one of SEA’s active labour market measures.

SEA continued to work on new measures: Benefit for Assistance Services for Persons with Group I Visual Disability, Job for the Youth and other measures targeted toward the youth. A coupon system has been introduced for the training of the unemployed.

2012 is characterized by a gradual increase in labour market demand. According to the State Revenue Service data, more than 83,000 SEA customers found employment in 2012. In total, more than 25,000 people received SEA support.

The priority of SEA was providing services to employers. Also, more attention was granted to increase the competitiveness of the unemployed youth, long term unemployed and unemployed persons with disability or in pre-retirement age, and provide employment in State co-funded work places.

Due to the creation of new jobs in Latvia, in 2013 the unemployment levels continued to decrease. More and more unemployed persons were able to find job relatively soon. 75.5 thousand unemployed persons registered with SEA found permanent job in 2013.

One of the Agency’s main tasks during the year was providing additional support to the prior target groups including working with the unemployed youth, activating the long-term unemployed by timely identifying the unemployed at risk of long-term unemployment and providing efficient support. Also, SEA prioritised the adjustment of the unemployed person abilities to the labour market demand, and improved customer service efficiency.

The employed person profiling tool was developed and implemented in 2013. It allows determining the most suitable measures for the particular person to promote his/her competitiveness and entry in the labour market. In spring the Agency established a new tradition – vacancy trade fairs in every region of Latvia, which were praised by both the employers and job seekers.

The implementation of EU Structural Funds for the period 2007 – 2013 was successfully concluded. Due to 120 administered projects in social rehabilitation and social care fields during this period, thousands of people had the opportunity to increase their quality of life, receive qualitative social rehabilitation services, acquire new abilities and knowledge, and find new job.

During the year 2014, the country experienced overall continuation of the economic growth, with the unemployment rates declining: from 93,321 at the beginning of year 2014, down to 82,027 persons at the end of the year. Level of the registered unemployment fell, during the year, from 9.5% down to 8.5%. Of the more than 73 thousand unemployed persons who found a permanent job in year 2014, nearly 29 thousand persons found employment after participating in an event held by the SEA.

In year 2014, we launched the Youth Guarantee Program, initiated by the European Commission, with involving more than 24,000 young people in support measures, and almost 11,000 unemployed young people settled into permanent employment during the year.

A major milestone in year 2014 was the resumption of the pupils' summer employment measures after a 5-year break. 4,287 pupils were employed during the pupils' summer employment measures, whereas 449 merchants and 124 municipalities and state institutions participated as employers.

The number of long-term unemployed persons also continued to decline: In year 2014, 17,852 long-term unemployed persons had settled into employment, of which 12,955 or 72.6% of long-term unemployed persons had found employment after completion of a SEA-held active employment measure.
During the year 2015, the registered unemployment level in the country stabilized: from 9% in January to 8.7% in December, reaching its lowest indicator of 8.3% in September and October. At the beginning of year 2015, the SEA had registered 82,027 unemployed persons, and 81,780 persons registered at the end of the year.

Compared to year 2014, the average duration of unemployment of the unemployed persons registered with the SEA also decreased. Of the more than 69 thousand unemployed persons who found a permanent job in year 2014, 20.5 thousand found their employment after taking part in one of the SEA's employment measures, by using the opportunities to increase their competitiveness level in the labour market, to gain career counselling (necessary skills and abilities), or to work in subsidized jobs.

In year 2015, entrepreneurs had registered more than 51,000 vacancies with the SEA, an increase of 19% compared to year 2014. We continued to hold vacancy fairs in the regions of Latvia. In order to help farms attract the necessary workers for seasonal work, we organized, together with the Latvian Agricultural Organization Cooperation Council, the agricultural job fair "Employment in the countryside!"

In the year 2015, 25,769 young people were involved in the activities of the ESF project "Youth Guarantee", but more than 21,000 unemployed young people were settled in permanent employment.

In year 2016, level of registered unemployment in the country was 8.7% at the beginning of January, and 8.4% at the end of December. Compared to early year 2016, 81,780 unemployed persons were accounted for with the SEA, at the end of the year the number had decreased to 78,357. The number of unemployed registered with the SEA had fallen by 3.4 thousand over the year.

During the 12 months of year 2016, 72,286 unemployed persons had settled in a job, of which 20,857 had found a job after completing an active employment measure held by the SEA. In year 2016, 113,192 clients participated in the SEA active employment measures/events and preventive unemployment reduction measures.

