Reforms to streamline EU Blue Card procedures for skilled migrants to Lithuania

Mar 7, 2016
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Amendments to the Law on the Legal Status of Aliens, to be adopted this spring by Lithuania’s parliament, will streamline the EU Blue Card application process for skilled migrants moving to Lithuania. Foreign professionals earning two times the average Lithuanian salary or more will be able to obtain a Blue Card without the need to have their higher education certificates assessed by the Centre for Quality Assessment in Higher Education (the SKVC). They will instead be able to submit their documents electronically, in a move that is expected to cut application times for EU Blue Cards down to three weeks.

For Mantas Katinas, director general of Invest Lithuania (a foreign direct investment development agency), creating a migration policy focused on talent attraction is of fundamental importance for the country’s economic development. “People are Lithuania’s key competitive advantage in the fight for foreign investment,” Mr Katinas argues. “CEOs, shareholders, highly qualified specialists, start-ups and students are all talents that create added value for a country’s economy thanks to their competences, knowledge and experience. Our immigration policies must therefore be oriented towards the development of the national economy, while having globally competitive immigration procedures can also help us to create the image of a country that encourages talent growth and development. I view this resolution as a move by the Ministry of Social Security and Labour to develop a migration policy that better reflects today’s needs, namely creating a talent attraction policy oriented towards highly qualified specialists.”

Gintaras Klimavičius, Vice-Minister of Social Security and Labour, believes that immigration policies should be viewed in a complex manner, and ensuring a balance in the supply of and demand for highly qualified specialists is crucial. “Immigration policy issues are of relevance for society today, and their importance will increase in the future. One of the objectives of the Ministry of Social Security and Labour, as the creator of an effective and flexible labour market, is to ensure a competitive balance in the supply of and demand for highly qualified specialists. We are therefore looking for ways to improve our economic immigration policies oriented towards talent attraction,” the Vice-Minister said.

In cooperation with Invest Lithuania, the Ministries of the Interior, Social Security and Labour, the Economy, and Foreign Affairs, have initiated amendments to the Law on the Legal Status of Aliens. The reforms are aimed at improving immigration procedures for qualified specialists, start-ups, company CEOs and students from non-EU countries. They also aim to improve procedures for family unification. The amendments are expected to be adopted by the Lithuanian parliament during its spring session.

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