Guidance for hiring foreigners: the process and new opportunities

Guidance for hiring foreigners: the process and new opportunities

According to Migration Department data, there were 73,800 registered foreigners living in Lithuania at the start of this year, with just 7,483 being citizens of European Union Member States. The majority of foreigners living in Lithuania are from other European countries, more than half of them come to Lithuania for work.

Bearing in mind the Lithuanian legislation regulating the legal status of aliens, it is clear that the implementation of the planned process for the employment of aliens is a challenging task. Although difficult, it is possible to make progress considering the fact that, since the start of this year, there are additional opportunities to employ foreigners from third countries.

All foreigners intending to work in Lithuania must obtain a work permit before entering the country and apply to the relevant Lithuanian embassy or consular department for the issuance of a national visa.

Simpler processes apply to those with professions which are in short supply in Lithuania

Lithuanian law provides for simpler procedures for those who have professions that are in short supply in Lithuania. There are two separate lists of such professions: the first for those with secondary or vocational education (professions in the construction, industry and transport sectors) and the second for professions requiring high professional qualifications and professions that are in short supply in Lithuania, including professions related to technology and engineering, mechanics, automation, information technology, computer systems and programming in various industries.

Foreigners intending to come to Lithuania to work in professions that are in short supply in Lithuania are exempted from the obligation to obtain a work permit and can immediately apply for a national visa to the Lithuanian Embassy abroad and to the Migration Department for a temporary residence permit.

Such persons are granted a temporary residence permit for a period of two years with the right to apply for its extension. Highly qualified specialists whose professions are included in the list of professions that are in short supply and require high professional qualifications are granted a temporary residence permit for a period of three years with the right to apply for its extension.

It should be noted that employers can use simplified processes to employ foreigners who have completed studies or training in Lithuania according to a vocational training programme and apply for a temporary residence permit within two years from the completion of studies or training according to a vocational training programme. They also do not require a work permit – they can apply for a temporary residence permit in Lithuania on the basis of work. A residence permit in Lithuania is issued to them for a maximum of two years.

When is it necessary to obtain the Employment Service’s decision regarding compliance with labour market needs?

A Lithuanian visa may be issued for a maximum of one year, even in cases where it is issued on the basis of a work permit. As the issued work permit is only a basis for an alien to apply for a national visa, which can be issued for a maximum of one year without the possibility of extension, it is not attractive to either the employer or the potential employee, as the employment relationship lasts only for  one year.

So employers who intend to engage employees whose specialisms are not included in the list of professions that are in short supply should consider –  together with migration and labour law specialists –  the possibility of applying to the Employment Service for a decision on the compliance of the work of a foreigner (high professional qualification) with the needs of the labour market of the Republic of Lithuania.

Such a decision issued by the Employment Service allows a foreigner to apply to the Migration Department for a temporary residence permit of two years, or three years for highly qualified specialists.

A decision from the Employment Service on the compliance of a foreigner’s profession with the requirements of the labour market is not necessary in the following two circumstances:

  • when the employer submits a commitment to employ a foreigner to work in a highly specialist job according to a profession included in the list of professions that are in short supply in the Republic of Lithuania and require high professional qualification, with the employment for a period of at least one year under an employment contract and a monthly salary not less than 1.5 times the value of the national average monthly gross salary of the last quarter as published by the Department of Statistics of Lithuania;
  • when the employer submits a commitment to employ a foreigner to work in a job requiring a high professional qualification in a specialism that is not included in the list of professions in short supply in the Republic of Lithuania requiring high professional qualification, with the employment for a period of at least one year under an employment contract and a monthly salary   which is equal to no less than 3 times the value of the national average monthly gross salary of the last quarter, as published by the Department of Statistics of Lithuania.

Highly qualified employees intending to obtain a temporary residence permit in Lithuania must have a higher education diploma or obtain a decision from the Lithuanian Ministry of Economy and Innovation on matching a foreigner’s work experience with a higher education qualification. It is also important to keep in mind one of the main conditions for issuing a temporary residence permit: the amount of salary must be not less than 1.5 times the value of the last national average monthly gross salary, as published by the Department of Statistics of Lithuania.

A decision on the compliance of a foreigner’s work with the needs of the Lithuanian labour market cannot  be issued for more than two years. Meanwhile, a temporary residence permit is issued to highly qualified representatives for three years

According to the Law on the Legal Status of Aliens, a foreigner who has been issued or granted an amended temporary residence permit as employed in a job requiring high professional qualifications may work for the first two years of legal employment in Lithuania only with the employer who invited the foreigner to work. After two years, the foreigner has the right to change employer – no new decision from the Employment Service is required. In order to change an employer or job function with the same employer after two years of legal employment as a highly professional employee in Lithuania, the foreigner must submit an application to the Migration Department for permission to change the employer or job function.

A change of employer or job function with the same employer does not require a temporary residence permit.

A new opportunity to employ asylum seekers

From 1 January 2020 an additional opportunity is available to employ asylum seekers in Lithuania. The effective amendments to the Law on the Legal Status of Aliens provide for the right of asylum seekers to work if, within 6 months from the date of submitting the asylum application, the Migration Department has not, through no fault of the asylum seeker, made a decision to grant asylum in the Republic of Lithuania.

Upon receipt of an application from an asylum seeker who has acquired such a right, the Migration Department only indicates the acquired right to work in the foreigner’s registration certificate, and such asylum seeker becomes a full participant in the labour market.

According to the officially published data of the Migration Department, 646 applications for asylum were received in 2019 in Lithuania, and another 277 unexamined applications were transferred from the previous year. On 1 January 2020, there were 424 applications pending.

Although the processing period of the applications is not stated, it can be assumed for at least half of the pending applications that the duration exceeded 6 months, which suggests that, from 1 January 2020, more than 200 foreigners in Lithuania acquired the right to work without any additional procedures or obstacles.

By Dr. Laura Augytė-Kamarauskienė, Associate Partner, and Kseniya Veličkienė, Associate,  migration law expert

Sign up for our newsletter

Glimstedt dokas

Verslo poreikiams pritaikyti, patyrusių advokatų parengti, aukštos kokybės dokumentai greitai ir už prieinamą kainą. Be įsipareigojimų ar registracijų.

Glimstedt Dokas