In year 2016, 5,355 employers had registered 56,328 vacancies with the SEA. The increase in the number of vacancies was achieved thanks to active cooperation with employers, business organizations and industry associations, but also due to improvements of the SEA CV and vacancy portal, and changes in legislation, since, starting from January 1, 2016, state and municipal institutions are obliged to register all their vacancies with the SEA.

In year 2016, work began on the development of a new SEA project "Support for longer working life".

One of the new services of the SEA in year 2016 was providing of support to refugees and persons with alternative status. Responding to the current world events and the need to integrate refugees into the Latvian labour market, the project "Integration of Refugees and Persons with Alternative Status in the Latvian Labour Market" was launched.

On January 1, 2016 the Law on Voluntary Work came into force, where the accounting of voluntary employment was entrusted to the SEA. The web-site for voluntary employment was launched, and the information system for voluntary work. In the new SEA information system, volunteers throughout Latvia are given the opportunity to offer their work, and all applicants are given the opportunity to apply for volunteering.

In year 2016 on the basis of the SEA CV and vacancies portal, the SEA self-service portal was created, where all SEA e-services are available.

In order to support the agricultural sector, a vacancy campaign "Be employed in the countryside!" was organized in several cities of Latvia in cooperation with the Association of Farmers, the Latvian Association of Local and Regional Governments and the Latvian Agricultural Organization Cooperation Council.

In September 2016, director of the SEA Inese Kalvāne, was approved by the parliament of Latvia for the post of council member of the State Audit Office, whereas Inese Kalvāne ended her employment at the SEA. On December 26, 2016, Evita Simsone was appointed to the post of director of the SEA.

In year 2017, the number of registered unemployed persons continued to decrease, while the registered unemployment rate in the country overall level reached its lowest level since year 2009, at the end of year 2017 it was 6.8%. Compared to year 2016, the number of vacancies registered by employers has increased by 27%.

In the year 2017, 67,085 unemployed persons had settled in a job, of which 20,722 had found a job after completing an active employment measure held by the SEA.

In the year 2017, Evita Simsone, director of the SEA, was elected to post of the first deputy council chairman of the Network of Employment Services of the Member States of the European Union (PES). Candidate of the director of the SEA was proposed for the said post by the European Commission.

Within the campaign "Movement for good service" organised by the State Chancellery in year 2017, the title of the most responsive state institution, and the Customer Services Honour Award was received by Riga Regional branch of the SEA.

The priority directions of activities of SEA were reduction of long-term unemployment, support for unemployed persons with disabilities, and workers over 50 years, as well as promotion of employment of the young unemployed persons, paying great attention not only to active but also preventive employment measures.

The number of long-term unemployed persons had fallen by 19% during the year. In order to bolster inclusion of the long-term unemployed persons in the employment market, in year 2017, within the framework of the European Social Fund (ESF) project "Support for the long-term unemployed", the SEA initiated implementation of new services – "Emotional stress therapy", "Job search motivation and social mentoring services"  and "Professional aptitude tests".

The number of unemployed persons with disabilities had fallen by 13% during the year. In the autumn of year 2017, a new SEA campaign "Open Day in Enterprises for Persons with Disabilities" was organised, offering persons with disabilities the opportunity to get to know the working environment and work process in companies in personal presence. In year 2017, an e-catalogue was also prepared for employers "Suitable work environment for persons with disabilities".

In year 2017, in cooperation with the Latvian Employers' Confederation and the Latvian Free Trade Union Confederation, the implementation of the ESF project "Support for Longer Working Life" was launched, which provides a number of preventive measures/events aimed to help older workers retain their jobs.

In year 2017, a new online service was developed – the e-learning program "My Money Today and Tomorrow. Financial Literacy".

In order to address cross-border employment issues, in year 2017, the SEA, in cooperation with the Estonian Employment Service, Valka County Council and Valga City Municipality, launched the implementation of the Cross-Border Co-operation Program INTERREG EST-LAT project "Promoting Cross-Border Labour Market Integration and Employment".

The registered unemployment rates continued to fall also in year 2018, falling to just 6.1% in September and October, the lowest since year 2008. During the year, 63,633 unemployed persons registered with the SEA started their employment, of whom 22,516 or 35.4% were employed after completing an event organised by the SEA.

