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Census 2011, the resident population of Lithuania on 1 March 2011 – 3 million 54 thousand. Over the decade since Census 2001

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The context of the Republic of Lithuania regarding the migration and education

Statistics Lithuania informs that, based on the provisional data of the Population and Housing Census 2011, the resident population of Lithuania on 1 March 2011 – 3 million 54 thousand. Over the decade (since Census 2001, the population of Lithuania totaled 3 484 thousand) the population of Lithuania decreased by 12 per cent. The largest decrease was due to emigration – 76 per cent; the natural decrease was 24 per cent.

Lithuania is de facto a country of emigration. Emigration rate is among the highest in the European Union. According to the official statistics, over 0.6 million people emigrated from Lithuania in 1990-2010. Emigration numbers increased particularly after the country joined the EU in 2004. Over 250, 7 thousand people are emigrated since 2004, only over the 73 thousand are immigrated in to Lithuania at this period. Considering that immigration is limited and does not compensate emigration loses.

Immigration is usually associated with the arrival of foreign nationals. However, most of immigrants in Lithuania are returning Lithuanian citizens. In 2010, Lithuanian nationals accounted for 80 per cent of all arrivals. The immigration of foreign nationals to Lithuania remains very low with the annual average of 2000 people. Most foreigners come from Belarus, Russian Federation and Ukraine.

At the beginning of 2011 there were around 30,000 foreign residents in Lithuania, representing 1 per cent of the country’s population. This is one of the lowest numbers across the EU. Most foreigners in Lithuania are permanent residents. Many of them are of Russian, Belarusian and Ukrainian origin. They arrived during the Soviet Union times and remained in the country after the restoration of independence in 1990. There are also foreigners who reside in Lithuania temporarily (i.e. students), but this group is very small. In 2010, 48 per cent of foreigners living in Lithuania came on family reunification grounds, 33 per cent came to work, 17 per cent - to study.

Immigration for work purposes is second main reasons why foreigners come to Lithuania (after family reunification). Third country nationals can only be employed in those sectors, which experience labor shortages and where employers were unable to hire a Lithuanian or EU national. Most of labor immigrants in Lithuania are men (e.g. in 2010, 95 percent of immigrants were men).

In the last 10 years, 500 persons on average asked for asylum every year, almost 70 per cent were granted protection. The vast majority of those who were granted asylum were Russian and Afghan.

According to the information above, Lithuania faces a problem to keep ties with the emigrants from our country, because they are potential returning persons who might be gain Lithuania educational system, many of them for the second time. Acording to the Law on Education Lithuania – „Opportunities shall be created in accordance with the procedure laid down by the Minister of Education and Science for foreigners of Lithuanian descent and Lithuanians living abroad to learn the Lithuanian language in schools of the Republic of Lithuania“(Art.25) – or otherwise inclusive policies for citizens of Lithuania around the world.

Statistics regarding the foreigners themselves in the school system of Lithuania shows that in 2011-2012 school year 945 students were enrolling in primary, basic and secondary education (according to the Law on Education – „the State shall guarantee each citizen of the Republic of Lithuania, each alien who has the right of permanent or temporary residence in the Republic of Lithuania: 1) primary, basic and secondary education; 2) access to higher education study programmes or vocational training programmes that result in the acquisition of the first qualification. Art. 24)

Less of these students are new arrivals. They face the big challenge to learn Lithuanian language at an adequate level, as well teachers help them integrate in the society and school community and study Lithuanian language.

Data source: Statistics Lithuania;

Ona Čepulėnienė

Chief Officer of Lower and Upper Secondary

Education Division

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