Wednesday July 17, 2024

Lithuania introduces annual quota for third-country workers

Published : 22 Jun 2024, 00:25

  DF News Desk
People walk on a street as a light show is seen in the background during the International Light Festival in Vilnius, Lithuania, on Jan. 25, 2024. File Photo: Xinhua.

The Lithuanian parliament (Seimas) on Thursday passed an annual quota allowing 40,000 third-country nationals to come and work in Lithuania, reported Xinhua.

Eighty-seven MPs voted in favor of the quota, one against, and eight abstained.

"We will have a real quota that allows us to ensure that all workforce migration processes will be better controlled in Lithuania," Interior Minister Agne Bilotaite told lawmakers.

The quota would allow for the annual entry of third-country laborers representing up to 1.4 percent of the number of permanent residents in Lithuania as of July 2022.

Lawmakers also tightened conditions for the employment of foreigners, requirements for companies, and the procedure for issuing temporary residence permits in Lithuania.

"When tackling labor shortages, we certainly cannot overlook threats to our national security and we must prevent abuse of migration procedures," Bilotaite said.

According to the ministry, the quota was calculated after assessing the authorities' capacity to monitor compliance and the needs of the country's labor market. The new quota will only apply to newcomers.

Figures from the Interior Ministry show that last year, the number of foreigners living in Lithuania exceeded 200,000 for the first time in the country's history.

The number of foreign workers coming to Lithuania, mostly from Belarus, increased by 65 percent to 142,000 in 2023, the Employment Service said on Wednesday, citing employers' reports.

At the beginning of this year, the majority of foreigners working in Lithuania, 131,400, were third-country nationals. This was 65.5 percent more than a year ago, while the number of EU citizens working in Lithuania stood at 10,000, a 66.7 percent increase.