Should Lithuania aim to attract foreign workers?
Ever since Lithuania joined the EU a growing number of its inhabitants have emigrated to other EU states, above all the UK and Ireland. The number of young people who are leaving is particularly high, causing grave problems for the economy. Lithuanian media are at odds about whether the government should counter the trend by trying to attract more foreign workers.
We can learn from Poland
Lithuania must learn from the migration policy of other countries, historian Alvydas Nikžentatis writes in 15min, citing Poland as a good example:
“In recent years Poland has taken in over a million Ukrainian immigrants. The Polish economy and politicians are delighted at this decision. In their view the move has saved Poland's retirement system from bankruptcy. ... As long as we in Lithuania continue to bicker about migration from Ukraine, Poland will welcome all those who are attracted to our country with open arms. Ultimately we risk ending up in a big mess.”
Don't recruit cheap labour from abroad
Bringing cheap labour to Lithuania won't solve the problem, writes economist and former MEP Margarita Starkevičiūtė in Lietuvos žinios:
“This will only aggravate the problems and make our citizens suffer. Bringing cheap foreign labour to the country would hinder a rise in the average wages. Companies that employ many work migrants have an unfair advantage over those that employ local workers. And the migrants are exploited because they make do with lower wages. ... The government also needs to clarify what kind of social benefits and pensions immigrants will receive. And if they bring their families they will justifiably expect to be allowed to live according to their own culture and teach their children their mother tongue - all at the expense of our state.”