Sat. Dec 2nd, 2023
Proposed Amendments Aim to Tighten Immigration of Foreign Workers in Lithuania

The Chairman of the Lithuanian Parliament’s National Security and Defense Committee (NSGK), Laurynas Kasčiūnas, plans to propose legislative amendments to tighten the immigration of foreign workers to Lithuania. The proposed measures include not only requiring foreign nationals living in the country for more than 5 years to pass a state language test but also restrictions on establishing offices for external service providers. Kasčiūnas believes that consultations with border guards and the State Security Department (VSD) should be held before such centers that facilitate the immigration of workers from third countries are opened.

Kasčiūnas stated that it is necessary to find a balance between labor immigration according to real market needs and national security and cultural cohesion. He raised questions about the kind of Lithuania people want to live in – one with no-go zones or one that controls migration and is a safe state.

Kasčiūnas acknowledged that his proposals will face criticism not only from fellow parliamentarians but also from non-governmental organizations and business representatives. He emphasized the importance of timely reactions and appropriate decisions to prevent Lithuania from becoming a magnet for third-country migration.

Regarding the establishment of external service providers, Kasčiūnas believes that potential threats to national security need to be assessed. He stated that the list of countries from which employers can bring in foreign workers should be compiled in consultation with the State Border Guard Service (VSAT) and the State Security Department (VSD). He also highlighted the need for reliable businesses that understand the need for national security to be involved in immigration policies.

Kasčiūnas further suggested linking temporary residence permits in Lithuania to work permits. If a foreign worker changes employers within six months, they will lose their work permit and have to start the process again. He hopes that serious companies genuinely in need of labor will support this proposal.

In addition, Kasčiūnas emphasized the need to establish clear regulations for the issuance of temporary residence permits. Currently, foreign nationals living in Lithuania for more than five years can apply for permanent residence permits but must pass a Lithuanian language exam and a Constitution exam. Kasčiūnas proposed introducing a mandatory state language test for foreign nationals who have lived in Lithuania for at least five years, regardless of whether they wish to obtain permanent residence or extend their temporary residence permit.