In year 2018, employers had registered 88,492 vacancies with the SEA, which was 24% more than in year 2017.

At the end of year 2018, the largest target groups of the registered unemployed were the unemployed persons aged 50 and over – 40.5%, and the long-term unemployed persons – 25.1%.

In year 2018, within framework of the ESF project "Support for longer working life", methodics were developed for the measure "Assessment of work environment and human resources", and announcement for employers' application for support was made. In its turn, the ESF project "Support for the Long-term Unemployed Persons" offered customers comprehensive support, including counselling by psychologists, psychotherapists and other professionals, treatment for addictions, determination of occupational suitability, occupational health doctors, job search motivational and social mentoring services. In order to make support activities of SEA more accessible, participants were also offered transportation, food and, if necessary, accommodation.

The SEA also focused on the inclusion in the labour market of persons leaving imprisonment places. In six penitentiary establishments of Latvia, the SEA's career counsellors, in cooperation with the Administration of Penitentiary Establishments, provided pre-release counselling of the prisoners.

For the first time in year 2018, the regional employment support campaign "Career Days for Job Seekers" was organized in the geographic service areas of all SEA branches with participation of approximately 3.5 thousand jobseekers.
At the end of year 2018, the European Union funds project "Youth Guarantee" implemented by the SEA was successfully completed. During the implementation of the project, unemployment among young people in Latvia has decreased significantly.

In order to facilitate the return of Latvian nationals working abroad to the Latvian labour market, a number of measures/events to support re-emigration, have been implemented in cooperation with the Latvian diaspora abroad, Latvian embassies, employers and other relevant public institutions, including face-to-face meetings of SEA leaders with EURES advisers in Sweden, Germany, Great Britain and Ireland. Section "In case you want to return to Latvia" was launched on website of the SEA.

In March of year 2018, a new service – "E-Application for services of State Social Insurance Agency" – was introduced, offering unemployed people the opportunity to apply electronically to the State Social Insurance Agency for unemployment benefits through the SEA. The interactive e-learning module "My Money Today and Tomorrow", developed in 2018 and available on the SEA website, enables unemployed and job seekers to learn financial literacy remotely.

In order to facilitate better integration of persons with refugee or alternative status into the labour market, the SEA launched in year 2018 the support measure "Latvian language mentor service for employed refugees and persons with alternative status".

Year 2018 marked the centenary of the Latvian state. On May 24, the international conference "Employment in Latvia Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow", organised by the SEA, was held. At this conference, Latvian and foreign officials and experts discussed current trends and challenges in the labour market, as well as the role of employment services, the impact of globalization, demographics and digital technologies, and the development of the Latvian labour market in an international context. A conference dedicated to volunteering in Latvia, "Volunteering – My Favourite Work" ("Brīvprātība – mans sirdsdarbs") was also organized to mark the centenary of the country.

Across the European Union (EU), 2019 has been a year of growth, with an all-time high of 241.5 million people in employment. The Latvian labour market continued to improve in 2019. The registered unemployment rate fell by 0.2% points over the year, from 6.4% to 6.2%. At the end of 2019, 57.8 thousand unemployed people were registered with the SEA, a decrease of 1.8 thousand over the year.

The number of vacancies registered by employers increased significantly in 2019. During the year, employers registered 106,397 job vacancies in the SEA, an increase of 20% compared to 2018. To help employers find the employees they needed, Job Fairs were organised in all regions of the country, along with the "Career Days for Job Seekers" campaign, recruitments were held in branches, SEA CV and vacancy portal gave employers a chance to attract employees, measures such as "Training the Unemployed at the Request of the Employer" and "Training with the Employer" were offered. Thanks to employers' interest and partnership, on-the-job and employer-driven training has been the most effective in getting the unemployed into employment.

The strategic priorities of the Agency in 2019 were improving the monitoring of the implementation of European Social Fund projects, ensuring the provision of appropriate support measures to clients; promoting the employment of persons with disabilities and adapting the working environment; ensuring effective and sustainable cooperation with employers; developing e-services, improving the accessibility of SEA services.

SEA served more than 1,000 clients in person every day across Latvia. In 2019, 74,606 clients took part in the Agency's active employment measures and preventive measures to reduce unemployment, participating in 176,825 activities to increase their competitiveness in the labour market, receive career counselling, acquire knowledge, skills and competences needed in the labour market, work in subsidised workplaces, perform social work in municipalities, develop work skills in non-governmental organisations or develop a business plan and start a business.

