In his words, actual emigration figures last year were indeed lower than the official statistics.
“The last year was exceptional on the migration front, as the emigration level was disturbingly high. However, we think that only a part of the over 50,000 emigrants actually left, and another share had left earlier and only last year formalized their status,” the chief economist told a news conference on Wednesday.
In his words, 2017 was the first year in history when the number of non-Lithuanian immigrants exceeded 10,000 people.
“In total, the immigration stood at 30,000, including 19,000 returning Lithuanians and the rest being residents of other countries, mainly Belarusians and Ukrainians,” Maciulis said.
This year, the emigration level should go down to under 40,000, while the immigration should remain stable at around 30,000, he added.
“This should keep the net emigration at the lowest level since the start of the century and be under 10,000. It would be a significant change for Lithuania, we think that the worst times of emigration are already in the past,” said the Swedbank economist.
According to the data provided by Statistics Lithuania, 57,200 people emigrated from Lithuania last year, a rise by 13.8 percent from 2016, while 29,300 people immigrated, indicating an increase by 45.5 percent from the year before.