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Tips for Companies: How to Employ an International Student?

Employing International Students and Graduates for Internships and Work (last updated on 18-02-2022)
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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. 

Why should your company employ an international student/graduate? 

Advantages of hiring international people mentioned by companies operating in Vilnius*: 

DIVERSITY BENEFITS FOR TEAMS

  • More creativity and original approaches to problem solving 
  • More cultural diversity, different attitudes and team optimism 
  • Stronger teams
  • International people are more motivated and put more effort and dedication into their job 

FOREIGN LANGUAGES

  • Teams with diverse language skills can expand networks and reach more of the world 
  • Lithuanian employees are encouraged to improve their English skills in mixed work environments and motivated to start learning new foreign languages 

COMPETITIVENESS, GROWTH, INTERNATIONAL ASPIRATIONS

  • Companies can accelerate expansion into foreign markets 
  • Serving customers in English is simplified 
  • Finding the right specialists for job openings is easier
  • Increased company competitiveness 

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 to employ a student intern?

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. 

UNPAID INTERNSHIPS

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: 

PAID INTERNSHIPS

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.  

Hiring an international student/graduate  

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:

  • The employment contract must be signed in two languages ​​ Lithuanian and a language understood by the foreign person
  • After employing an international student/graduate, the LDU form is filled out together with the 1-SD form 

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

IMPORTANT:

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. 


How to hire a student from an EU or EFTA countr
y? 

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. 


How to hire a student from a non-EU/EFTA country?

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: 

  • During the summer vacation period set by the higher education institution 
  • When work is carried out as part of an internship 
  • During a three-month period after graduation (a TRP for studies is valid for three months after the actual end of studies)

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. 


Useful links

HIRING INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS

LEGAL DOCUMENTS

  • Republic of Lithuania’s Labour Codein English 

MENTORING PROGRAMMES AND MEMBERSHIPS FOR BUSINESSES; DIVERSITY TRAINING

  • The Unicorns LT startup association organises events (including for HR specialists) and offers two types of association memberships for starters 
  • The Association of Personnel Management Professionals seeks to create conditions for the active involvement and development of members in the field of personnel management (website in Lithuanian only) 
  • The NGO Lithuanian Diversity Charter aims to support organisations to ensure equal opportunities in the workplace, promote openness and social responsibility of organisations and develop and apply standards for diversity management and openness. It offers membership, training and consultations (website in Lithuanian only) 
  • A Business mentoring network developed by Enterprise Lithuania (Versli Lietuva) 
  • The Office of the Equal Opportunities Ombudsman offers tools on integration, including free training on equal opportunity policies in the work environment (information about the tools in Lithuanian only but there is a website version in English) 
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