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Lithuania

GENERAL INFORMATION

Area - 65,300 km2

Population – 2,794,329 (2020)

Official Language – Lithuanian, Polish, Russian

REGISTRATION AND RESIDENCE PERMITS

A non-national seeking permanent or temporary residence in the Republic of Lithuania must obtain a residence permit by following the procedure provided for in the legislation of the Republic of Lithuania. Non-nationals are issued with two types of permit authorising them to reside in the Republic of Lithuania: a permanent residence permit or a temporary residence permit. Temporary residence permits for the Republic of Lithuania are issued to non-nationals who are not nationals of an EU Member State. Non-nationals must submit initial applications for a temporary residence permit and other documents to the Lithuanian diplomatic mission or consular body in the country concerned, whilst non-nationals staying in Lithuania must submit them to the migration office of the county’s police headquarters serving the area in which the non-national intends to reside. A temporary residence permit is usually issued for a year, though it may also be issued for a shorter period. An application for a permanent residence permit and other documents must be submitted to the migration office of the county’s police headquarters serving the area in which the non-national intends to declare as their place of residence. A permanent residence permit is issued to a non-national for 5 years. At the end of this period, the permit is renewed. An application for a temporary/permanent residence permit must be examined within 6 months of the submission of the application. Non-nationals who are nationals of another EU Member State may enter the Republic of Lithuania and stay for up to 3 months from the first day of arrival. EU Member State nationals and their family members who stay in the Republic of Lithuania for longer than 3 months, within a 6-month period, must obtain a certificate that attests their right to stay in the Republic of Lithuania. Such a certificate may be issued to EU Member State nationals and their family members for up to 5 years. Nationals of member states of the European Free Trade Association and their family members exercising the right of free movement of persons are subject to the same provisions as EU Member State nationals and their family members.

LOOKING FOR A JOB

EU Member State nationals and their family members intending to work in the Republic of Lithuania under an employment contract do not need a work permit. They may take part in recruitment procedures and find employment under the same conditions as Lithuanian nationals. However, please note that individuals wishing to work in the civil service, law enforcement institutions and in certain other areas must be citizens of the Republic of Lithuania.

Employers wishing to hire staff have a number of search options open to them, as do the unemployed and those in work who are looking to change jobs. Firstly, they can use the services of the Employment Service. The Employment Service is provided free of charge.

Another way of finding employees or employers is via private employment agencies. Since the ratification and entry into force of the Convention on private employment agencies (‘On the ratification of the Convention on private employment agencies’ (Valstybės žinios [Official Gazette] 2004, No 40-1291), the services of private employment agencies have been free of charge for job seekers in Lithuania. Infringements of the regulations on the provision of recruitment services are punishable by a fine (Article 173(13) of the Code of Administrative Infringements). Anyone who has witnessed such infringements, or who has been affected by them, should contact the police.

Job vacancy advertisements can also be found in the media. Ads are placed in job advertising publications, national daily newspapers and the local press. Job seekers may also place their own ads in the press, indicating their qualifications, work experience and the type of job they are seeking.

The posting of vacancies and CVs on the internet is becoming increasingly popular, as are the services of professional personnel companies that help to search for, select and assess potential employees. In addition, the personnel departments of major companies often build up databases of potential employees, so it is possible to send one’s CV to such companies directly.

INCOMES AND TAXATION

The Lithuanian government sets the minimum hourly pay (EUR 3.39 per hour) and the minimum  monthly wage (EUR 555 per month) in accordance with the Law on Wages. The hourly pay or monthly wages of an employee may not be lower than the minimum hourly pay or the minimum monthly wage set by the Lithuanian government. The minimum monthly wage for an employee can only be paid for manual work.

The average monthly wage before tax (excluding individual companies) in the third quarter of 2018 was EUR 935.7, according to Statistics Lithuania. In Lithuania, taxes must be paid only by permanent residents; non-permanent residents pay taxes in the cases provided for by law.

As of 2019, it was decided to make almost all taxes deductible from gross wages, i.e. from 2019:

  • the following ‘employee’ taxes will be deducted from the agreed wage:
    • 20% or 27% personal income tax;
    • 19.50% social insurance rates;
    • 1.8%–3% pension saving contributions (if selected by the employee);
  • the following ‘employer’ taxes will be added on to the agreed wage:
    • 1.45% social insurance rates;
    • 0,32% guarantee fund and long-term unemployment contributions.

