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For two consecutive years, from 2010 to 2011, Lithuania lost the most workers in the entire European Union from emigration, according to the Baltic Times. Quoting statistics from the European Commission the paper reports, last year roughly 2% of all the population decamped. The bulk of the exodus was to the UK and Ireland, but the Commissions statistics note that, starting in 2010, Norway has been catching on.
“England is definitely better for one reason: it is a part of the European Union, therefore, EU legislation is in effect. Besides, English is a language most Lithuanians know a bit. Norway is a lot tougher in terms of learning and is a lot more expensive for living,” reads a post by Viktoras, who has been living in the UK for seven years.
“Well, Norwegian laws may be more intricate, but Norway is the best for its social benefits as, for example, compensation is paid for expensive medicine and hefty pensions are guaranteed with the right work experience,” counter-argues Arunas from Norway. He maintains: “I’d suggest going to the UK for those who are planning to stay abroad temporarily. And Norway perhaps is the right choice for those who aren’t planning a return to Lithuania.”
According to Boguslavas Gruzevskis, director of Labor and Social Research Institute (LSRI), “A certain Lithuanian diaspora has already formed in Norway, which means most Lithuanians, before going, already are aware of somebody who will extend them a helping hand in finding a job”
With Germany opening up its labour market for Lithuanians last year, many expected that it will become a new trendy immigration destination for Lithuanians, but this hasn’t happened. “Although there are no hurdles for Lithuanians willing to work in Germany, in reality Germany has not been swarmed with Lithuanians. One of the main reasons for this is the poor German of Lithuanians,” says Liutauras Labanauskas, commercial attaché in Germany. He also points out that Germany is mostly in need of qualified workers, especially of doctors and engineers. “However, both doctors and long-distance drivers, which are also very much needed in Germany, must have a really good command of German”.
“Interest in German has been bigger lately but not as big as you would expect with the German labor market for Lithuanians open. Anyway, interest in work possibilities in Germany has increased. Over the last year, we saw roughly a 10-15 per cent hike in enrolments for the language courses,” Raminta Gustaite, a coordinator at Deutsch Zentrum.