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2020.02.11 12:00

Lithuania reports 12-month streak of positive migration

Over 600 more people arrived in Lithuania in January than left the country, according to data released by the country's statistics office on Monday, crowning a 12-month streak of positive migration.

Last month, 4,050 people arrived in Lithuania and 3,422 left, according to official statistics. Lithuanian citizens made up 56.2 and 70.8 percent of the two groups, respectively.

Read more: Lithuania's population grows for first time since 1991

As Lithuanian employers complain of a lack of workforce, senior Bank of Lithuania economist Tomas Šiaudvytis said positive migration could be a partial short-term solution.

“Businesses can hire more people, accept more orders and expand more actively. But rising immigration is also increasing workforce supply and could potentially slow down wage rises in some areas of the economy,” Šiaudvytis told BNS, adding that most non-Lithuanian migrants take up jobs in haulage and construction.

Over the last few decades, Lithuania has lost almost a fifth of its population, largely to emigration. 2019 was the first year when immigration outpaced emigration and population slightly grew.

The positive balance may not, however, be enough to solve Lithuania's problem of shrinking and aging population, Šiaudvytis said.

“It's not clear if foreigners will [...] stay in Lithuania for a long time and whether rapid immigration will continue as it depends on expansion in Lithuania's transport sector,” Šiaudvytis said.

January was the 12th consecutive month when immigration exceeded emigration. The last time a negative migration figure was recorded was in January 2019 when 68 more people left the country than arrived.

Over last year, about 40,000 people immigrated into the country and 29,200 left, according to Statistics Lithuania.

Read more: Depopulation cements political culture that perpetuates youth emigration – opinion