Government Watch. On the Employment of Highly Skilled Foreigners

The Lithuanian Free Market Institute (hereafter – LFMI) has analyzed the draft governmental decree No 16-14273(3) “On Recognizing Professional Experience as Higher Education Qualification and the Approval of the Procedure for Issuing a Certificate of Recognition“  (hereinafter – the Project) and submitted the following comments and proposals to relevant authorities:

  1. The Project provides for insufficient basis for rejecting the employer’s application

In the recruitment of a foreigner with a five-year professional experience seeking for a job in a relevant field which requires a high level of professional qualification (hereinafter – the Applicant), in accordance with Annex 1 of  the Procedure for Recognizing Professional Experience as Higher Education Qualification and the Procedure for Issuing a Certificate of Recognition  (hereinafter – the Procedure), an employer shall indicate the name and code of the profession that is being applied for by the foreigner and list no less than three work tasks along with the required competences for each of them. There is no formal (institutional) basis for outlining the work tasks and assigning appropriate competences.

According to Section 5(27.4) of the Procedure (grounds for inadmissibility of the Application), the Applicant shall specify tasks and competences that are not characteristic of a given profession.

Under the Procedure, an authorized institution is granted the right to assess (in their decision to either admit or reject the Application) whether or not the listed tasks and the assigned competences are characteristic of the relevant profession (according to the aforementioned classification) in an ambiguous manner. Presuming that the application will be regarded in favor of the employer and the procedure is only needed to avoid any cases of misuse (e.g. for the reason that an aviation specialist would not be assigned the competences of a mason or a hairdresser), it appears that this particular point is insufficient to be included in the grounds for inadmissibility of the Application. It seems to leave room for a twofold interpretation of the rule: being in favor of one group of applicants, while viewing others unfavorably.

  1. The requirement for a foreigner to submit tax information is irrelevant for the assessment of qualification

The Project stipulates that the company intending to hire a foreigner will have to provide information about the taxes paid in the third country. Such a requirement is excessive and completely irrelevant to the assessment of qualification. It must be noted that the aim of the entire verification process is to determine whether a foreign worker has suitable qualifications in order to perform high skilled job in Lithuania, instead of estimating his or his employer’s commitments to pay taxes, etc. What is more, in some cases a foreigner may be unable to obtain such data due to the foreign government’s policy regarding communication with its citizens. In such cases it might create barriers to work in Lithuania.

Given the aforementioned, the Lithuanian Free Market Institute calls for the rejection of the proposal.