Flights from Lithuania are decreasing, but the desire to emigrate is not diminishing

Vilnius Airport
Vilnius Airport DELFI / Mindaugas Ažušilis

From the 31st of October, those who want to buy plane tickets from Vilnius to Oslo, the capital of Norway, will have to work harder and be more resourceful. Direct flights to Oslo Sandefjord Torp Airport have been cancelled as of this date. The route to Doncaster Airport has also been suspended, so migrants from Lithuania will have to make longer journeys to this country due to scheduled changes in other countries, Lukrecija Giedraitytė wrote at lrytas.lt news portal.

Earlier, the news portal Made in Vilnius reported that the Hungarian low-cost airline Wizz Air is reducing the number of flights from Vilnius Airport. However, it has been announced that in March 2023, Vilnius will once again be able to fly to Sandefjord Torp airport in southern Norway.

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How to save time and money

Norway, Germany and the UK have been the most popular destinations for labour migration from Lithuania for some time.

According to Lithuanian Airports, the United Kingdom was the leading country in terms of passenger traffic in the third quarter of 2022, accounting for 21% of all passengers. Germany came second (9% of all passengers carried), followed by Norway in third place and Denmark in fourth place.

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“It is clear that passengers will have to choose other airports. “Wizz Air will continue to fly to Stavanger (almost 440 km from Oslo), Alesund (560 km from Oslo) and Bergen (460 km from Oslo),” the website says.

Norwegian Air Shuttle operates flights from Vilnius to Alesund, Gardermoen (55 km from Oslo), with connecting flights also available.

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“Ryanair flies daily to Gardemoen, Norway’s main airport.

Lithuanian low-cost carriers also offer flights to Oslo or other Norwegian city airports from the 1st of November. Still, there are no longer any direct flights: there are flights with at least a few stopovers in Finland, Latvia, Poland, Denmark or Norway itself.

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One-way fares are also quite high. For example, if you want to travel from Vilnius to Sandefjord Torp Airport in November, a one-way ticket with two connections can cost at least €300. The price varies depending on the time and date you want to reach your destination.

According to data from the Department of Statistics, Lithuanians and foreigners move to the same countries to live and work almost yearly. Year after year, the United Kingdom remains the unbeaten leader, but Germany and the countries of Northern Europe are still very popular.

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“Wizz Air is reducing the number of flights from Vilnius to Oslo, so travellers will have to plan other routes.

For example, in 2021, over 6,000 passengers will be travelling to Vilnius. In 2021 in 2021, about 6,000 Lithuanians moved to the United Kingdom, about 2,500 chose Norway and 2,300 to Germany.

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In 2020, the top five countries were slightly different: although the United Kingdom was the most popular destination for Lithuanians, people actively went to Ukraine, Belarus, Germany and Norway.

In 2019, 2018 and 2017, the UK was also the most common destination, but many people went to Ukraine, Belarus, Norway, Germany or Ireland.

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Salaries abroad are still the main motivation

Although both Lithuanians and foreigners tend to choose the most popular destinations to work or live in each year, recruitment agencies note that there have been no major changes this year but that priorities are slowly changing.

However, it is also interesting that the representatives of the companies interviewed, when reviewing this year’s trends, do not single out the United Kingdom as the most frequent destination for labour migration from Lithuania.

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The recruitment company, HireLabas Group team, told lrytas.lt that even the war that started in Ukraine in February had not caused any major changes in the labour market: the number of Lithuanians going abroad to work this year remains similar.

“Germany, which used to be the most popular country, is slowly being replaced by the Netherlands. Although it is further away, the opportunity to earn more money is what attracts people. Moreover, vacancies in the Netherlands fill up very quickly, so those who want to work in the country apply early and wait for new positions to open up,” said the representatives.

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For example, employers in Germany offer unskilled jobs starting at €1,500 before tax, while in the Netherlands, the starting point is €1,700.

“The main motivation for nationals to work abroad remains the same – the opportunity to earn more. While in Lithuania, working unskilled jobs in factories or warehouses can earn EUR 700-1000, if you decide to go abroad and work 40 hours a week, the salary is at least 50% higher,” the company team pointed out.

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Tomas Toleikis, head of the CVbankas.lt portal, also says that the activity of Lithuanians in the foreign labour market has remained stable over the last six months. Still, there has been a slight increase in interest.

The most popular countries for expatriates are still Germany, Norway and Sweden, where Lithuanians are most often employed in construction, manufacturing and logistics

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“The prevailing salaries in job offers abroad range from EUR 1.6 thousand to EUR 3.8 thousand, after taxes. This is still significantly higher than the salaries offered for similar jobs in Lithuania,” the representative wrote in a commentary for lrytas.lt. However, it is noted that rising salaries in Lithuania can also be an opportunity to earn more than before.

Rita Karavaitienė, Marketing Manager of the career portal CV-Online, also identifies the most frequently chosen destinations for emigrants, with Germany, the Netherlands, Sweden and Norway becoming the main choices. “At the moment, we are not yet experiencing an increased interest in working abroad, but we often encounter the fact that foreign employers do not offer enough, according to the candidates,” she said.

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She noted that countries themselves dictate the jobs and the specifics. While employment in the Netherlands and Germany is primarily for production line operators, warehouse workers, drivers, construction workers, catering workers or electrical and civil engineers, jobs in northern Europe are more narrowly focused. In Sweden, Denmark and Norway, construction workers are most needed. Their hours, qualifications and experience dictate their salaries, but the prevailing salaries are between EUR 2,8-4,500 after tax.

In other countries, however, you can expect salaries of up to EUR 6 000 after tax. Such jobs indeed require education, experience in a particular field, language skills, etc.

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