Lithuania’s strict rules on foreign workers ‘causing skills shortage’

Valdas Sutkus
DELFI / Tomas Vinickas

“There is particularly a lack of workers in the IT and hi-tech sectors where companies are ready to pay good salaries for professionals and where Lithuania cannot provide the needed number of specialists. Excessive regulation and bureaucracy is a huge cost to Lithuania – companies cannot bring in foreign workers, which takes away the possibility to compete in other markets,” said Valdas Sutkus, the president of Lithuanian Business Confederation.

During 2015, only 350 highly qualified specialists from outside the European Union came to work in Lithuania. Experts and entrepreneurs note that the additional labour from abroad would help the problem of skilled labour shortages but the conditions of their employment are more strict than in other European Union countries.

“We believe that improvement of the current immigration procedures is one of the country’s priorities in the business and investment environment. Targeted economic immigration policy would not only lead to new jobs, but also allow the country’s employers to conduct business development and increase the flow of foreign direct investment,” said Sutkus.

Human Resources Commission Chairwoman at the Lithuanian Business Confederation, Laura Duksaitė–Iškauskienė said that currently residence permit issuance for foreigners in Lithuania takes up to two months, and assessment of qualifications up to 14 days.

“Businesses want state regulation on this matter to be uniform and clear but the actual process is unpredictable. Now there are cases where different nationalities with equal skills and qualifications receive different answers on the possibility to work here,” said Dauksaitė–Iškauskienė.

A person who has a higher education diploma is considered a high-skilled worker in Lithuania but someone with great experience in the field is still not considered a specialist. In other EU countries, five years of work experience is enough to justify consideration as highly skilled.

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