In 2019, the Agency offered its clients not only the possibility to apply online for the status of unemployed or jobseeker, but also to obtain the status electronically and receive all the necessary information, so that in the first month of unemployment the client could actively start looking for a job and effectively and purposefully use the support of SEA. In 2019, as part of the ESF project "Support for Unemployed Persons' Education", the SEA developed and offered to its clients a new e-learning module "How to develop an effective job search strategy".

Although the number of registered unemployed had fallen significantly, and there were declines in all target groups of registered unemployed, the share of disadvantaged unemployed was significant. At the end of 2019, the largest target groups of the registered unemployed were the unemployed aged over 50 and the long-term unemployed. Therefore, particular attention was paid to supporting the unemployed in the identified groups through a number of special support measures and activities, including motivation programmes, social mentoring, professional suitability assessments, assistance from psychologists and other specialists, and even addiction treatment if this was needed to integrate the unemployed into the labour market.

In order to retain older workers in the labour market, the SEA continued the implementation of the ESF project "Support for Longer Working Lives" by offering companies, institutions and municipalities with employees aged over 50 the opportunity to carry out an assessment of their working environment, workplace and human resource potential, develop an ageing management plan for employees and, in accordance with the individual assessment of employees, receive support measures such as individual consultations with a physiotherapist, psychologist, nutritionist, educational measures on working capacity and preserving quality of life, health and working capacity improvement activities.

In order to facilitate the integration of persons with disabilities into society and the labour market, the SEA has developed a new support measure for employers who hire the unemployed with disabilities for an indefinite period, offering a monthly grant to the work supervisor, a grant for the services of a sign language interpreter, occupational therapist, support person and other specialists, a one-off grant for the purchase of machinery and equipment, as well as for the production and purchase of technical aids to adapt the workplace for hired unemployed persons with disabilities.  

In the first 12 months of 2019, 16,730 unemployed people aged 50 and over, 15,695 unemployed people aged 15-29, 10,405 long-term unemployed and 4,100 unemployed people with disabilities were in employment. A total of 63,700 unemployed people registered with the SEA had found a job, many of them having entered the labour market after completing an SEA active employment measure. 

For the unemployed who had worked in a profession for many years and had become masters of their trade, but did not have a professional qualification certificate, the SEA provided financial support for the assessment of professional competences acquired outside the formal education system in order to facilitate the return of trained professionals to the labour market more quickly and successfully.

In terms of the education level of the registered unemployed, the largest share of the total unemployed was accounted for by those with a relatively low level of education (43%), who had completed only primary or general secondary education or had not even completed primary education, and those with vocational education (35.9%). Half of them were aged 50 and over, i.e. their vocational education had been acquired many years ago and was no longer relevant to the requirements of the modern labour market, so in order to return to work or keep their jobs, the SEA offered them opportunities to acquire the vocational knowledge and skills currently demanded by employers. Discussions were held with businesses on the future labour market and the knowledge, skills and competences required and expected of workers in the future labour market.

In 2019, the SEA joined the Ministry of Economy's "Advise First" initiative, which aims to create an excellent business environment and a client-oriented public administration in order to improve cooperation between entrepreneurs and supervisory authorities.

In 2019, the volunteering movement in Latvia and the information system for volunteering support created by the SEA were actively promoted, the event "Volunteer of the Year 2019" honouring volunteers and organisers was held, and project with  Christmas charity campaign "15 Christmas Tree Stories" was organised. In the 2019 Summer School Jobs initiative, 613 employers offered jobs to 7,083 students.

In 2019, we continued intensive information of Latvian nationals in the diaspora about SEA support for our compatriots who wish to return to Latvia, organised information events and consultations in diaspora countries, as well as developed and offered a new online event - "Jobs and Careers in Latvia" - to those interested in any country in the world. One of the priorities of the work of the Latvian consultants of the EURES network of European employment services was to support our compatriots abroad on remigration issues.

The SEA actively participated in the PES network of employment services of the European Union (EU) Member States, took part in PES Board meetings and events, engaged in mutual learning and experience exchange activities between employment services of EU Member States, and in November the annual meeting of the Baltic employment services "Strategic Management and Digitalisation in Employment Services" was held in Riga with the participation of management representatives of the Baltic employment services and the chairman of the PES Board, J. Kopf, who stressed the importance of regional cooperation and exchange of experience between employment services of the EU countries and appreciated the digital solutions developed by the Baltic employment services and offered to their clients.

