Lithuania is starting to seriously deal with the problem of talent shortage. Already today, on 1 August, a number of substantial amendments to the Law of the Republic of Lithuania on the Legal Status of Aliens (hereinafter – the Law) entered into force, which will not only further simplify migration procedures, but will also reduce the administrative burden for aliens, employers intending to hire them and public authorities. A TRINITI JUREX lawyer, Migration Practice lead, invites you to get acquainted with the most significant amendments to the Law in the article below.
1. The possibilities for aliens to obtain temporary residence permits on the basis of highly qualified employment (Blue Cards) have been further simplified.
Firstly, the List of List of Shortage Occupations Requiring High Professional Qualifications in the Republic of Lithuania was revoked. It is replaced by the new List of Shortage Occupations with High Added Value in the Republic of Lithuania.
Aliens whose occupation is included in the aforementioned list will have to be paid at least 1.2 times the last published average gross monthly wage in the national economy (including the data on the wages of individual enterprises) for the calendar year (hereinafter – the last published GW), i. e. EUR 1,895.28 as of today. However, if the occupation of an alien is not included in the aforementioned list, they have to be paid 1.5 times the amount of the last published GW, i. e. EUR 2 369.10 (as of today).
Secondly, along with the revocation of the List of Shortage Occupations Requiring High Professional Qualifications in the Republic of Lithuania, the requirement for aliens applying for the Blue Card to obtain a decision of the Employment Service under the Ministry of Social Security and Labour of the Republic of Lithuania (hereinafter – the Employment Service) that the alien’s employment meets the needs of the labour market of the Republic of Lithuania has been abolished.
Thirdly, without a university degree, it will now be possible to prove not only at least 5 years of professional experience, but also at least 3 years of professional experience gained in the last 7 years specifically as a manager or ITRT specialist in ITRT services.
Fourthly, from now on, the minimum period for which an employer will have to employ an alien shall be 6 months instead of 1 year.
Fifthly, from now on, a highly qualified employee will have the right to change the job function with the same employer without the permission of the Migration Department. The obligation to obtain a permit from the Migration Department shall remain in force in the following cases: if an alien wishes to change employer within 1 year of his/her legal employment in Lithuania or intends to take up another job requiring high professional qualifications after losing his/her job and before the expiry of the six-month period.
The time limits for the Migration Department to issue such an authorisation have been shortened as well. From now on, the Migration Department undertook to take a decision on the authorisation to change an employer no later than within 14 calendar days from the date of the application (before it was 1 month).
Sixthly, if an alien does not change an employer, but is employed by another additional employer, he/she will have to notify the Migration Department of this within 7 working days.
Finally, an alien who has lost his job in Lithuania will have 6 months to look for a new job, instead of 3 months as it used to be.
2. The List of Approved Establishments has been revoked.
As the amendments to the Law substantially facilitate migration procedures for all employed aliens, the list, also known as the list “prestigious” companies, ceased to exist. Until now, that list had laid down special conditions for aliens coming to work in the companies included in that list. However, the list has now been abolished and the requirements for all foreigners have been made the same.
3. The possibility of concluding with an alien a contract for employment with several employers was definitively established. Also, the possibility to conclude a temporary employment contract with an alien.
The Migration Department has finalised the possibility for foreigners to conclude a contract for employment with several employers and has also softened its position on the possibility for foreigners to work under a temporary employment contract. Employers wishing to employ a foreigner under a temporary employment contract will have to obtain a decision of the Employment Service that the alien’s employment meets the needs of the Lithuanian labour market.
4. The requirements for the qualifications of aliens are simplified.
From now on, an employer will be able to recruit an alien who does not meet all but at least one of the following conditions: the alien has a qualification relevant to the work to be performed, or the alien has 1 year’s work experience in the last 3 years relevant to the work to be performed, or the alien is expected to be paid a monthly salary of at least the latest published GW, i. e. EUR 1,579.40 (as of today).
5. The amendments to the laws are aimed at providing even more opportunities for the aliens studying in Lithuania.
Firstly, the maximum limit of working time for the aliens of 20 hours per week, applicable during the period of study or training, has been abolished. From now on, all aliens will be able to work full-time during their studies or training.
Secondly, an alien who has completed studies or training under the formal vocational training programme in Lithuania will be able to apply for a temporary residence permit within 10 years of the completion of studies or training under the formal vocational training programme (previously a period was 2 years). For these reasons, the employer shall not be required to provide information on the alien’s experience, qualifications, wage higher than the last published rate of the GW or the decision of the Employment Service.
6. The amendments to the laws are aimed at providing even more opportunities for work and self-employment for the most vulnerable aliens.
First, if an alien has been granted temporary protection and intends to apply for a temporary residence permit on the basis of employment, the alien shall be exempted from the obligation to obtain a decision of the Employment Service that the alien’s employment meets the needs of the Lithuanian labour market. This exemption shall apply if the alien applies for a residence permit on the basis of employment for the first time after the grant of temporary protection or if such a residence permit is changed and the alien’s employer remains the same.
Secondly, Ukrainian citizens, their family members and stateless persons who have resided in Ukraine and moved from Ukraine to Lithuania due to the military activities of the Russian Federation in Ukraine and who have taken the opportunity to start working without a work permit issued by the Employment Service or a decision that the alien’s employment meets the needs of the Lithuanian labour market, shall be exempted from the obligation to obtain this decision of the Employment Service. This exemption shall apply if the alien applies for a residence permit on the basis of work and the employment relationship continues with the same employer.
Thirdly, asylum seekers and alien illegal immigrants who have illegally crossed the border of the Republic of Lithuania from Belarus during an emergency shall be granted the right to work or become self-employed 12 months after registration of the alien in the Lithuanian Migration Information System (MIGRIS) – these aliens shall be issued, upon their request, an alien’s registration certificate specifying the right to work. These aliens shall be required to obtain a work permit before starting work, unless they are exempt from this obligation.