Even though Lithuania does not hold the highest number of foreign residents compared to other countries, the number of foreigners residing in Lithuania grows rapidly each year – the number increased by 12,7 per cent in 2014. Together with it, the business immigration has risen as well – the number of investors, who wish to get a residence permit and develop their business in Lithuania, has grown. Favourable conditions for it were provided by the law called “For the legal status of foreigners”, which was in force until November of 2014.
Rising number of foreigners
The quite simplistic law, in force for many years, influenced more and more foreigners to move and live in Lithuania. At the begining of 2015, according to the data of the Migration Department under the Ministry of the Interior of the Republic of Lithuania, 39 980 foreigners from 132 states resided in Lithuania. Out of them, 18 261 foreign nationals had Lithuania’s long-term residence permit to reside in the European Union, 16 707 immigrants had a temporary residence permit to live in Lithuania, and 4 718 foreigners were granted certificates, which confirm their right to reside in the Republic of Lithuania temporarily (2 971), or permanently (1 747). 294 nationals of a non-European state had a temporary (266) or a permanent (28) residence permit of a family member of a EU citizen, which allowed them to live in the Republic of Lithuania.
The origins of the foreigners and distribution
The biggest group of all foreigners, who reside in Lithuania, are the nationals of European states. There are 32 457 residents, which makes up 81,2 % of all aliens in Lithuania. The number of Russian nationals in Lithuania is 14 648, meanwhile there are 6 113 Belarusian and 5 164 Ukrainian nationals residing in the country; nationals from these three countries make up 93,5 % of all European state nationals in Lithuania. Stateless persons represent 9,1 % of all aliens in Lithuania, meanwhile 7 % of aliens are nationals of Asian states, and 1,1 % – nationals of African states. Only 0,3 % of all foreigners come from Central American and South American countries. The smallest percentage of foreign nationals – only 0,1 % – come from Australia and New Zealand.
Most of the foreign nationals or stateless people, who reside in Lithuania, live in Vilnius (15 682), Kaunas (3 945), Šiauliai (1 522) and Visaginas (2 267).
New law’s influence on statistics
After the new law amendment, high requirements were set in regards to the size of foreign investments, the duration of business operations, the number of established work places, and equity capital. On the other hand, the system became more flexible in some aspects; the immigration procedure of highly qualified employees was simplified. Thus, what influence could this have on the number of immigrants in Lithuania? To answer this, our team is going to await the newest statistics and estimate the new numbers.
The new amendments of the law, in force as of November 1, 2014, are discussed in detail HERE.