At the start of 2020, the employment situation was solidly positive, with the registered unemployment rate continuing to fall to 6.4% in January and 6.3% in February. However, in March, the situation changed dramatically, with the Covid -19 pandemic pushing the registered unemployment rate up by 2.3% points between the beginning of March and the beginning of July, reaching 8.6% by mid-summer. Between July and October, the registered unemployment rate fell by 1.2 percentage points, but started to rise again in December. In December, 69,605 unemployed people were registered in the SEA, while the national unemployment rate was 7.7%. The average duration of unemployment at the end of December 2020 was 183 days or 6 months, an increase of 44 days compared to the same period a year ago.

All occupational groups saw a decrease in vacancies from March. The areas most affected by the Covid-19 pandemic were tourism, passenger transport, accommodation, catering, culture and the arts. However, employers continued to register new vacancies throughout the year. In the first 12 months of 2020, employers registered a total of 76,226 new vacancies with the SEA, 28% fewer than a year earlier.

During the first wave of the Covid-19 pandemic, in spring and early summer, there was a sharp increase in the number of collective firing notices submitted by employers to the SEA, while this trend was not observed in the autumn months. However, the number of collective firing notices started to increase slightly at the end of 2020. In 2020, the SEA received a total of 79 employers' collective firing notices for 8005 planned redundancies.  The companies that submitted collective firing notices to the SEA represented a wide range of sectors, including transport and storage, arts, entertainment and recreation, accommodation and food services, water supply, sewage, waste management and remediation, administrative and support service activities, etc.

In the context of the pandemic, a number of SEA services and activities were promptly offered and adapted for remote access, including online unemployment status, remote career counselling, etc. An online format was developed and implemented for the job fairs on the Facebook account of the SEA, with direct communication opportunities between employers and jobseekers. Monthly online job opportunity days were held on Facebook to attract labour for different sectors. The "Seasonal Jobs" campaign was organised on the SEA website, and the traditional SEA campaigns - "Open Day for Persons with Disabilities in Enterprises" and "Career Days for Job Seekers" - were also organised online.

In 2020, the SEA significantly expanded online learning opportunities for its clients, offering not only the registered unemployed but also the working population the opportunity to take free courses on the international distance learning platform Coursera. The SEA-registered clients could also learn on distance learning platforms such as "LU OpenMinded" and "Element of AI". For women aged 18-29, the SEA in cooperation with the Latvian Information and Communication Technology Association offered the opportunity to learn IT skills free of charge. Anyone in Latvia could apply for free Microsoft digital skills development courses.

Support measures to overcome the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic on the labour market were rapidly developed and implemented, including a wage subsidy support measure - an opportunity for employers to employ the unemployed registered with the SEA by receiving a wage subsidy during the first three months of employment. To reduce the risk of infection during the Covid-19 pandemic, the SEA also financed the purchase of personal protective equipment. For students aged 18-29 (inclusive) who have acquired unemployed status, the SEA offered an opportunity to develop their employability skills by carrying out research work in higher education institutions. Due to the pandemic, the summer employment event only took place during the two summer vacation months of July and August.

In 2020, a new initiative was implemented to promote direct and constructive communication between the SEA and employers - regional think tanks of the SEA management and local employers to present the SEA services to employers in a dialogue and brainstorming format, discuss their effectiveness, share experiences and success stories, and make suggestions.

In order to draw public attention to remigration issues, in October 2020, the SEA organised a conference discussion "How to bring back Latvia's departed talents?", which was opened by the President of Latvia. More than 70 representatives from the public and private sectors took part in the conference, discussing the need for a coordinated national human resources policy. Everyone could follow the conference online.

In 2020, the interest of Latvian nationals working abroad in returning to and working in Latvia increased, driven by both the UK's exit from the European Union and the Covid-19 pandemic. To ensure wider access to information, the EURES advisors prepared and sent monthly advice and explanatory articles to diaspora organisations, embassies and the media on issues relevant to remigrants. Every Friday, the European Job Mobility Portal hosted a consultation chat, during which EURES advisers from the SEA answered users' questions. 

