A new information portal designed to ease immigration to Lithuania for highly-skilled specialists and investors from outside the EU is launching this week. The project, entitled Internet Gates, is managed by Invest Lithuania, the foreign direct investment development agency.
© DELFI / Mindaugas Ažušilis

"The Blue Card facilitates the immigration procedures for foreign professionals and thus increases the country’s attractiveness to investors. This means that Lithuanian companies can hire skilled specialists more easily; moreover, companies from abroad are able to more efficiently address the issues related to the lack of skilled labour and to bring in professionals they need from their subsidiaries based in other countries," Minister of Economy Evaldas Gustas is quoted in a press release.

The centrepiece of the project is the website www.eubluecard.lt Available in both Russian and English, the website explains the advantages Lithuania has to offer for highly-qualified professionals and explicitly sets out the procedures for obtaining an EU Blue Card. The EU Blue Card allows skilled non-EU citizens to live and work in the EU.

Currently there are more than 3,000 foreign capital companies operating in Lithuania and employing about 123,000 people. In many cases, investors bring employees from their headquarters abroad to work on the setting up of their new offices in Lithuania.

Until now, there has been no central informational tool which explicitly explained and described how to obtain an EU Blue Card in order to live and work in Lithuania.

"When I was moving to Lithuania and trying to get a Blue Card, I had many questions," explains entrepreneur Alexander Shvetsov who heads the start-up Dropbyke which launched in Vilnius this autumn. "We wasted a lot of time trying to get all the necessary information from the Migration Department, various lawyers and Invest Lithuania. Of course, we received assistance in this process. However, a lot of time could have been saved on all sides, if the main issues were explained in one place and all the procedures were set out clearly and intelligibly. I’m sure this new information portal will help Lithuania attract more talents and foreign companies for whom immigration regulations for non-EU citizens have been an issue in the past."

Interior Minister Elvinas Jankevičius says that attracting skilled specialists is a key priority of Lithuania’s immigration policy. "We live in a global world; therefore, we cannot avoid either emigration or immigration. Nevertheless, some countries have explicit strategic aims directed at attracting the skilled specialists they need. For example, Canada explicitly states these aims in its immigration rules, applying simplified conditions for those specialists who are in high demand in the country. Recently, Estonia has also launched a campaign aimed at attracting talented employees from abroad. Lithuania, too, is interested in a well-considered approach to immigration, and these ‘open gates’ are the first step in attracting talent to Lithuania.”

Mantas Katinas, general manager of Invest Lithuania, noted that in order to achieve the goal of attracting the most talented specialists from outside the EU, providing information in a clear and accessible manner is only the first step. It is also important to ensure attractive immigration conditions in Lithuania.

"During our work with investors, we have witnessed a considerable increase in interest in the opportunity to work and create jobs in Lithuania in the past several years," Katinas explained. "For this reason, providing clear information in one place was absolutely necessary. If we are serious in our efforts to attract more non-EU talents as part of our wider immigration policy, the next step must be to create more favourable conditions for heads of companies, start-ups, students and highly qualified specialists to come to Lithuania and create added value here."

For a comprehensive guide to immigration to Lithuania for non-EU citizens, go to www.eubluecard.lt.

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