A record flow of foreign migrants to Lithuania: why is it good for them here?

A record flow of foreign migrants to Lithuania: why is it good for them here?

A record flow of foreign migrants to Lithuania: why is it good for them here?
Against the background of demographic problems, the gradual growth of immigration will become inevitable. How does Lithuania attract foreigners, what do they hope to find in it, while its own population is leaving the country en masse? And how can immigration be useful for the country’s economy and for the return of its citizens?
The situation is analyzed by the economist Rokas Grajauskas (Rokas Grajauskas). BALTNEWS.lt publishes its analytical review from the website of Danske Bank.
In 2016, more than 20 thousand people came to Lithuania. Most of the & ndash; 14.2 thousand & mdash; they are returning emigrants. However, statistics indicate that every year returning to their homeland is becoming less. But the number of foreigners who want to settle in Lithuania, is constantly growing.
Until 2014, most of the foreigners who arrived in Lithuania were Russians. However, with the beginning of the conflict between Ukraine and Russia, the number of emigrating Ukrainians has sharply increased. Most of all they came to neighboring countries & ndash; Russia, Poland, other states of Central Europe. But the number of people wishing to settle in Lithuania also increased dramatically.
In 2015 & mdash; 2016, 1.6 thousand Ukrainians came to the country. Even more citizens of Ukraine were granted work permits without residency. Among them, the biggest part is the drivers of trucks on long-haul flights.
And still, the hospitality of Lithuania in the eyes of foreigners fades in comparison with other countries in the region. According to the statistical office of the EU Eurostat, in 2015 Lithuania was among the states that received immigrants less than others. Less than in Lithuania, work permits were issued only in Bulgaria, Croatia, Romania and Slovakia.
Meanwhile, in Poland in 2015, a residence permit received over half a million people. Absolute majority of foreigners who came to Poland & ndash; they are Ukrainians. It is believed that in 2017 the number of Ukrainians temporarily or permanently residing in Poland will exceed one million.
More than half of the foreigners coming to Lithuania expect to find work here or better living conditions. Another quarter moves according to family circumstances. Only 14% of foreigners come to study in Lithuania & ndash; and this is one of the lowest rates in the EU.
Work in Lithuania is most often sought by people with lower qualifications. According to the Lithuanian Labor Exchange, in 2016 the most permissions for work were given to long-distance drivers & ndash; 77%. Other popular and popular in Lithuania professions & ndash; builders, cooks, welders. Specialists of higher qualification in Lithuania come a little: only a few hundred a year. However, with the simplification of the requirements of the so-called “blue card” in the service centers and the IT sector, a much larger number of foreigners could be employed.
The main reason why Lithuania needs to import more and more labor from abroad is very simple & ndash; the business of the hands is not enough, and this hinders the development of the economy. Despite the fact that there are currently 110,000 unemployed registered in the country, the number of vacant jobs is still growing faster and already reaches 15,000. Some sectors of the economy, for example, cargo transportation or the construction of ships, could not have developed today if they had not been provided with an additional inflow of labor. The IT sector is approaching the same situation.
Immigration has another dimension & ndash; public sector financing. With the reduction in the population, the ratio of workers and pensioners inevitably worsens. And this means that in the future it will be necessary to constantly increase the retirement age or reduce the size of pensions.
In Lithuania, the situation develops that even with the growth of salaries, the compatriots who have left abroad do not want to return to their homeland. They can be understood & ndash; salaries in Lithuania and Western Europe are still 3-4 times different in favor of Lithuania. Therefore, it is unreasonable to think that the growth of wages in the country by 5%, 6% or even 8% will prompt Lithuanians to return to their homeland.
At the same time, for the residents of Ukraine or Belarus, tormented by political and economic difficulties, where the average wage is & ndash; 200-300 euros, Lithuania seems quite an attractive place to live and work. In addition, here they feel more cultured and linguistically closer to the indigenous people than in the countries of Western Europe.
With the increase in the population demographic in Lithuania, the ever larger scale of immigration of foreigners will become inevitable. If we can attract more highly skilled workers and especially students to Lithuanian universities, we will create a condition for the development of the economy. In the long term, this will increase the attractiveness of Lithuania and in the eyes of Lithuanians who have left abroad.


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