MIGRATION LAW CHANGES IMPORTANT TO EMPLOYERS AND START-UPS VALID FROM 1ST MARCH 2021
We are happy to announce that the change from 1st March in Law on the Legal Status of Aliens in the Republic of Lithuania has valuable changes. It is solving some significant issues regarding the shorter term of employment of the highly qualified employee (Blue Card) and removing some requirements that were hard to keep, like a declaration of the place of residence before arrival. The law also introduces innovation — e-resident status.
The Changes in Employment of Aliens
The relocation process of highly qualified employees (BLUE CARDS) should become more effective
From 1st March, highly qualified workers will start their work instantly after applying for a temporary residence permit (Blue card). The regulation that states a foreigner can start working only after getting a proper residence permit no longer applies. This new regulation will apply to employees who have entered the Republic of Lithuania for a period not exceeding three years to take up employment at a) representative office b) branch of a foreign enterprise c) an enterprise that belongs to the same group of enterprises established in the Republic of Lithuania.
No permit required for remote work
Before new regulations, even if foreigners worked remotely in a Lithuanian company, the employer had to issue a permit to work in Lithuania.
From 1st March, this requirement for foreigners working in Lithuanian companies remotely (when they do not need to come to Lithuania) work permit is no longer required. This alteration of requirements is relevant not only for managers who represent Lithuanian companies living abroad but also for specialists who can work remotely.
To read more on our insights on the challenges and opportunities of virtual remote relocation, press here.
The written undertaking will be enough for declaring residence
Today, a foreigner applying for permission to live in Lithuania must have his residence and provide that residence owner’s agreement, which could prove that foreigner is allowed to declare his place of residence.
In practice, this regulation caused many issues for foreigners and employers trying to find a place of residence, before travel to Lithuania. This particular regulation always prompted the search for alternatives by foreigners and their employers.
Easier requirements to work for students and foreigners from specific countries
The requirement to work for only one employer does not apply for Australian, Japanese, UK, USA, Canadian, New Zealand and South Korean citizens.
If the student has any other EU member Residency Permit or National visa (D), they can stay in Lithuania with an exchange program no longer than 360 days. The student is allowed to work no more than 20 hours per week.
Non-EU students, after graduation from studies in Lithuania, can obtain a Residence Permit and can start working without the work permit.
Non-EU citizens studying for masters or doctoral degree can work a full workday, without the limitation of 20 hours per week, as long as they have a valid Residency Permit.
Facilitated requirements for start-up establishers
Establishers of start-up companies that take part in technologies and innovations, who gather at least 30000 euros worth of investment, will be able to prolong their residence permits for two years with ease. The first permit is only valid for one year.
From 1st March, establishing of start-up will be possible just after receiving a permit for residency. After receiving a permit, there are 120 days given to establish a start-up. When the start-up company is established, there will be an obligation of informing the Migration Department in 7 days after registering the company. If the Migration Department is not informed in time or 120 days from receiving the permit has passed, the permit will be terminated.
Previously, the investors had to establish their companies and make the investment before applying for a residency permit.
More strict requirements to the companies
Companies employing foreigners will have more strict regulations for employers to obtain Work Permit or Residency Permit
The Employment Service may refuse to decide on the decision that the alien’s employment meets the needs of the labour market of the Republic of Lithuania (work permit) if the employer has not paid state social insurance contributions for at least one employed foreigner during at least three months in the last six months. Besides, the law has an expanded list of reasons to reject the issue of work and / or residence permits.
Before, the only basis for rejection of permits was illegal work activities. From now on, undeclared work will also be considered a violation. Undeclared work consists of unpaid working hours, work during holidays or night.
Obligation to start working for a new employer in a month
If the Migration Department allows a foreigner to change his employer, a foreigner will have only a month to start working for the new employer.
Mandatory Collection of the permit in 6 months from issue
From 1st March there is an obligation to collect the issued Residency Permit within 6 months. If the employer or an alien fails to collect the permit during this period, it will be terminated. Before 1st March, there was no stated period to reclaim the permit.
Innovation in the law — e-resident status
Till 1st March 2021, an e-signature was available only for foreigners who already have Residency Permit or are legally allowed to live in Lithuania.
From now on, foreigners can seek e-resident status, which comes with an e-signature, without having a Residency Permit. E-resident status gives access to Electronic systems and makes it easier to establish a company, open bank accounts, declare taxes, sign the contracts and receive other governmental services online.
Requests for receiving e-resident status obtained applying through the MIGRIS system. The foreigner has to register for a visit to the Migration Department for submission of biometrics. If there are no restrictions to enter the Schengen area, in 10 days, the foreigner receives e-resident status and the identification measure with e-signature valid for 3 years.