Migration and labour market integration of third-country nationals: The case of Lithuania

Keywords: immigration, third-country nationals, migration policy, labour market, Lithuania
Language: In English

Migration processes are increasingly influencing the economic and social development of countries around the world. As many EU countries are facing the shortage of skilled labour force, non-EU nationals, also known as third-country nationals (TCNs), are increasingly coming to EU countries to live and work. This poses new challenges to EU Member States and their economic and social systems. For many decades Lithuania received almost no immigration and it did not have any immigration policy, however, the stabilisation of the country’s economy after the crisis of 2008–2009 encouraged immigration growth in Lithuania from 2011, in particular on account of TCN migrants. Today, Lithuania is one of the European countries with steadily growing flows of immigrants from third countries. The article analyses the labour migration policy from the third countries in Lithuania as well as challenges related to employment and social protection of TCNs in Lithuania. The analysis has shown that TCN migrants have been gaining more and more influence in the Lithuanian labour market since 2015, although their relative weight still remains very low. The growing number of TCN migrants in the Lithuanian labour market brought an urgency to pay more attention to the protection of their rights and guarantees as well as to opportunities for the integration of migrants into Lithuanian society. On the other hand, there are still a number of abuses by employers: migrants are applied lower pay rates for work, are offered to work longer hours than regulated by the Labour Code, and there is deficiency in immigrants’ working conditions. However, the number of such incidents is declining in Lithuania.