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As from March 1st – new changes in Law on the Legal Status of Aliens

As from March 1st – new changes in Law on the Legal Status of Aliens

On March 1, 2015 new law amending the Law on the Legal Status of Aliens No. IX-2206 (hereinafter – the Amending law) came into force in the Republic of Lithuania.

Changes in the procedure of issuing residential permits
The Amending the law transposes the provisions of the Directive 2011/98/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 13 December 2011 on a single application procedure for a single permit for third-country nationals to reside and work in the territory of a Member State and on a common set of rights for third-country workers legally residing in a Member State. The implementation of this Directive resulted in a procedure of issuing a temporary residence permit to an alien who intends to work in Lithuania under an employment contract: a request for a temporary residence permit in the Republic of Lithuania (hereinafter – temporary residence permit) and the Lithuanian Labour Exchange’s decision on foreign person‘s compliance with the Lithuanian Labour market demand (except in cases where the alien is released from the obligation to obtain a work permit) will result in third-country national being issued a temporary residence permit entitling the alien to live and work in the Republic of Lithuania.

The temporary work permit will be issued for the period of the employment, but no longer than for 2 years.

For the purpose of Lithuanian Labour Exchange’s decision on foreign person‘s compliance with the Lithuanian Labour market demand, the employee shall have to supply the territorial Labour Exchange office an application to adopt such decision. That shall be done before adopting a decision regarding the issuing of a temporary residential permit.

The amended law lists all cases when an alien who intends to take up employment in the Republic of Lithuania must obtain a work permit (Article 57) and cases when an alien shall be exempt from such obligation (Article 58).

The amended law also gives a finite list of cases when a temporary residence permit may be issued to an alien who engages, and intends to continue engaging, in lawful activity in the Republic of Lithuania. The list includes professional sportsmen, coaches, performers, journalists who are accredited by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Lithuania, aliens who are members of a traditional religious association/community, participants of volunteer programmes etc. Together with the application for a temporary residential permit and other documents such persons will be required to supply a mediation letter from their host legal person and documents confirming their status (eg. sports activity agreement, documents proving the participation in a certain programme etc.). Journalists will be required to supply an accreditation card.

It should be noted that the amended law allows an opportunity to stop the consideration of foreigner’s application for issuing or replacing a residence permit in the Republic of Lithuania when a foreigner does not submit all the necessary data and documents. In this case, the alien will be sent a written notice to submit the missing documents within a specified period of time. If a foreigner within a specified period of time shall not present the documents requested, a decision not to issue/replace a residence permit will be made.

Changes in visa procedures
The amended law harmonizes the national legislation with the recent EU legislation, which modifies the procedure of calculating the time spent in the Schengen area. The “90 days in any 180 days period” rule comes into force.

By Tadas Vilčinskas

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