“Decisions made today may make immigration processes irreversible in 5-10 years,” warned Laurynas Kasčiūnas, chairman of the National Security and Defence Committee (NSDC) of the Seimas, after a meeting of the Committee on National Security and Defence of the Seimas (NSSD), where immigration of third-country workers to Lithuania was discussed on Wednesday, Indrė Naureckaitė writes in lrytas.lt
Although the Ministry of the Interior (MoI) announced on Tuesday that it is scrapping plans to make it easier for businesses to bring Nigerian workers to Lithuania, a significant decision on the direction of Lithuania’s immigration policy is yet to be made, according to politicians.
Kasčiūnas: ‘We have not yet reached irreversible processes”
In August, the MoI announced that, in response to the growing needs of Lithuanian businesses and company requests, an external service centre would be established in Nigeria in early 2024.
In such a centre, foreigners can apply for and obtain a temporary residence permit in Lithuania before they arrive, which means that businesses can more easily recruit third-country workers through an external service provider.
At a joint meeting of the NSGK and the Committee on Foreign Affairs on Wednesday, members of the Seimas examined how the country’s authorities control this immigration process and how it meets the country’s national security interests.
Kasčiūnas told the news portal lrytas. lt that the Ministry of Interior had already abandoned the idea of establishing such a centre in Nigeria for technical reasons, as it was difficult to check the national security of this country’s citizens and their qualifications.
However, during the meeting, the question was raised about how the Lithuanian authorities decided on establishing external service centres – Lithuania currently has 34 such centres.
“Is business demand enough? Are we checking them from a national security point of view, or are we checking that the country in question is as culturally close to us as possible?” – Kasčiūnas said.
According to the MEP, it was agreed to involve the State Security Department (DSS) in decision-making during the meeting. It was also asked to assess whether the current legal framework for labour migration required additional safeguards.
“For example, quotas for labour immigration are set in specific sectors, and if they are exceeded, then it is possible to bring in a worker if it is proven that a worker cannot be found on the Lithuanian labour market for that price.
The question is whether this test of the domestic labour market needs to be carried out in a facade – who is monitoring whether or not there are such workers? Everybody repeats like a mantra that business needs labour. However, one can ask whether it is not the case that workers are being brought in because they can be paid less,” the MEP said.
Currently, according to Kasčiūnas, Lithuania, as a country, has to decide which path it wants to take in migration policy.
“We have not yet reached irreversible processes, as in some countries, where these immigration trends have changed societies, polarised and divided them”, the politician said.
Kasčiūnas said that there is no recipe for successful integration in any country, only different models, but that all countries are experiencing difficulties with integration, not only because of the failure of national language courses but also because of the closed nature of the communities and the unacceptable Western way of life.
“If we want to avoid this irreversible process, now is the time to decide whether we are the ones who will know when to close the door and hold the door handle in our hands, or whether we will just unlock it?” – compared to the MEP.
“This is no joke; decisions made today could make the process irreversible in 5-10 years,” he added.
D.Gaižauskas: “Everyone cooks in their juice.”
Dainius Gaižauskas, a member of the NSGK who also attended the meeting, told the news portal lrytas. lt that representatives of many services, ministries, and businesses had been invited to the meeting, and all had the opportunity to speak.
Those who watched the meeting were convinced that every service and institution is doing something for itself, but they lack communication.
And business is only looking at the economic line, how to attract as many immigrants as possible – as they put it, highly skilled, from Nigeria,” the MEP pointed out.
However, he said, the issue of national security remained on the margins.
“Although at the beginning of the committee meeting, Kasčiūnas also pointed out that, listen – those who are proposing directions such as Nigeria, Belarus, have you read the DSS certificate, the government’s certain comments?” – Gaižauskas shared the details of the meeting.
However, according to the peasant, even the DSS only records the consequences – it notes that there is a particular risk but does not take proactive action because they are not called anywhere.
Gaižauskas wondered why politicians invite employees of the countries they identify as posing the most significant risk, such as Belarus, Nigeria and Colombia.
“Nobody thinks anything about national security; everybody is cooking in their kitchen juices”, Gaižauskas said.
“I am appalled”, he added.