How to find a job in Lithuania quicker, if you’re a foreigner

Journalist Laima Karaliūtė

One of the most important tasks once you’ve arrived to live in Lithuania is finding a job. It is a challenge but if you’re motivated, you will find a job, specialists say. The other solution is to create your own business. So, what is it that you need to know in order to earn money as soon as possible? What professions are the most in demand? What are the places with the most foreign employees?

We’re interviewing KĘSTUTIS RIMKEVIČIUS, the Programme of Foreigner Integration Employment Specialist at Caritas It’s him who foreigners contact if they don’t succeed in finding a job by themselves. Kęstutis not only gives consultations but helps create your CV and call employers as well.  

Kęstutis Rimkevičius. A photo taken from a personal archive

The most important thing when looking for a job – the Lithuanian language

Kęstutis says that those who haven’t learned any Lithuanian find it the hardest to quickly find a job, even a simple one. “Even if you’re qualifications are in demand, if you don’t speak Lithuanian you probably won’t succeed in securing a job,” says Kęstutis. 

Kęstutis lists the main components for successful employment to be these: competence, education, motivation and Lithuanian language skills.

His experience shows that if the immigrant knows English and Russian but no Lithuanian, the chances to secure the job that you want are still slimmer. “For example, employers worry that their team is too young to know much Russian, so they don’t employ Russian speaking immigrants. And vice versa, if the team is older, they may not understand English well,” says Kęstutis. 

However, there are some changes and positive signs already. The Lithuanian language classes organized at migration agencies and organizations attract full classes of foreigners.

Immigrants search for higher-paid positions
Kęstutis recommends not to get your hopes up too high when looking for you first job. “Some need to swallow their pride and take a while to work at a simpler job. I was once consulting a philologist specialising in Arabic. If he doesn’t speak Lithuanian or English, how can he work as a translator? On the other hand, the positions for translators and specialists of Arabic are very much in demand in Lithuania. So he had to learn Lithuanian,” says Kęstutis. 

Kęstutis notes that immigrants tend to search for higher-paid positions than Lithuanians. “That’s normal as locals have their parents, grandparents and significant others here. Immigrants need to build their life up from nothing. Yes, they receive financial support from the state, part of their rent is compensated as well. However, that is not sufficient for a dignified life. Especially if you have a large family and small children,” explains Kęstutis.


Free courses and financial support for job seekers
The employment process of a foreigner can take a month but it can even take a year or longer. No need to be surprised – sometimes Lithuanians also have difficulties in finding the job that they want. Do not worry, if you learn Lithuanian but don’t have any qualifications, I recommend you contact the Employment Services. 

“I know many immigrants who completed courses offered by Employment Services and received qualifications to be hairdressers, chefs, sewers or locksmiths and found a job,” says Kęstutis. 

Another good news for immigrants is that the law states: employers who choose to employ people with refugee status may apply for subsidies. That means that for a certain period in time (usually from 3 months with the opportunity to extend to 2 years) a part of the employed foreigner’s salary is covered by the state.
More info here: https://uzt.lt/en/subsidies-for-employers/

Kęstutis notes that many immigrants find jobs through the community of other immigrants. “You must try all the methods to secure your dream job,” assures the representative of Caritas. The largest part of foreigners  consulted by Kęstutis are now employed in baked goods factories, restaurant kitchens, hair salons and construction sites. 

Simplified procedures for professions in demand
The employment procedure of third country nationals for professions in the list of high demand is simplified. Those persons do not need a work permit in Lithuania because the law provides an exemption. The foreigner must secure only the national visa (D) or a permit for living in Lithuania, if the foreigners plans on working in Lithuania for longer than 90 calendar days. National visas (D) for third country nationals are issued by the Embassy of the Republic of Lithuania in a foreign state within 15–30 calendar days. If the foreigner’s profession is in the list of high demand professions and the foreigners plans on working in Lithuania for shorter than 90 calendar days while being in Lithuania lawfully (has a Schengen visa C or on the grounds of visa-free regime), the foreigner does not need neither a work permit, nor a national visa D (source link).

The list of professions in high demand in Lithuania:
https://e-seimas.lrs.lt/portal/legalAct/lt/TAD/8dd31730bb0a11ea9a12d0dada3ca61b?jfwid=4t02bxscp
The list of employers who follow the simplified procedure is here 

The solution – creating your own 
Another opportunity to earn money comes through the creation of your own business. Lithuania is full with success stories of immigrants opening their own restaurant, kebab shop or hair salon. Of course, this calls for an entrepreneurial mindset. Before starting to open your business, I recommend getting acquainted with our knowledge base on laws, fees and business requirements. You may also contact organizations, such as Versli Lietuva or Investuok Lietuvoje. They give consultations in English as well. 

A collage by Tomas Terekas.

A Pakistani national easily secured a job as a driver 
Muhammad Asad, a Pakistani national, has been living in Lithuania for three years and it’s also nearly been three years of him working as a driver in Klaipėda. He speaks a bit of Lithuanian and a bit of English, and says that finding a job was not that difficult. His Pakistani community, who have been living in Lithuania for a decade now, helped him. “Yes, I did have to work in construction, where the work is hard and pas little. Now my average salary after taxes is 800 EUR. It’s true that I work day and night but what else can you do with a wife and 3 small children waiting at home. We also receive financial support for the children and some other types of financial support. In total, that’s about a 1000 EUR. My recommendation to any newcomers is to be more active in your job search. Nothing happens if all you do is complain,” says the immigrant. 

Work permits issued to foreigners in the following industries, by the Employment Services (top three most popular): 

services5523
industry1712
construction489

Highly demanded professions in Lithuania (source: Employment services, July, 2020):

IT (programmers, developers, project managers);  
Finance (senior accountants, finance analysts, financial specialists);  
Customer service;  
Sales (sales managers);  
Manufacturing (workers, machine operators, technicians, locksmiths, repairers, mechanics); 
Engineering (manufacturing, construction, transport, energy, electrical engineers, technologists, manufacturing heads, quality managers); 
Organization and management (branch and project managers);  
Human Resources. 

Whom to contact to find a job quicker:

kestutis.rimkevicius@vilnius.caritas.lt
info@uzt.lt

A detailed handout on how to search for a job and prepare for employment in Lithuania: 
www.livelithuania.net/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/LIVE-LITHUANIA-THE-INTERNATIONAL-TALENT-GUIDEBOOK-EN-2020-1-2.pdf 

Whom to contact when starting a business:

Inga.rancova@zmogui.lt
info@verslilietuva.lt
https://9conversations.no/faqlie/
www.investuoklietuvoje.lt