The Speaker of the Parliament, together with members of the Liberal Movement group, registered amendments to the Law on the Legal Status of Aliens.
According to the current procedure, foreigners intending to work in Lithuania must obtain a work permit once the quota for a calendar year has been exhausted, even if there is a shortage of workers in those professions.
„The ruling party took this decision in the last legislature, which both employers and migration experts opposed. It was supposedly to protect the Lithuanian labour market. In practice, however, this system has only created unnecessary bureaucratic burdens and additional costs for employers and the state,“ says V. Čmilytė-Nielsen.
According to the Speaker of the Seimas, the missing professions were included in the list because there is a local market shortage. Still, once the quota of foreigners on the labour market has been used up, they do not automatically appear.
V. Čmilytė-Nielsen said that the amendments to the Law aim to solve the shortage of workers and eliminate unnecessary bureaucratic burdens on institutions.
„To address the shortage of workers and the challenges related to Lithuania's demographic situation, it is necessary to revise Lithuania's migration policy and processes, including the decision-making process for easier recruitment of foreigners, and to at least do away with the quota system,“ the authors of the draft law say in their explanatory note.
They point out that Lithuania is competing with other countries for third-country workers and is losing out to its neighbours in this talent competition.
„In Poland, the procedures for recruiting foreigners are cheaper and faster. Many foreigners working in Lithuania are recruited in Poland and work in Lithuania on a secondment or subcontracting basis. In such cases, our state budget loses revenue, as these workers pay taxes in Poland,“ the explanatory note says.
The MEPs who drafted the draft say that the Employment Service approves the list of shortage occupations every year, which means that it carries out an annual survey of the labour market and ensures insufficient local labour is available.
„For example, in 2021 and 2022, the quota for international drivers expired in the summer, and then all employers had to apply to the Employment Service, pay additional state fees and obtain work permits for foreigners. Lithuania had no local workforce at the end of the year, so applying to the Employment Service (looking for a local worker on the labour market) was a bureaucratic and absurd procedure“, – said the members of the Seimas, who have registered amendments to the Law.
V. Čmilytė-Nielsen's amendments to the Law On the Legal Status of Foreigners are being submitted together with her by the members of the Liberal Movement Group of the Seimas Arminas Lydeka, Eugenijus Gentvilas, Romualdas Vaitkus, Andrius Bagdonas, Virgilijus Alekna, Edita Rudelienė, Raimundas Lopata, Jonas Varkalys, Viktoras Pranckietis.