Earnings received from employers under employment or equivalent relationships are subject to 15 % income tax . The income tax on wages is calculated and paid into the budget by employers. Pre-tax earnings are subject to a personal allowance. The higher the income, the smaller the personal allowance. A maximum personal allowance of EUR 380 per month of the 2018 taxable period is applied to residents whose income from employment does not exceed EUR 400 per month (the minimum monthly wage as of 1 January 2018). The applicable monthly personal allowance for residents whose monthly income from employment will be higher than the monthly minimum wage effective from 1 January of the current calendar year (1 January 2018 – EUR 400) is calculated according to the following formula: Personal allowance = EUR 380 - 0.5 x (‘Monthly wage’ - EUR 400).

It should be noted that, for the purposes of calculating the annual personal allowance, maternity/paternity allowances, income from individual activities, income from the sale or other disposal of property not used for individual activities, income from the leasing of property, interest, income from distributed profits, income of a member of an unlimited liability entity received from the entity’s taxable profit, royalties, fees, annual payments (bonuses) to members of the management and supervisory board, pensions and rents, maintenance awarded by court or received under contract, benefits under life insurance contracts, pension annuities, lottery and gambling winnings as well as prizes in sporting competitions are counted as annual income of a permanent resident of Lithuania in addition to income from employment and equivalent relationships received during the income tax period.

The tax allowance is important, as this portion of income is not subject to individual income tax. An additional personal allowance, which applied to people raising children, was abolished in 2018. As of the beginning of 2018, it was replaced by child benefit equal to 0.79 of the basic social benefit, which, in 2018, amounted to EUR 30 for each child.

CHI contributions shall are required to be paid by all permanent residents of Lithuania (unless the CHI contributions are paid for them by the employer or the state). Self-insured people are required to pay CHI contributions equal to 6.98% of the minimum monthly wage (which is EUR 555 in 2019, meaning that the CHI contribution are EUR 38.74) each month until the last day of the current month. All persons (both with and without CHI) are allowed to visit public and municipal as well as private health care institutions. The difference is that the uninsured have to cover all health care services in both private and state as well as municipal health care institutions out of their own pockets.

The income tax period is coincides with a calendar year. For income received by a non-permanent resident through a permanent establishment in Lithuania, the first income tax payment period is considered to be the calendar year in which the permanent establishment was or should have been registered. Each permanent resident of Lithuania is entitled to personal income tax relief and can recover some of their expenditure, e.g. life assurance premiums, voluntary pension saving contributions, tuition fees for vocational, higher university/non-university education.

COST OF LIVING

Although basic outgoings on food, housing and transport in Lithuania are the lowest in the Baltic states, they account for almost half of average household income. For the optimum food basket (as compiled by dieticians), transport and housing, a four-person family in Vilnius spends an average of EUR 518.13 per month. Around 44% of the net income of Lithuanians (which in the case of a four-person family is around EUR 1 188) goes on basics. The optimum basket of food products for a four-person family per month in Lithuania costs EUR 288.50. Eurostat data show that most of the inhabitants of the Baltic states live in housing which belongs to them or their family members. The proportion of such people in Lithuania is 85 %. For those owning property, expenditure on housing is lower than for those renting or paying a mortgage. A four-person family living in a 70 square metre apartment in an old building will spend an average of EUR 201.20 per month on their accommodation in Vilnius. Currently, buying property with a mortgage is a cheaper option than renting. Nevertheless, the basic obstacle for most people here is the initial down payment, which in the case of an old building may be as much as 25% of the total cost.

Text last edited on: 05/2019

EDUCATION SYSTEM

Pre-school education.

Pre-school education under a pre-school education programme is provided to children from birth to the age of 6. Institutional pre-school education is not compulsory and is provided if the parents so wish. It may be mandatory in individual cases (for children from ‘social risk families’, etc.). Pre-school education is provided by state and non-state crèches, kindergartens, and nursery schools.

Pre-primary education

The duration of pre-primary education is 1 year. It is provided to 6 year-old (in exceptional cases, to 5 year-olds) children and is intended to better prepare them for school. It is free of charge, public, but is not compulsory. Parents may decide whether to avail of education for their 6 year-old child under a pre-primary education programme.

Pre-primary education groups are established at kindergartens or schools. In remote villages, municipalities can set up such groups in multifunctional community centres or provide free school bus rides to the closest school which has such a group. Municipalities are offered flexible models of pre-primary groups: several days a week, at weekends, during school holidays, camps, etc. 
In pre-primary groups, children learn new skills which will be useful to them at school: to communicate with peers and adults, and to adapt to a new environment. Children’s social, health protection, world knowledge, and artistic competences are developed mostly through play. If a child receives education at home, their parents are informed about new developments in pre-primary education and advised on important issues for the child’s education. If the parents so wish, their child can be provided with special pedagogical and psychological assistance free of charge.