2020 was a time of new challenges for all SEA staff, with the need to adapt to the emergency situation, mobilise quickly, act swiftly and work in a way that stops the rise in unemployment and provides effective support to our clients. And they succeeded in these turbulent times. The number of unemployed people registered with the SEA in 2020 was roughly the same as the year before, despite the Covid-19 crisis. 62,500 unemployed people registered with the SEA took up a job in the first 12 months of 2020.

Throughout 2021, the registered unemployment rate in Latvia was lower than previously forecasted, taking into account the possible impact of the pandemic. Timely, targeted and mutually coordinated action by public institutions in 2021 prevented a sharp rise in unemployment, stabilised the unemployment situation and gradually reduced the unemployment rate. At the end of December 2021, the registered unemployment rate in Latvia was 6.7%, and the number of unemployed registered with the SEA was 60,774. Compared to the beginning of the year, the registered unemployment rate fell by 1 percentage point and the number of registered unemployed persons by 8,831. 

In 2021, labour demand remained high in some sectors, such as construction, manufacturing, trade and services, despite the continuation of the pandemic. In 2021, the number of job vacancies registered with the SEA was 23.6% higher than in 2020.

At the beginning of 2021, the SEA Strategy 2021-2023 was approved, setting the strategic goal of the SEA to become a leading partner for employers in attracting staff by developing and improving support to employers in attracting labour.

The format of the online meetings between employers and jobseekers was changed: for the convenience of the participants, the events were moved from the Facebook account to the Zoom platform, the meetings were organised not only centrally but also at the level of the SEA branches, taking into account the labour needs of regional enterprises. To improve services and implement the values set out in the SEA strategy, a new campaign "Client Month" was organised.  

To support workers who had lost or were at risk of losing their jobs due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the SEA, in partnership with Google, offered registered unemployed, registered jobseekers and people at risk of unemployment in 2021 the opportunity to learn or improve digital skills in demand in the labour market online for free. As part of the new training pilot project "Future Skills Initiative", in 2021 we offered both jobseekers and employees who need to improve their professional skills and competences the opportunity to acquire knowledge in demand on the labour market by learning on international open online course platforms. The range of professional development education programmes for digital skills was also significantly expanded, including several new computing education programmes for the registered unemployed and several study modules or courses for IT-related professions.

In October 2021, the structure of the SEA was reorganised and the number of SEA branches was optimised in order to improve customer service processes and internal cooperation to strengthen the capacity of the institution. As of 1 October 2021, 23 regional branches shaped the SEA.

To increase public awareness of future labour market trends and education needs, interactive labour market forecasting platforms have been developed in cooperation with the Ministry of Economics, bringing together up-to-date information on both short-term labour demand forecasts of the SEA and the medium- and long-term labour market forecasts of the MoE. 

In 2021, SEA organised an international online conference "Future Work", where 17 leading global and Latvian employment policy makers, economists and researchers shared labour market forecasts, outlined key employment challenges and possible scenarios to mitigate employment risks. President of Latvia Egils Levits called for a strategic approach to the future labour market by investing in people's skills and lifelong learning, as well as creating an appropriate legal framework for remote working.

The range of information services provided by the SEA to promote remigration was expanded with new activities: on the SEA's Facebook account, EURES consultants created online broadcasts "Be informed when returning to Latvia", where they provided up-to-date information on support for remigrants from state and local government institutions, and on the Zoom platform, webinars were organised "I want to return to Latvia! Where to start?”.

At the end of 2022, compared to the end of 2021, the national registered unemployment rate has decreased by 0.6% points, from 6.7% to 6.1%. The lowest registered unemployment rate in 2022 was in September and October - 5.7%.

In the first 12 months of 2022, 114,188 new job vacancies were registered with the SEA, an increase of 19,954 jobs or 21.2% compared to the first 12 months of 2021.

During 2022, 56,026 clients registered with the SEA were placed in employment, including 15,587 clients aged 50 and over, 5,249 aged 15-24, 4,436 long-term unemployed and 3,788 persons with disabilities.

In 2022, the SEA offered several new services, including training for people at risk of unemployment (lifelong learning), practical training with employers with the involvement of industry associations, mobility support for employers, workplace adaptation for employed persons with disabilities, and the Employment Support Centre for Persons with Disabilities was established in the SEA Riga regional branch to provide counselling and individual support for people with disabilities, as well as counselling for employers.

Taking into account the recommendations of experts, clients and cooperation partners for the improvement of services, SEA made changes in the conditions of implementation of several active employment measures.

