International House Vilnius, the relocation and integration service centre for foreigners that opened its doors last November, celebrated its one-year anniversary on Friday. To mark the occasion, customers who came into the centre that day were assisted by well-known foreigners who have been living in Lithuania for a long time. During its first year of operation, the centre provided assistance to more than 15,000 foreigners who made the decision to live and work in Vilnius.
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On Friday, newcomers to Vilnius who stopped by International House Vilnius were pleasantly surprised to be greeted not only by the centre’s employees, but also by well-known faces in Lithuania: Irish singer Erica Jennings, Canadian blogger Chris Loh, athletic trainer Jean Claude Edhors, Spanish singer Sandra Carillo, Romanian Internet celebrity Andra Folea, Serbian footballer and FK Žalgiris centre back Ivan Tatomirović, Ecuadorian content creator Fabian Sanchez, American businessman and philanthropist Shaan Shahrukh Dhanji, and Nigerian lecturer Toye Samson Abiodun. This was one of International House Vilnius’s birthday surprises.
According to Inga Romanovskienė, director of Go Vilnius, the tourism and business development agency of the City of Vilnius, the centre’s successful operations prove how necessary it is to provide relocation and integration services to foreigners.
“About 64,000 foreigners are currently living in Vilnius alone and have become part of the country’s economic life – the people who come here from abroad not only work for companies located in the capital or start their own businesses, but also bring their families with them. They need various services related to both successful relocation and integration of the entire family in Lithuania – their kids go to school, and all of them are eager to become involved in the activities of the local communities, provided that conditions are created for this,” says Ms Romanovskienė.
Arrivals from more than 100 countries
The establishment of International House Vilnius in the capital is also associated with attracting highly qualified employees to Lithuania from abroad – the centre mainly gets foreigners specialising in IT, fintech, lasers, biotechnology, game development, business development and social work.
“Successful attraction of talent involves more than just the specialist’s decision to come to work and live in Lithuania. A large part of how effective it is and whether the specialist decides to stay in the country depends on successful reception and integration. So it’s just wonderful that today we can celebrate one year of International House Vilnius helping foreign specialists feel welcome – feel at home. And the impressive result – more than 15,000 foreigners served – only confirms the importance and necessity of the services provided by this centre. We hope that this best practice will be successfully applied not only in the capital, but in other Lithuanian cities as well,” says Aistė Kasperė, head of the Work in Lithuania programme for attracting talent.
At International House Vilnius, highly qualified foreigners and their family members who have moved or would like to move to Lithuania can receive all of the most important services related to work, relocation and integration in Lithuania on a one-stop-shop principle. Services are provided at the centre by employees from the Migration Department, the State Tax Inspectorate, the Employment Service, the I Choose Lithuania Migration Information Centre, SoDra and Go Vilnius.
According to Agnė Camara, the head of International House Vilnius, the Department of Migration and the State Tax Inspectorate assisted the largest number of foreigners during the first year of operation. The vast majority of services are provided in person, with only six per cent of customers requiring remote consultations.
“We’re thrilled that more and more specialists from abroad are discovering Vilnius. In one year alone, we’ve had arrivals from more than 100 countries, from distant Japan to the Republic of South Africa. For people who come to Vilnius, our centre is a convenient place to find all of the necessary institutions and take care of paperwork under one roof. The centre also provides various integration services, such as information seminars and free Lithuanian language courses,” says Ms Camara.