The Lithuanian government has greenlit a proposal to introduce quotas for non-EU migrant workers.
The law, drafted by the Ministry of the Interior, would see the quota set annually by the Lithuanian Labour Exchange, which also publishes lists of professions in short supply.
“In order to regulate the flow of foreigners who come to work in Lithuania, we must not just make a list of professions we lack, but assess the actual needs of the labour market and fill the gap with workers from third countries,” Interior Minister Eimutis Misiūnas was quoted in a statement following a Cabinet meeting on Wednesday.
If the law passes, the first quota would be set in 2021. It would not apply to highly qualified professions.
The law also gives preferential treatment for citizens from countries that have visa-free travel agreements with Lithuania, including Australia, Japan, the United States, Canada, South Korea and New Zealand.
These nationals would be eligible for three-year residency permits.
Some 52,000 non-EU workers arrived in Lithuania last year. The number has been growing steadily.
Most of the workers came from Ukraine.