The new visas will simplify the process for talented specialists from non-EU countries to apply to live and work in Lithuania, enabling employers to find the specialists they need.
The amendments to the Law on the Legal Status of Aliens, which will come into force on 1 January 2017, will streamline the procedures to attract talent to Lithuania. The new rules directly impact startup founders and students.
In details, startups will be eligible for permits allowing temporary residence in Lithuania for one year with the possibility of extending it for a further year. Two years after this, they will be able to apply for a temporary residence permit, provided they are either the head of the company or a shareholder.
Startup visas will be issued within 1 month in the case of express applications and 2 months for general applications.
Further plans for talent attraction include drawing up a list of specializations requiring a higher education which are in short supply in Lithuania. Non-EU foreigners skilled in these areas would be issued with temporary residence permits (Blue Cards) more quickly.
Other amendments to the law focus on international students in Lithuania. They will now be able to work up to 20 hours per week without needing to acquire a work permit.
Furthermore, students will also be allowed to start working from the date they start their studies (previously, they could do it from the second year). According to another amendment, international students graduating from vocational training programs will no longer have to pass a labour market test in order to work in their field of specialization.