The number of foreigners living in Lithuania has exceeded 200 thousand
The number of foreigners living in Lithuania exceeded 200 thousand for the first time in the country’s history. Statistics available from the Migration Department show that on 1 September, a total of 203,157 persons from various foreign countries lived in Lithuania.
In the middle of this year, in July, there were slightly more than 195 thousand foreigners in Lithuania, and at the beginning of the year – almost 190 thousand.
“At the beginning of the year, we observed a slightly slower immigration of foreign workers to Lithuania. Perhaps, this was due to the talk of an impending recession at the time. However, the pace of applications for residence permits in the spring accelerated again, so the number of foreigners in Lithuania increased by 7 thousand during July and August”, – the director of the Migration Department, Evelina Gudzinskaitė, reviews the situation.
The majority of foreigners are ordinary workers
According to the Migration Department, almost 50% of all foreigners in Lithuania came here to work in various missing professions. These are mostly international long-distance cargo and passenger carriers, workers in construction and other industrial service sectors.
On 1 September, a total of 97,925 foreigners had temporary residence permits in Lithuania based on less qualified work. Another 6,258 foreigners worked in Lithuania in highly qualified jobs.
“Especially favorable immigration rules are applied to highly qualified specialists in Lithuania, therefore the number of representatives of IT, engineering and other professions living in Lithuania increases every year, albeit slowly, but steadily”, E. Gudzinskaitė observes.
It is noticeable that the number of foreigners studying in Lithuania is also increasing. As of 1 September, 5,385 foreigners had temporary residence permits in our country on the basis of science or studies. At the same time last year, there were 4,405 such persons.
49,870 foreigners used the temporary protection mechanism activated by the European Union, which is granted to refugees of the Ukrainian war who left their country due to Russian aggression. Most of them are Ukrainian citizens and their family members.
As of 1 September, 12,126 foreigners had temporary residence permits in Lithuania on the basis of family reunification.
Communities of foreigners by nationality
The largest community of foreigners in Lithuania continues to be Ukrainians – 85,579 persons. The majority of Ukrainian citizens reached Lithuania after the Russian invasion of this country started last year and continues this year. As the available statistics show, the number of citizens of the aforementioned state temporarily living in Lithuania has stabilized recently.
The Belarusian community has grown the most in Lithuania over the year. If at the beginning of the year a little more than 48 thousand Belarusian citizens lived in our country, then on 1 September there were more than 60 thousand of them.
The number of Russian citizens in Lithuania increased slightly, by only half a thousand. At the beginning of the year, 15,706 Russians lived in our country, on 1 September – 16,179. Most of them – 8,571 – are permanent residents of Lithuania, who have been living here for a couple of decades or more.
There is no doubt that Russian migration was influenced by the tightening of the visa regime introduced last year and the restrictive measures law that came into force this year, which significantly reduced the opportunities for citizens of Russia, which started the war in Ukraine, to legally enter and stay in the European Union and the Schengen area.
As the statistics available by the Migration Department show, much smaller groups also have an influence on the increase in the number of foreigners in Lithuania.
For example, the fourth largest group of Kyrgyz citizens in our country increased more than twice this year – from 1,960 citizens of this country at the beginning of the year to 4,172 Kyrgyz in September.
The number of Uzbek citizens increased by a similar proportion: from 1,834 at the beginning of this year to 4,141 in September. It is now the fifth largest group of foreigners in our country.
Groups of other foreign nationals are less numerous. More than 3,000 Tajik and Indian citizens, more than 2,000 Azerbaijanis and Kazakhs, almost two thousand Kartvelians, about one and a half thousand Turks, slightly less Moldovans live in Lithuania.