  • Measures for specific groups of people
    • Medical institutions could now also create subsidised jobs for unemployed persons in certain groups with the support of the SEA.
    • For the unemployed with disabilities of groups I and II and the unemployed with mental disabilities of all disability groups, employment in subsidised jobs created by associations and foundations is now extended from 12 to 18 months.
    • Subsidised jobs in associations and foundations, with a subsidy of the national minimum monthly wage, are also available for up to 18 months for young people aged up to 29 graduating from special education programmes.
    • The obligation for associations and foundations to employ an unemployed person for three months after the end of the measure is abolished.
    • Employers who employ disabled unemployed people in subsidised jobs receive a subsidy for compulsory national social security contributions in proportion to their share of the wage subsidy.
    • The number of subsidised jobs to be supported is increased to 20 per employer.
    • The remuneration of the unemployed worker's supervisor in a subsidised job has been increased to €10 per day, significantly simplifying the calculation and administration of the measure.
    • If the unemployed person has a mental disability, the period for providing a job supervisor is increased to 6 months.
    • The reimbursement rate for compulsory health checks is increased to €50.
    • Shortened period for re-participation of an unemployed person - an unemployed person can re-participate in the measure once at least 12 months have elapsed since his/her previous participation in the measure.
    • Funding is provided for the purchase of personal protective equipment for clients who will start participation by 30 June 2022.
  • Developing skills for the job
    • The duration of participation in the measure for unemployed people with disabilities is extended to 12 months.
    • The amount of the participant's scholarship has been increased to €15 per day.
    • A monthly allowance of €10 per day is provided for the supervisor.
    • Compulsory contributions to state social insurance are paid for pension insurance.
    • The reimbursement rate for compulsory health checks is increased to €50.
    • Funding is provided for the purchase of personal protective equipment for clients.
  • Voucher training
    • A client registered with the SEA can be enrolled in up to three modular vocational education programmes, vocational development education programmes, non-formal education programmes, vehicle and tractor driver training, study modules or study courses offered by a higher education institution within one year.
    • Vocational further training, continuing vocational education or modular vocational education programmes will provide persons with disabilities with appropriate access to the learning environment and other necessary adaptations.
    • Increased value of training vouchers for driver training.
  • Training with the employer (Practical training)
    • Practical training can also be provided by medical institutions.
    • The obligation for employers to continue the employment relationship with an unemployed person who has completed practical training for at least three months is abolished.
    • Employers who provide practical training to unemployed people with disabilities are subsidised by compulsory national social security contributions as part of the wage subsidy.
    • If the unemployed person's practical training requires additional theoretical training, his/her participation in modular vocational training programmes or non-formal education programmes developed by sectoral enterprises and recognised by sectoral associations is financed by the SEA.
    • The reimbursement rate for compulsory health checks is increased to €50.
  • Support for regional mobility of workers
    • To qualify for regional mobility support, an employee's monthly salary must not exceed three national minimum wages (previously it could not exceed two minimum wages).
    • The requirement for an aid applicant to have been registered with the SEA for at least two months has been removed.
    • The contract with the employer must be for at least 6 months instead of the previous 8 months.
    • The beneficiary will be reimbursed for the mode of transport indicated in the application.
    • Mobility support can be reapplied for after 24 months instead of the previous 36 months.
  • Support for setting up in business or self-employment
    • Unemployed persons who receive a grant from the SEA for the implementation of a business plan can apply for an additional business development grant of EUR 5,000 if they receive an expert opinion on the success of their business after the first year of operation.
    • The monthly grant, paid for six months during the start-up phase, has been increased to €750.
    • Extension of beneficiaries.
    • For participants with disabilities, the SEA provides an occupational therapist if needed and pays for workplace adaptations up to EUR 1,000.
  • Temporary paid public works
    • The reimbursement rate for compulsory health checks is increased to €50.
    • Duration of employment of unemployed workers in temporary paid public works - up to 4 months.
  • Measures for specific groups of unemployed people with disabilities for permanent employment
    • Medical institutions can also create subsidised jobs for unemployed persons in certain groups with the support of the SEA.
    • The number of subsidised jobs to be supported by one employer at a time is increased to 20.
    • €10 per day for the unemployed person's supervisor in the subsidised job, greatly simplifying the calculation and administration of the measure.
    • If the unemployed person has a mental disability, the period for providing a job supervisor is increased to 6 months.
    • The reimbursement rate for compulsory health checks is increased to €50.
  • Changes in other support types
    • For clients who use public or private transport to get from their place of residence to a treatment facility and back in order to receive support to overcome various addictions, the SEA provides compensation for transport costs.
    • For clients who use public or private transport to get from their place of residence to the State Agency for Social Integration (SASI) to receive a professional suitability assessment service and back, the SEA provides compensation for transport costs.
    • Training may be provided by a training provider not registered in the register of educational establishments at the employer's request, if the training needs to be provided in training programmes recognised by sectoral associations.
    • Reduction of the unemployed person's employment period from 6 to 3 months after the end of the training at the employer's request.

