"With emigration growing and the economy recovering, the need for workers increases. Lithuanians leave and foreigners are needed (to fill the labor shortage)," Evelina Gudzinskaitė, the department's director, told BNS.
"The demand is constantly growing, but staff numbers at our department and other services dealing with this issue are not. The problem has been mounting up. The number of national visa applications filed during this half-year reached last year's annual level," she said.
According to Gudzinskaitė, the department, which has been asking for a staff increase since 2015, is trying to find simpler procedural solutions on visa issuance in an effort to resolve the situation. Also, the Interior Ministry has agreed on the need to change the rules for issuing visas to facilitate the process.
Meanwhile, the situation is likely to get even worse, the director said.
"Currently, one has to wait about a month. Normally, a national visa should be issued within 15 calendar days. This period may be extended in complex cases," she said.
The director advises filing visa applications online and submitting documents to territorial migration offices, rather than to the Migration Department in Vilnius.
Some 3,225 national visa applications were received in Lithuania's territory between Jan. 1 and Aug. 29, 2017, or an average of 15 applications per working day. This is up from 2,011 applications in the full year 2015, or eight per day, and 2,013 in the full year 2016, or twelve per day.
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