Labour shortage in Lithuania prompts businesses to call for guest workers from neighbours

Lithuanian business employers have in a meeting with President Gitanas Nausėda called for more open immigration policy toward neighbouring third countries to alleviate the shortage of workers, Lithuanian public broadcaster LRT and Vaida Kalinkaitė-Matuliauskienė report.
In a meeting on Friday, November 12, business leaders and Nausėda addressed economic growth and challenges faced by the country’s employers, particularly in the regions.
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Vidmantas Janulevičius, president of the Lithuanian Confederation of Industrialists, voiced the view that irregular migrants currently housed in migrant reception centres could not help alleviate the country’s labour shortage. «In the short term, we’d probably need to decide on immigration from countries that are closer to us culturally. Among the refugees who are currently near the Lithuanian border, there are probably 5 or 7 percent who could be integrated into the Lithuanian or EU labour market. These are educated people, maybe doctors, but integrating most of them would take longer [than integrating migrants from other countries],» Janulevičius said.
«So our suggestion is to try and expand immigration from the countries we know, namely, Ukraine, Belarus,» he added.
However, the President’s adviser Irena Segalovičienė told reporters after the meeting: «In the president’s view, we should better tackle the issue of balancing labour supply and demand in this country. We’ve got several directions we should work along.» These include more focus on retraining and policies to encourage repatriation of the Lithuanian diaspora.
The article originally appeared on LRT English: