September 24, 2019

Changes introduced to Lithuanian immigration laws, effective 1 September 2019 Important for businesses and third-country nationals

Simplified procedures. When applying for a residence permit, those employees who are deemed “highly qualified” are no longer required to provide legalized educational documents justifying their professional qualifications. This applies to non-regulated professions only.

Biometrical data will now be collected and processed by the migration office during the initial visit (i.e., when a residence permit application is submitted). Following this, applicants are only required to reappear to pick up their residence permit card.

Please note that the Lithuanian Migration Department plans to process these applications electronically as of 14 October 2019. According to the new procedures, all applications will have to be filed online

New residency opportunities. As of 1 September 2019, nationals from Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, South Korea, and the United States will benefit from preferential treatment in obtaining employment or business-related residence permits. Nationals from the United Kingdom will be added to the list following Brexit. The nationals of all of the countries noted above will not be subject to specific business continuity and substance criteria. 

Less red tape for those who are approved. Those employers who are on the Official List of Approved Entities will be able to avoid certain formal requirements that used to apply to their third-country employees. For example, in cases of intra-group employee transfers, approved entities will be exempt from the requirement to provide the educational documents of employees who are seconded. Furthermore, said entities will be subject to less paperwork when applying for a national visa D or residence permit. 

(Note: the Official List of Approved Entities is overseen by the Lithuanian Migration Department and may be subject to certain additional conditions. Companies who have been in operation for more than 2 years are eligible to apply to be part of this list). 

Quota for professions in high demand. As of 1 July 2020, quotas will apply to third-country employees practicing in the so-called “in demand” professions. The list of in demand professions is approved by the Lithuanian Labour Authority. Currently, holders of in demand professions are not subject to the local labour market test. When the applicable quotas are exhausted, all new third-country entrants to the Lithuanian market will have to complete a local labour market test. 

It is expected that the quotas will be established by the Lithuanian Minister of Labour and Social Insurance. The quotas will mostly affect third-country construction workers and truck drivers, who are currently in high demand in Lithuania.