Primary education is compulsory for all children who reach the age of 7 during that calendar year. A 6 year-old child may also be admitted to grade one if they received education under a pre-primary education programme during the previous year. Conclusions of specialists of municipal pedagogical psychological services regarding the preparedness of a child are not mandatory. Primary education covers grades 1–4 (usually for 7-11 year olds). Primary grades may be established in school kindergartens as well as in primary, basic schools, pro-gymnasiums (general education institutions for lower grades), and gymnasiums (general education institutions for higher grades).

Admission. In order to register a child with a primary school, you should contact the administration of the school. Usually, a school admits children living within its catchment area (according to the declared place of residence). However, if there are vacant places in a class, the school may also admit children from other areas. Admission may take place during the whole school year. For the list of documents to be submitted, admission dates, need for registration of the place of residence, and other issues, the chosen school should be contacted.

Fees. Primary education, except for private education institutions, is free of charge. Parents pay for additional services such as catering and childcare after lessons. Fees in private schools differ significantly and may range from EUR 58 to EUR 14 999 per year.

Language. Usually, it is Lithuanian. There are institutions which provide education in other languages: English, Russian, Polish, French, German, Belarussian, etc.

Lower secondary education is compulsory and covers grades 5–10. Usually, these schools are attended by children aged 11 to 16. They receive education in schools, pro-gymnasiums, and gymnasiums. Lower secondary education of grades 9–10 corresponds to gymnasium grades I–II . In Lithuania, education is compulsory until the age of 16. The purpose of this education programme is to provide basic moral, socio-cultural and civic education, general literacy, the basics of technological literacy as well as to cultivate national consciousness, to foster the ability to seek and make decisions and choices and to continue learning.

The content and process of teaching at a national level are described in documents approved by the Minister of Education and Science. Lower secondary and secondary education programmes in general education plans define the guidelines for lower secondary education, the general scope of study subjects, target learning outcomes, recommendations for the organisation of the education process, etc. General programmes of primary and lower secondary education define the goals, structure, and expected learning outcomes. With reference to general plans and general programmes, school management and teachers drawn up teaching plans at a school and class level as well as those adapted for individual school students, i.e. individualised plans.

The content of lower secondary education under general programmes covers the following areas of subjects:

  • moral education (ethics and different religions or cognitive programmes);
  • language (mother tongue, national language, and foreign languages);
  • mathematics;
  • natural sciences;
  • social education (history, geography, citizenship education, economics and entrepreneurship, psychology);
  • artistic education (art, dance, music, theatre, and contemporary arts);
  • information technology;
  • technology;
  • physical education;
  • development of general competences and life skills.

Admission. Usually, a school admits children living within its catchment area (according to the declared place of residence). However, if there are vacant places in a class, the school may also admit children from other areas. Admission may take place during the whole school year. For the list of documents to be submitted, admission dates, need for registration of the place of residence, and other issues, the chosen school should be contacted.

Fees. Education, except for private general education schools, is free of charge. Parents pay only for additional services.

Language. Usually, it is Lithuanian. There are institutions which provide education in other languages: English, French, Russian, Polish, etc.

Lower secondary education attainment. Lower secondary education is attained upon completing grade 10 (or grade II in the gymnasium) and passing the compulsory basic education learning achievement test (PUPP).

Upper secondary education is not compulsory and lasts for 2 years (grades III and IV of gymnasium or grades 11 and 12 of secondary school). School students learn according to individual education plans. The programme may include vocational education programme modules. The upper secondary education programme is available in secondary schools, gymnasiums, and vocational schools.

School students can also choose education that better meets their values, world view, religious beliefs, and philosophical views. Such education is provided in non-traditional schools. Non-traditional schools may operate according to programmes drawn up by themselves; however, the total number of study subjects and hours allocated to an individual study subject in grades 1–12 may not differ by more than 25% from those provided in state general education plans.

Vocational training programmes are intended for persons of various ages and levels of education,

who seek to acquire the qualifications or skills needed to carry out a legally-regulated job or profession. Initial vocational training programmes lead to the award of an initial qualification, whilst continued vocational training programmes top up existing qualifications or help with the acquisition of additional qualifications. Vocational training schools also allow individuals to acquire lower or upper secondary education in addition to a qualification. Initial vocational training is financed from the state budget and is available to persons aged 14 and above. The top graduates from vocational training schools or graduates with work experience in line with their vocational qualifications are awarded additional points to attend institutes of higher education.

Studies at Lithuanian higher education institutions can be pursued under study programmes which award degrees or programmes that do not lead to a degree. Study programmes awarding degrees fall into two categories: those run by colleges and those run by universities. There are three levels of studies: the first leads to a professional bachelor’s degree or a bachelor’s degree; the second leads to a master’s degree, and the third leads to a doctorate. Professional bachelor degree programmes are run by colleges, and bachelor degree programmes by universities. Programmes leading to a second-level degree may only be run by universities, while third-level study programmes can only be offered by universities or universities together with research institutes. Students of Lithuanian schools of higher education either pay their tuition themselves or receive state funding. Priority for state scholarships for first-level programmes is given to students according to their performance in the final examinations, education, other results and special abilities.

