Lithuania liberalizes labor migration

We are excited to celebrate liberalization of labor migration of non-EU nationals passed into law in late June by the Lithuanian parliament. This takes place just under a year after the team at Lithuanian Free Market Institute (LFMI) initiated discussions on systemic reform to address looming demographic and labor market challenges.

LFMI first started looking into the regulations on migrant workers from third countries back in 2018 under the RTF-funded project, Think Tanks for Labor Market Reforms in Central and Eastern Europe - publishing a report on regulatory restrictions applied to employing third-country (non-EU) nationals. As part of this project, LFMI worked in cooperation with five prominent classical liberal think tanks to create research on labor market regulation and the repercussions of existing government interventions on individual liberty, labor markets, and employment.

Lithuania cut the time it takes to receive temporary residence permits and allowed foreigners to apply for permits from abroad. Employers will now be able to hire migrant workers regardless of their qualifications or work experience. Job openings for high-skilled migrant specialists will not be subject to so-called labor market tests meant to give priority to local candidates.

We are very proud of this victory – LFMI‘s systemic analysis and multiple top-level discussions laid the groundwork and roadmap for this reform. Importantly, they catalyzed a landmark policy shift toward easing employment regulations for low- and mid-skilled workers and not just high-value-added specialists.

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