Lithuania continues to strengthen the business development environment for start-ups and helps them become stronger and more successful in the Lithuanian market. As a result of the recent amendments, the concept of “start-ups”, having been in actual use for quite a while, found its way into the Law on Small and Medium-sized Business Development. From July 1, a start-up will be officially considered to be a very small or small enterprise with a large and innovation-based business potential, operating for up to 5 years.
In addition, proposals have been made for amendments to the Law on Personal Income Tax, aimed at making taxation of options more flexible. There are plans to introduce a tax relief for employees who have retained the shares of the company, acquired as stock options, for more than 3 years. The purpose of these changes is to keep and motivate employees by paying a part of their salary in options. This is also useful for start-ups that often do not have enough money to pay competitive salaries to their employees at the start of their business.
Furthermore, a simplified arrival procedure for foreign start-ups “Startup Visa”, which has been in place for several years with notable success, is designed for a smoother and more flexible relocation of start-ups to Lithuania (https://startupvisalithuania.com/) .The main requirement of this procedure is that after obtaining a temporary residence permit in Lithuania, a start-up must be established no later than within 30 days. Otherwise, the temporary residence permit will be revoked.
All of these solutions to improve the business environment and many other have further accelerated the implementation of the new “Startup Employee Visa” procedure, which is a continuation of “Startup Visa”, which is intended no for a start-up itself or its founder, but for the start-up’s employees arriving from abroad.
The joint memorandum of the Ministry of the Interior, the Ministry of Economy and Innovation and the Migration Department aims to reduce barriers for entry into Lithuania for highly qualified professionals. Up until now, the foreigners using “Startup Visa” program have successfully relocated their start-ups to Lithuania and obtained a temporary residence permit. The main challenge and a big problem was that they we unable to bring foreign employees to Lithuania, who had been hired in their country prior to relocation of the business to Lithuania.
The aim of the new procedure is to enable the employees of start-ups to tackle all the procedures at the Migration Department more quickly and easily with the help of the “Startup Employee Visa” program. There are plans to implement a one-stop-shop principle for all services pertaining to the temporary residence permit specifically intended for the employees of start-ups. This should help businesses with high added value to become more firmly established in the Lithuanian market.