Lithuania: Law Creates New Work Permit Exemption and Residence Permit Category for Technology Startups, Among Other Changes
A new law exempts certain non-EU/European Economic Area employees from a work permit, exempts EU Blue Card applicants from a Labour Exchange decision if their profession is on a list of approved shortage occupations, increases the validity period for directors and shareholders' temporary residence permits and creates a new residence permit category for foreign workers in technology startups, among other changes.
A new law effective immediately exempts certain non-EU/ European Economic Area (EEA) employees on a shortage occupation list from a work permit or Labour Exchange decision.
The current list of those eligible for the exemption include the following workers, among others:
• Metal hull collectors;
• Metal working machine operators;
• International freight vehicle drivers;
• Employees of non-EU/EEA companies who have worked in the sending company for at least three months and are covered by the sending country's social insurance sent on assignments up to one year to provide services in Lithuania;
• Non-EU/EEA nationals who have completed their studies or vocational training in Lithuania who are planning to work in Lithuania in their field of study; and
• Foreign nationals studying in Lithuania and working up to 20 hours per week.
New Labour Exchange Decision Rule
Applicants for a Labour Exchange decision - in which the Labour Exchange Commission confirms that the worker is essential in the Lithuanian labor market - can now be submitted 14 calendar days after registration of the open position with the Lithuanian Labour Exchange Commission, instead of the current one-month waiting period.
EU Blue Card applicants no longer require a Labour Exchange decision if their profession is on a list of approved shortage occupations. The list has not yet been published.
New Rules for Board Members and Directors
The law also eliminates the rule for company directors or shareholders seeking a temporary residence permit to have three full-time workers in their company. Instead, the company can have an unspecified number of employees as long as the overall remuneration of the employees is double the average Lithuanian salary.
The law also increases the validity period of directors' and shareholders' temporary residence permits to two or three years, depending on the foreign business' investment in Lithuania, up from the previous one-year validity period.
Lastly, directors' and shareholders' family members can now apply for a temporary residence permit when the main applicant submits an application. The two-year waiting period has been eliminated.
New Residence Permit for Technology Startups
Additionally, non-EU/EEA nationals who seek a temporary residence permit in Lithuania to implement new technologies or innovative businesses that the Lithuanian government considers significant for Lithuanian economic and social development are now eligible for a temporary residence permit. They must submit a special document certifying that they comply with the applicable criteria.
To qualify for a residence permit, the applicant must establish a company and start activities within 30 days of obtaining the residence permit. The permit will be valid for one year with the possibility of another year-long extension.
A residence permit holder under this new category must earn at least the monthly salary paid to a Lithuanian national working for the same employer and in the same position, or if there is no such local employee, at least the average Lithuanian salary.
What This Means for Employers and Foreign Nationals
Foreign workers and employers eligible for the new work permit or Labour Exchange decision exemptions should benefit from fewer hurdles prior to work authorization. Due to the new exemptions, fees may change.
Qualifying board members and shareholders should benefit from a longer residence permit validity period. Lastly, technology startup workers should benefit from the availability of a new residence permit.
This alert is for informational purposes only. If you have any questions, please contact the global immigration professional with whom you work at Fragomen or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.