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VILNIUS – The Speaker of Lithuanian Parliament Viktoras Pranckietis on Wednesday urged to attract more foreigners to deal with the country’s emigration crisis, reported local news agency ELTA.
“We issue probably a hundred times less work permits than Poland,” he said, noting that Lithuania needs more foreigners so that industry would not stop to a halt.
According to ELTA, the speaker said that people have been and will always be “economic migrants”, and expatriates should be encouraged to return and invest in Lithuania.
Nearly 700,000 residents have left Lithuania since 1990. Due to emigration and other negative demographic trends, Lithuania’s population decreased in this period from 3.7 million to 2.8 million.
The speaker claimed that wage increase in the West is one of the reasons why emigration is not declining in Lithuania when its economy is growing.
“The difference between our income in Lithuania and income in foreign countries is vast and we are unable to change this so far,” the speaker emphasized.
Minimum wage increase, social assistance, agreements with industrialists over higher remuneration, as well as shortage of workforce are listed as important factors trying to rein in migration. Yet Pranckietis admitted that the government’s ability to control the flow of emigration of Lithuanian citizens is limited.
On Nov. 7, Lithuanian Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis urged to put all efforts necessary into stopping the emigration growth in the country, but he stopped short of supporting the idea of inviting more foreigners to come and stay in the Baltic country that is facing demographic challenges.