Adult education is available to anyone aged 18 or over who selects this type of education. If a person has not completed lower or upper secondary education, they can study at upper secondary colleges for adults, education centres or colleges of general education with classes for adults.

Persons holding an education diploma and/or qualifications awarded abroad and who wish to study or work in Lithuania may need to apply to the bodies responsible for the assessment and recognition of foreign diplomas and qualifications in Lithuania. Persons who have finished vocational education at an institution abroad and require the vocational qualification they have obtained to be recognised (assessed) in Lithuania should apply to the body for the assessment and recognition of qualifications in Lithuania. A vocational qualification can be recognised only if the profession is regulated in Lithuania. For the academic recognition of foreign higher education diplomas, holders must apply to the Centre for Quality Assessment in Higher Education. Information on educational opportunities in Lithuania is provided by the AIKOS open information, advice and guidance system.  This helps users (pupils, students, employees and other interested parties) to plan their studies or vocational careers by providing them with the information they need on professions, qualifications, study and training programmes, institutes of education and science, admission rules, training licences, Europass certificate supplements, statistics on training and job vacancies, etc.

RECOGNITION OF DIPLOMAS AND QUALIFICATIONS

The importance of transparency and mutual recognition of diplomas as a crucial complement to the free movement of workers

The possibility of obtaining recognition of one’s qualifications and competences can play a vital role in the decision to take up work in another EU country. It is therefore necessary to develop a European system that will guarantee the mutual acceptance of professional competences in different Member States. Only such a system will ensure that a lack of recognition of professional qualifications will become an obstacle to workers’ mobility within the EU.

Main principles for the recognition of professional qualifications in the EU

As a basic principle, any EU citizen should be able to freely practice their profession in any Member State. Unfortunately the practical implementation of this principle is often hindered by national requirements for access to certain professions in the host country.

For the purpose of overcoming these differences, the EU has set up a system for the recognition of professional qualifications. Within the terms of this system, a distinction is made between regulated professions (professions for which certain qualifications are legally required) and professions that are not legally regulated in the host Member State.

Steps towards a transparency of qualifications in Europe

The European Union has taken important steps towards the objective of achieving transparency of qualifications in Europe:
- An increased co-operation in vocational education and training, with the intention to combine all instruments for transparency of certificates and diplomas, in one single, user-friendly tool. This includes, for example, the European CV or Europass Trainings.
- The development of concrete actions in the field of recognition and quality in vocational education and training.

Going beyond the differences in education and training systems throughout the EU

Education and training systems in the EU Member States still show substantial differences. The last enlargements of the EU, with different educational traditions, have further increased this diversity. This calls for a need to set up common rules to guarantee recognition of competences.

In order to overcome this diversity of national qualification standards, educational methods and training structures, the European Commission has put forward a series of instruments, aimed at ensuring better transparency and recognition of qualifications both for academic and professional purposes.

  1. The European Qualifications Framework

The European Qualifications Framework is a key priority for the European Commission in the process of recognition of professional competences. The main objective of the framework is to create links between the different national qualification systems and guarantee a smooth transfer and recognition of diplomas.

  1. The National Academic Recognition Information Centres (NARICs)

A network of National Academic Recognition Information Centres was established in 1984 at the initiative of the European Commission. The NARICs provide advice on the academic recognition of periods of study abroad. Located in all EU Member States as well as in the countries of the European Economic Area, NARICs play a vital role the process of recognition of qualifications in the EU.

  1. The European Credit Transfer System (ECTS)

The European Credit Transfer System aims at facilitating the recognition of periods of study abroad. Introduced in 1989, it functions by describing an education programme and attaching credits to its components. It is a key complement to the highly acclaimed student mobility programme Erasmus.

  1. Europass

Europass is an instrument for ensuring the transparency of professional skills. It is composed of five standardised documents

  1. a CV (Curriculum Vitae),
  2. a language passport,
  3. certificate supplements,
  4. diploma supplements, and
  5. a Europass-Mobility document.

The Europass system makes skills and qualifications clearly and easily understood in the different parts of Europe. In every country of the European Union and the European Economic Area, national Europass centres have been established as the primary contact points for people seeking for information about the Europass system.

USEFUL LINKS

http://www.sodra.com - National Social Security Fund

http://www.on.it/ - Yellow Pages

http://www.finmin.it - Ministry of Finance

www.smm.it - Ministry of Education

http://www.ldb.it - National Empoyment Service

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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