Migration trends (1/)
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Emigration

Emigrants by age

In 2020 more than 71,1 percent of emigrants were aged between 15-44. This age group only makes up about 36 percent of the entire Lithuanian population. 

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In the long run, as the number of young people is decreasing due to emigration, this causes serious demographic problems – diminishing number of marriages, decreasing birth rate, lack of workforce. A shrinking proportion of working people must support a growing number of the unemployed.

A reverse trend is being observed when comparing the number of older emigrants and the number of Lithuania’s residents. People that are 65 or older only comprise about 1 percent of the total emigration flow, despite making up about 20 percent of the entire population.

Source: Statistics Lithuania. Updated: 2021-08-04

Where do Lithuanians emigrate?

For several years the main destination for Lithuanian migrants has been the United Kingdom. In 2020, 26 percent of all emigrants chose UK. 

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Compared to 2019 and 2018, when 35 percent and 38 percent chose UK, its popularity is decreasing. Other emigration destinations include Ukraine, Belarus, Germany, Norway, etc.

Source: Statistics Lithuania. Updated: 2021-08-04

Which countries have the biggest number of Lithuanians?

According to the data of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Migration Department, approximately 510 thousand Lithuanians are living abroad. 

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The majority reside in the United Kingdom (41 percent), Norway (9 percent), Germany (11 percent) and Ireland (7 percent).

Source: Migration Department. Updated: 2021-08-10

Migration and children

This graphic portrays the number of children who have been assigned temporary guardianship under the request of parents when one or both left the country.

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According to the law, one of the parents usually remains a legal representative. But in a situation when both or a single parent leaves the country, before leaving they have to submit a request for temporary guardianship for their child to the Municipal Services of Children’s Rights Protection. From 2020, after a change in the legislation, authorities no longer collect data on temporary guardianship under the request of parents when one or both left the country. 

Source: State Child Rights Protection and Adoption Service. Updated: 2020-07-22

How much money emigrants send home?

In 2020 financial transfers to Lithuania from private persons living abroad amounted to 694,31 million euros and equaled to 1,4 percent of GDP. 

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In comparison, over 1 billion euros from the country’s budget were designated for defense and 894 million euros for health care in 2020.
Note: It is impossible to single out the remittances sent exclusively by emigrants. Therefore, the number given reflects remittances in general.

Source: Central bank of the Republic of Lithuania. Updated: 2021-08-05

Immigration

Who is immigrating to Lithuania?

For many years, most immigrants were returning Lithuanian citizens (about 82 percent on average). 

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The rest was EU citizens (3 percent) and non-EU citizens (15 percent). From 2017 this trend changed. In 2020 the proportion of returning Lithuanians was 48 percent, while the share of EU citizens decreased to 2 percent, but the share of non-EU citizens increased to 50 percent. Most foreign immigrants were citizens from Ukraine and Belarus (about 38 percent of all immigrants).

In the second graph, 5 EU and non-EU counties are shown from which majority of immigrants arrived to Lithuania in 2020.

Source: Statistics Lithuania. Update: 2021-08-10

Which countries are Lithuanians returning from?

Return migration is defined as return of Lithuanian citizens who have been living abroad. In 2020 almost a half (46 percent) of the returning migrants came back from the United Kingdom. Considerable amount (24 percent) of people also returned from Norway, Ireland and Germany.

Source: Statistics Lithuania. Updated: 2021-08-09

Foreigners

How many foreigners live in Lithuania?

A foreigner is a person who does not possess Lithuanian citizenship. This group of people is comprised of EU citizens, non-EU citizens and stateless persons. 

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More than 87 thousand foreigners lived in Lithuania in 2020. The vast majority are third country nationals: 21 percent are people who have obtained a permanent residence permits (PRPs), which are issued for five years. 71 percent are people who have obtained a temporary residence permits (TRPs), which are usually issued for 1-2 years. Citizens of the EU and their families amount to 9 percent.

Source: Migration Department. Updated: 2021-08-09

What are the grounds for issuing a temporary residence permit?

Non-EU citizens can enter and stay in Lithuania only for purposes established by the law. 

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The graphic shows all temporary residence permits (TRPs) issued/replaced to non-EU citizens based on admission grounds. In 2020 most of the permits were issued on the ground of employment (81 percent), family reunification (9 percent) and to study (7 percent). Compared to 2018 and 2019, the number of temporary residence permits issued on the ground of employment increased: in 2018, 70 percent of all immigrants arrived on the ground of employment, while in 2019 this number reached 76 percent. 

Source: Migration Department. Update: 2021-08-09

What are nationalities of foreigners in Lithuania?

In 2020 the largest share of foreigners that lived in Lithuania were Ukrainian (32 percent), Belarusian (24 percent) and Russian Federation (17 percent) citizens. 

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The number of citizens of India is also increasing. Lithuania also hosts citizens of very distant countries like South Sudan, Trinidad and Tobago, Grenada but the numbers are very small.

Source: Migration Department. Updated: 2021-08-10

How many foreigners work in Lithuania?

Foreigners (apart from EU nationals) who wish to work in Lithuania must meet certain conditions. Until 2016 foreign workers had to obtain a work permit. 

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Legal changes were implemented in 2017 which facilitated admission conditions for workers who have a profession in demand in Lithuania. These workers do not need to obtain a work permit. Therefore from 2017 information regarding foreign workers is based on decisions to issue a temporary residence permit or national D visa on the ground of employment.

In 2020 the number of migrant workers in Lithuania has reduced: during the year almost 33 thousand temporary residence permits and 28,4 thousand national D visas on the ground of employment were issued.

Source: Employment Service. Updated: 2021-08-09

What are the top 5 foreigner‘s professions?

Until 2016 information about professions of foreign workers was based on work permits. 

