Lithuania continues to improve the legal status of foreigners in Lithuania by introducing clearer and simpler migration procedures. TRINITI JUREX presents a review of 10 most important changes made to the Law on the Legal Status of Aliens of the Republic of Lithuania (Law), coming into force on 1 March 2021, that will not only present more opportunities for foreigner to gain a foothold in Lithuania but also establish some additional obligations.
CHANGES RELATED TO TEMPORARY RESIDENCE PERMITS
Foreigners applying for a temporary residence permit are exempt from the obligation to present to the Migration Department a consent of an owner of immovable property to provide proper living space.
The requirement to present a consent of an owner of immovable property used to cause a lot of difficulties and was rather complicated and time-consuming. This will change from 1 March as it will now be enough to submit to the Migration Department a written obligation of a foreigner to declare his place of residence in a living space with not less than 7 square meters for each adult person living there.
The employment procedure is being simplified by indicating that a foreigner may start working from the day of submission of an application to issue a temporary residence permit and not from the day of issuance of the temporary residence permit itself.
Foreigners who submit an application for issuance of a temporary residence permit for the purpose of highly qualified employment will be entitled to start working from the day of submission of the application and not from the issuance of the temporary residence permit (blue card) itself. This will also apply to the foreigners who are being transferred within a company.
The list of grounds for refusing to issue or renew a foreigner’s temporary residence permit has been expanded.
A foreigner may be refused the issuance or renewal of a temporary residence permit not only in cases where the foreigner is employed by an employee (legal person), who was convicted for violations of laws (illegal, undeclared work), but also in cases were such violations were made by the manager or an authorized person of the legal person if less than a year has passed since the day of payment of fine or fulfilment of obligations.
Deadline for the pickup of the issued temporary residence permit.
The amendments of the Law provide that an issued temporary residence permit will be held invalid if it is not picked up by the foreigner within 6 months from the day of the adoption of a decision on the issuance or renewal of a temporary residence permit for the foreigner.
CHANGES RELATED TO WORK PERMITS
The list of exemptions from the obligation to obtain a work permit has been expanded.
The amendments of the Law establish a new ground for exemption from the obligation to obtain a work permit. Such a permit is no longer necessary if a foreigner is not arriving to Lithuania but is planning to work remotely under an employment contract with a company carrying its activities in Lithuania.
CHANGES RELATED TO ACTIVITIES OF START-UPS
Deadlines for incorporation of a company and becoming its shareholders.
A foreigner who was issued a temporary residence permit on the grounds of lawful activities, related to the implementation of new technologies or innovations that are significant for the economic and social development of the Republic of Lithuania, will be obliged to establish a company related to the implementation of such technologies or innovations and start the activities indicated in the company documents no later than within 120 days from the issuance of the temporary residence permit. Foreigners, intending to become shareholders of an existing company, who receive a temporary residence permit on the same grounds will be obliged to be registered as shareholders no later than within 60 days from the issuance of the temporary residence permit.
In addition, a foreigner who is issued a temporary residence permit on the above-mentioned grounds will be obliged to inform the institution authorized by the Minister of the Economy and Innovation in writing about the establishment of a company or becoming a shareholder of a company within 7 days from the establishment of the company or becoming a shareholder of a company. Until now the term was 30 days.
The Law provides for a possibility for foreigners, who are shareholders of start-up companies, to extend their temporary residence permit more than twice.
A foreigner who was issued a temporary residence permit on the grounds of lawful activities, related to the implementation of new technologies or innovations that are significant for the economic and social development of the Republic of Lithuania, and who had the permit extended twice already, can have it extended for two more years if he submits a document proving that the company, which the foreigner has established or whose shareholder he is, has received an investment of not less than EUR 30 000 since the establishment of the company.
CHANGES RELATED TO THE LEGAL STATUS OF FOREIGN STUDENTS
The aim of the legislative changes is to provide more possibilities for foreigners studying in Lithuania.
The limit of 20 working hours per week imposed on a foreigner studying in Lithuania is being removed not only for foreigners studying for a doctor’s but also for a master’s degree. This limit still applies though for the students studying for a bachelor’s degree.
In addition, a foreigner who was issued a temporary residence permit after finishing studies in Lithuania, will not only be able to search for a job but also start carrying out activities as a self-employed person.
ADDITIONAL OBLIGATIONS FOR THE EMPLOYEES
New obligation for the employees to submit information to the state institutions on the employment of citizens of EU member states or their family members has been established.The information on the employment or temporary employment of a citizen of an EU member state or their family members must be submitted by the employer to the State Labour Inspectorate and the Employment Service.