In the 12 months of 2022, a total of 64,150 clients (individuals) started participating in SEA activities, taking part in 106,294 activities.

On 1 January 2022, the Law on the Relief of Natural Persons from Indebtedness came into force, which established a new function for the SEA, i.e. the SEA ensured the availability of the financial literacy course and, at the request of the debtor, sent an electronic notification of the completion of the financial literacy course to the sworn notary who has the debtor's application on file.

In order to ensure the efficiency of the SEA activities, taking into account the principles of good governance, efficient use of human and financial resources, providing services to clients in an optimal branch network model, as of 1 May 2022 the Limbaži branch was transformed into the Limbaži Client Service Centre of the Cēsis branch of the SEA, the Alūksne branch was transformed into the Alūksne Client Service Centre of the Balvi branch of the SEA, the Dobele branch was transformed into the Dobele Client Service Centre of the Jelgava branch of the SEA. Thus, the core functions of the SEA were carried out in 20 branches from 1 May 2022.

At the beginning of 2022, the COVID-19 containment measures were still affecting the face-to-face service for the unemployed and jobseekers, so face-to-face visits were replaced by remote communication. Face-to-face group and individual career counselling was provided to registered clients online or by phone. As of 1 April, all branches of the SEA resumed face-to-face customer service as a result of the easing of measures to contain the spread of COVID-19, but applications for the status of unemployed person or jobseeker had to be submitted remotely after 1 April, with exceptions only for certain target groups such as Ukrainian civilians and persons with refugee or alternative status.

On 24 February 2022, when the Russian Federation invaded Ukraine, the SEA and other European employment services were tasked with providing rapid employment support to Ukrainian war refugees. The Latvian labour market was opened to Ukrainian civilians, and Latvian employers actively started offering job opportunities to Ukrainians who had taken refuge from the war in Latvia in late February and early March. Around 900 Latvian employers had already applied for more than 7,000 jobs for Ukrainian civilians at the beginning of March.

The support of the SEA staff to Ukrainian civilians was provided not only in all SEA  branches and Client Service Centres, but also in the Riga Support Centre for Ukrainians, which operated in Old Riga. SEA staff provided advice to Ukrainian civilians, helped them find job opportunities and contact employers. In 2022, from the beginning of March to the end of December, a total of 17 452 Ukrainian civilians who became eligible for employment in Latvia received support from the SEA.

Ukrainian civilians were not obliged to register as unemployed or jobseekers with the SEA in order to receive job search support from the SEA, but if a Ukrainian civilian wished to become unemployed or jobseeker, he/she could register with the SEA as unemployed or jobseeker and continue cooperation with the SEA as a registered client using the services provided to registered unemployed and jobseekers. 4,168 Ukrainian civilians were registered as unemployed and 30 as jobseekers. The number of Ukrainian civilians participating in preventive and active employment measures of the SEA in 2022 was 1,182. The most active use of the opportunity for Ukrainian civilians was to learn Latvian, receive career counselling and participate in other employment activities. 74 Ukrainian civilian children worked in state-funded summer jobs as part of the School Summer Employment Action.

In March, the SEA started paying a one-off employment start-up allowance of €500 to Ukrainian civilians who had started employment in Latvia, and in October - a one-off self-employment start-up allowance of €500. In 2022, 10,303 Ukrainian civilians received the employment start-up allowance and 79 received the self-employment start-up allowance.

In 2022, the SEA participated in the European Union Member States’ Mutual Assistance Project for improving Quality Management System in Latvian PES (MAP) to ensure the development of a process-integrated quality management system. On 12 May 2022, the SEA organised "Future of Jobs 2022", an international online conference dedicated to the future of work.