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Legal changes were implemented in 2017 which facilitated admission conditions for workers who have a profession in demand in Lithuania. These workers do not need to obtain a work permit. Therefore, information regarding professions of foreign workers is based on decisions to issue a temporary residence permit and/or national D visa on the ground of employment for foreigners who have a profession in demand in Lithuania.

In 2020 majority of foreigners who arrived on the ground of employment had a profession in demand in Lithuania. The highest number of foreign workers were drivers of international freight transport vehicles, welders, assemblers of metal constructions, etc.

Lithuania has two lists of professions in demand:
- The List of professions in demand is approved biannually by the Employment Service. In 2020, 59 professions were included into the list (for example, drivers of international freight transport vehicles, welders, assemblers of metal constructions, etc.).
- The List of professions in demand requiring high professional qualifications approved by the Lithuanian Government. In 2020, 57 professions were included into the list (for example, IT workers, engineers, aviation specialists, etc.).

Source: Employment Service. Updated: 2021-08-13

Where do labour migrants come from?

Information on citizenship of foreign workers is only partial. 

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This data is based on decisions to issue a temporary residence permit and national D visas on the ground of employment. From 2019, data is presented in percentage values. According to this information, in 2020, 29239 decisions were made to issue a work-related temporary residence permit for foreigners whose professions were on the shortage occupation list. Majority of foreign workers came from Ukraine (51 percent) and Belarus (38 percent).

Source: Employment Service. Updated: 2021-08-12

Where do labour migrants come from2?

Source: Employment Service. Updated: 2019-11-20

Asylum

Asylum in Lithuania: 15 years overview

Lithuania has three forms of asylum: refugee status (permanent), subsidiary protection (granted for two years with the possibility to be prolonged) and temporary protection (could be granted by the government if there is an increased number of people asking for asylum).

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In 2020 Lithuania received 321 asylum applications. It is a 50 percent decrease if compared to 2019.

Based on preliminary data from 2021 September, Lithuania’s migration institutions received almost 11 times more asylum requests than in 2020.

Source: Migration Department. Updated: 2021-10-14

Who applies for asylum?

In 2020 most asylum applications were received from citizens of Russian Federation (27 percent), Belarus (25 percent) and Tajikistan (19 percent). 

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Other substantial groups of asylum applicants had Turkish (5 percent), Iraqi (4 percent), Syrian (3 percent) and Afghan (3 percent) citizenships. 

Source: Migration Department. Updated: 2021-08-16

Who is granted asylum?

In 2020 asylum has been granted to 81 persons: 80 were granted the status of refugee and 1 were granted subsidiary protection.

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The majority people that were granted asylum were citizens of Russian Federation (30 percent), Turkey (23 percent), Tajikistan (15 percent) and Syrian Arab Republic (12 percent). It is important to emphasize that a decision of granting an asylum can be made in the next year after the application of asylum has been lodged. Therefore, in particular cases, the number of lodged applications can be less than the number of asylum granted in the same year. For example, in 2020 an asylum has been granted for 19 citizens of Turkey even though only 16 asylum applications were lodged by Turkish citizens in the same year.

Source: Migration Department. Updated: 2021-08-13

How many asylum applicants are resettled and relocated to Lithuania?

In 2015 Lithuania committed to accept 1077 migrants from European Union countries as well as third countries. In 2020, 6 persons from Greece and Jordan were relocated to Lithuania. In general, 499 migrants have been resettled in Lithuania during five years when the agreement was in force.

Source: International Organization for Migration. Updated: 2021-08-10

Irregular Migration

Refusal of entry by grounds

Irregular migration is the migration of people to a new place of residence or transit that is not in accordance with the legal norms that have been established by the sending, transit or receiving states. 

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For the vast majority of irregular migrants Lithuania is a transit state whilst trying to reach West Europe or Scandinavian countries. 4575 foreigners were denied entry to Lithuania in 2020, mainly due to threat to security and public order (70 percent) or because they did not have a valid travel document (16 percent). 

Source: Migration Department. Updated: 2021-08-10

Foreigners found to be illegaly present in Lithuania

The residence of an alien is considered illegal if the period of his stay in the Republic of Lithuania exceeds the period of residence established for aliens;

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the alien stays in Lithuania after the expiration of visa or without a visa (in case, it is necessary), or with a revoked or forged visa; the alien does not have a valid travel document; if he entered the Republic of Lithuania illegally or resides in Lithuania without a residence permit or with an invalid, revoked or forged residence permit. 1960 of illegally staying foreigners were present within the territory of Lithuania in 2020, most of the them were the citizens of Ukraine, Belarus, Russia and Uzbekistan.

Source: Statistics Lithuania. Updated: 2021-08-17

Return decisions and expulsion

Return means the process of a foreign who does not fulfil or no longer fulfils the conditions of legal stay in Lithuania going back to his/her country of origin.

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These people can leave voluntarily given a certain period of time for voluntary departure. If they do not leave Lithuania within this time period or the period for voluntary departure cannot be given, then they are expelled from Lithuania.
The graphic portrays the number of aliens subject to a return decision and the number of people expelled from Lithuania. It is worth noting that return decisions also include obligations to leave (when foreigners are returned to other EU Member States where they can stay legally).

Source: Migration Department. Updated: 2021-08-10

How many migrants return home with IOM assistance?

For more than eighteen years the International Organization for Migration (IOM) Vilnius office provides assisted voluntary return to non-EU citizens who have found themselves in an irregular situation in Lithuania.

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Assisted voluntary return aims to help migrants who are in Lithuania illegally to return to their country of origin safely and with dignity. The assistance is given to non-EU citizens, who decide to leave voluntarily but do not have financial means to leave on their own.

Source: International Organization for Migration. Updated: 2021-10-18