Talent is in short supply in many parts of the world and Lithuania is no exception. For instance, according to data gathered by the association Infobalt in 2021, Lithuania experienced a shortage of IT professionals amounting to 15,000 people. Moreover, this and other specialist shortages are set to increase.
The number of international students in Lithuania grows every year. According to STRATA, there are currently 7,702 international people studying in Lithuania (2021-2022 academic year). The majority of these students are enrolled in the health sciences (2,168), business and public management (1,857), and engineering and computer science (1,247). However, only 7% of international students stay in Lithuania to work and live upon graduation (in 2021-2022 this would amount to 539 international students). Lithuania is a member of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), where member states record an average of 25% of international students remaining in their host country after graduation.
One way for companies to attract talent is to hire internationals who have completed their studies in Lithuania.
Advantages of hiring international people mentioned by companies operating in Vilnius*:
DIVERSITY BENEFITS FOR TEAMS
COMPETITIVENESS, GROWTH, INTERNATIONAL ASPIRATIONS
Based on expert observations and research data from the responses of students and HR professionals, it is important to find ways to facilitate bureaucratic processes in job and internship recruitment practices. As a result, this guide for companies in Lithuanian and English has been prepared. A similar guide for international students can be found here.
* The data provided is taken from a qualitative survey of companies (2021) in Vilnius (full version available in Lithuanian and one-sheet in English).
HOW LONG CAN AN INTERNATIONAL STUDENT'S INTERNSHIP LAST?
The duration and objectives of an internship depend on a student’s study programme and the type of internship. Internships can be voluntary, smart, introductory, professional (educational), final or Erasmus+. For the types and durations of internships, contact the higher education institution (HEI) whose student wishes to do an internship at your company.
The legal basis for a student's internship at a specific institution or company is a Tripartite Practical Training Agreement signed by the HEI, the internship institution and the student. Before starting the internship, the student negotiates a contract with the HEI. In the case of an international student’s internship, the co-operation takes place between the company, the student and the HEI’s international relations department or centre. If the internship is unpaid and the student's migration documents are in order, the procedure is the same as it would be for Lithuanian citizens. What you need to do:
If you want to hire an international student for a paid internship and student’s migration documents are in order, the procedure is as follows:
IMPORTANT: If you have any questions or need additional information about filling in an LDU, please contact the Employment Service. If you have any questions regarding the conclusion of employment contracts, contact the State Labour Inspectorate. You can find more information about how to employ someone on Sodra’s website.
To study in Lithuania, European Union or EFTA citizens must obtain a Certificate of the Right of Temporary Residence in the Republic of Lithuania. In contrast, non-EU/EFTA nationals must obtain a Temporary Residence Permit (TRP) or a National visa (D).
During their studies, TRP or Certificate of the Right of Temporary Residence in the Republic of Lithuania holders are exempt from the obligation to obtain a work permit and may be employed in a manner similar to Lithuanian citizens. As a company, you will not have to help them handle migration documents. It means the bureaucracy beyond the recruitment process will not differ much from employing a Lithuanian student.
DIFFERENCES BETWEEN EMPLOYING AN INTERNATIONAL STUDENT/GRADUATE AND A LITHUANIAN STUDENT/GRADUATE:
IMPORTANT: If a foreign person has already completed their studies in Lithuania and has a valid document allowing them to reside in the country on the basis of studies or job search, they will need to apply for a new residence permit on the basis of employment at the Migration Department.
* European Free Trade Association countries: Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland
1. Regarding Sodra. In case of a dismissal of a foreign person or termination of an employment/internship contract, the LDU form is edited or supplemented in addition to the 2-SD form. If an international changes employer or a job role, they will need a mediation letter from your company – more information on the Migration Department website about mediation letters.
2. Regarding Migration Department. Foreign people, employers, educational institutions, research and academic institutions and other entities must inform the Migration Department (within seven days at the latest) about certain changes to a foreign person's data, about his/her absence, employment, termination of an employment contract or studies, etc. More information can be found here and in Article 36, part 3 of the Law of the Republic of Lithuania on the Legal Status of Aliens.
EU/EFTA citizens have the right to be in the Republic of Lithuania for up to three months; therefore, they can be employed without any additional documentation during that time. However, EU/EFTA citizens who plan to live and work for more than three months in a six-month period must obtain a Certificate of the Right of Temporary Residence in the Republic of Lithuania (valid for up to five years).
Bachelor’s, Master’s or PhD students who are EU/EFTA citizens can work up to 40 hrs/week. Moreover, after five years in Lithuania, they can extend their Certificate of the Right of Temporary Residence in the Republic of Lithuania (also valid for up to five years).
Read more on the Migration Department website and in Article 1 part 2 of the Law of the Republic of Lithuania on the Legal Status of Aliens.
Non-EU/non-EFTA Bachelor's (undergraduate) students with a Temporary Residence Permit (TRP) for studies are allowed to work up to 20 hours per week during their studies. Students can work for more than 20 hours:
Master's (postgraduate) and PhD students from non-EU countries who possess a TRP for studies can work full-time during their studies. No additional permits are required.
For non-EU/EFTA internationals, a TRP is issued for a period of study, but not longer than two years. In cases where a TRP is issued or changed for the last year of study, the TRP is issued or extended for three months longer than the intended period of studies. A student has the right to apply for a TRP to search for a job or become self-employed after graduation (valid for 12 months). The procedure is similar to applying for a TRP, though the application process lasts up to two months (or up to one month in urgent cases). The documents are handled by the student/graduate and the Migration Department.
* Non-EU/EFTA students can work if they have a TRP or National Visa (D).They will not need to obtain a work permit if they possess a Temporary Residence Permit. However, if they hold a National Visa (D), they must also obtain a work permit. More information can be found here.
HIRING INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS
MENTORING PROGRAMMES AND MEMBERSHIPS FOR BUSINESSES; DIVERSITY TRAINING