Lithuania's government on Wednesday gave a green light to hiring foreign specialists of certain fields, however, some opposition politicians warn that this could pave way for cheaper labor force that will stop the increase of wages for Lithuanians.
Workers
© Vida Press

The Ministry of Economy provided the Cabinet with a list of 27 professions that lack specialists in Lithuania. People of the professions will enjoy facilitated procedures of issuing work permits, while their employers would no longer be obliged to pay them a salary that would be three times above the average wages – their salary would have to be 1.5 times bigger.

Tomas Beržinskas, spokesman for Lithuania's prime minister, said that the government endorsed the list at a meeting in Medininkai on Wednesday.

The Economy Ministry says that the changes would allow improving the business environment and attracting investments. Among the processions are programmers, IT specialists, engineers and technicians. The provisions would apply to newcomers from outside the European Union (EU). In the EU, all citizens can work in another country without any restrictions.

Opposition MP Aušra Maldeikienė, an economist, says that there are people with the necessary qualifications in Lithuania, as well as those who have the potential of acquiring new qualifications. In her words, cheaper labour force from third countries is becoming an artificial obstacle for salary increase, as well as boosts pressure upon the public sector, namely, education and health care.

"All doors are being opened for lobbyists of employers and businessmen of cheap labor force, while the rest of the society remains behind the shut doors," Maldeikienė said in a comment criticizing the government's plans on delfi.lt portal.

In her words, immigration from third countries may fuel tensions in the society, just as the case was in Great Britain.

Meanwhile, the Economy Ministry said that the country's legal acts include enough safeguards in connection to the size of salaries.

The government has accentuated data from the Labour Exchange, which suggested that 56 percent of surveyed industrial companies lacked skilled specialists.

According to data provided by the Migration Department, 44,500 foreigners lived in Lithuania at the beginning of 2017, up by 8 percent year-on-year.

The latest Eurobarometer survey showed that 26 percent of Lithuanians viewed immigration from third countries as a positive thing, while 71 percent saw it as a negative phenomenon.

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