Lithuanians proposing a ‘selective open’ policy to the migrant workers

January 9, 2008 at 9:22 pm 3 comments

WorkigThe Lithuanian Foreign Ministry began to tackle a labour shortage problem in Lithuania.  The Ministry came up with the plan of a ‘selectively open’ migration policy in Lithuania.  The calls of the Lithuanian business for lifting strict worker migrant restrictions yield some results.  The Lithuanian Government joined the EU race for the ‘hands and brains of the non-EU nationals.

As the Foreign Ministry on 8 January, the situation on the Lithuanian labour market and competition for labour with other countries of the European Union (EU) urges to think about forming “selectively open” policy of economic immigration and presented proposals.

The proposal is to form an immigration policy of labour force from third countries aimed at ensuring sufficient labour force for Lithuania’s economic development and avoids negative consequences of migration.

The principles of the immigration strategy urge to outline political and geographical priorities – to invite workers from Belarus, Moldova, Ukraine, Russia, and countries of the South Caucasus region and facilitate hiring of these citizens in Lithuania.

The Foreign Ministry said to the BNS that the principle of geographical priorities could be implemented by way of concluding new bilateral agreements on hiring of citizens with these countries or revising the existing relevant bilateral documents.

As the BNS reported, according to the proposal, the “selectively open” immigration policy should be shaped with a focus not only the neighbouring countries but also the high-skilled labour force and economic sectors, which create the highest added value, as well as encourage migration back to home countries in the long run.

As the said Foreign Ministry Undersecretary Laimonas Talat-Kelpša told to the BNS “Migration policy based on these principles may become a vital instrument of exterior relations and contribute to implementation of strategic foreign policy goals – European and democratic changes in countries of the neighbouring region. This way would help get back the funds of development cooperation, which we have invested in improvement of qualifications of the labour force of these countries,” who presented the proposals.

The Lithuanian Economic Migration Strategy suggests that workers from third countries would only be invited in cases when the local labour force is insufficient, when Lithuanians do not supplement it in emigration or citizens of other EU countries.

The voices from the concerned Lithuanian authorities expressed their comprehensions regarding possible migration from the Asian and the African countries to Lithuania, which could create ethnical tensions in the mainly xenophobic country.  After pointing at the recent troubles in Paris suburbs many Lithuanian officials expressed they believe the ‘Lithuanians are not quite ready for the multi racial society yet.

Hence, it appears that the strategists of the migration policy decided to forestall the events, and open the borders to the migrants from largely Christian countries in the East, so to avoid possible ethnical tensions in the future.  However, it remains to be seen if our neighbours from the East will be willing to fill the vacant work places in Lithuanian job market.


Entry filed under: Baltic States, Economics, Lithuania, Northern Europe.

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3 Comments Add your own

  • 1. GK  |  January 10, 2008 at 5:43 pm

    What about these new immigrants’ sociological effect? They are Russian speakers. They may join the Russian-speaking community and neglect to learn Lithuanian.

  • 2. Ruslanas Iržikevičius  |  January 10, 2008 at 9:03 pm

    Hi there,

    Thank you for the question. Well, it might be a problem but is lesser of the evils. In the comparison to the other Baltic States situation, the Lithuanian boat is not that full yet, if I may say so.

    Further more, our Eastern neighbours might find it easer to integrate in Lithuania, and the Lithuanians would tolerate the white Christians more. I am sorry to say that but the situation is such for some time to come. Lithuania is a very homogeneous country, and according to the opinion polls still rather homophobic. Don’t take me wrong; there only very few reported racially motivated assaults last year.

    There is also a possibility that after their mission is complete the temporarily labour migrants will either move back home, since the economical situation is rapidly improving in the Eastern European countries, or, it is horrible to say, they will move farther to West…

    However, as one of the Western European politicians said once, we expected the labourers to come but actual people came.

    Best regards,

  • 3. John  |  February 23, 2008 at 4:45 pm

    I am glad that at least one country realizes the pitfall of allowing Asians and Africans, and Muslims, to settle in their lands. Make no mistake, if Africans and others ever come there for work, they will not leave unless forced to do so. Meanwhile, they will create dangerous and dirty ghettos like they do EVERYWHERE else they set foot. Immigration of non-whites = cultural suicide.


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