March 15, 2019

Labour and business immigration to Lithuania

Lithuania has established itself as a top CEE destination for shared service centers, international fintech and IT industry players. One of the latest recognitions of this fact comes from CEE Business Services Summit & Awards 2018 where Vilnius was recognized as most dynamically developing city. With a rapidly growing number of international companies established in Lithuania, Vilnius as well as other Lithuanian cities have become a home place for many foreign employees from non-EU countries.

High-skilled expatriates are more than welcome in Lithuania, especially when their field of occupation lies within IT and fintech industries. The Lithuanian labour and immigration law has been adapted and tailored to ensure the most favorable and flexible treatment of high-skilled employees and entrepreneurs. Hence it is possible now for a non-EU expatriate to obtain a residence permit within only two weeks.

Lithuania has set up a list of in-demand professionals that enables high-skilled non-EU nationals to benefit from fast track residence and work permit procedures. Currently this list includes 49 professionals and more than a half of the listed professions are IT related. Software developers, software engineers, computer network analysts and administrators, software architects and software testers are among those most wanted professionals in Lithuania.

Although the so-called blue card residency is an EU-wide path for third country nationals to work and reside within the EU, Lithuania has been constantly improving its blue card application procedures to make them fast and efficient. A number of formal requirements for the Lithuanian blue card applicants and their employers have been simplified to avoid process delay and unnecessary formalities. For example, blue card applicants are no longer required to provide official criminal background certificates. Furthermore, companies employing blue card holders are no longer required to register their employment contracts with Lithuanian Labour Market Authority. Last but not the least, high-skilled foreign employees are generally exempt from recognition of their professional qualifications, provided that their profession is not regulated. Such approach enables foreign high-skilled nationals to complete the immigration process and start their employment within shortest time possible.

Third country entrepreneurs operating within IT, hi-tech (laser technology, mechatronics, nanotechnology), biotechnology, electronics and some other business fields can also benefit from fast and simplified immigration procedures. This business-related option for obtaining Lithuanian residence permit has been put in place to serve the needs of international startups. Normally, third country nationals applying for a business-related residence and work permit in Lithuania are subject to stringent economic substance requirements, including the age of a company, number of local employees and etc. Such requirements can be hardly satisfied in case of startup businesses. That is why the so-called startup visa initiative was brought to life. Thanks to this, startup entrepreneurs can obtain a Lithuanian residence permit without the need to satisfy traditional economic substance requirements.

Author: Aleksandr Masaliov