Denmark: dreamland for unemployed Lithuanians

By Ieva Sliziute

After Lithuania joined European Union, media have been sounding the alarm saying the Lithuanian nation is experiencing a new wave of emigration. This problem intensifies during financial crisis: lack of jobs and low salaries are the main reasons. Because of this, people don’t feel the motivation to work in Lithuania and decide to emigrate in order to get financial independence. One of the most attractive countries for Lithuanians is Denmark.

Easy and simple

Many foreign nationals are free to live and work in Denmark. However, it is required to hold a residence and work permit. The specific requirements in connection with living and working in Denmark depend on a person’s nationality and qualifications.

Easy and quick visa application has been worked out by Danish embassy to cater the needs of the people around the globe. In fact, most number of immigrants is coming to Denmark for studies and work, because it is possible to combine them together. Many Lithuanians are using this opportunity.

“It is enough to work for 3-4 hours a day if you want to earn your living and employers are very supportive – you can have a very flexible timetable, therefore you can study and be financially independent”, – says Dovydas Stankevicius, full- time student in Business Academy Aarhus.

With reference to information in Immigration Department of Denmark website, most Danes see Denmark as a community in which everyone contributes in creating a good society and a secure future. Denmark is a welfare society in which roads, hospitals, schools, universities and libraries are free of charge. A relatively large portion of income is taxed in Denmark, but these taxes go to funding many public services and benefits.

Own business opportunity

“Establishing my company took as little as filling application over the internet. In a week I have received my registration papers. As long as you have an address and a social security document you are free to follow your dream” – says Norbert Silvestr Krasovski, 24-years-old Lithuanian, who is running his own business in Copenhagen.

Norbert owns his own business in Copenhagen.

According to him, it requires a lot of time and investment to open a business in Lithuania and his company would not be successful there. “My business is called „Car Detailing“. It includes a careful car washing, interior washing, polishing, paintwork correction, waxing. I do not think that there would be a lot of clients in Lithuania, probably they rather do that by themselves than pays for it“, – considers Norbert.

Positive atmosphere in workplaces

A Gallup survey ranks Denmark as the happiest country in the world. Unlike Lithuanians, Many Danes enjoy going to work. They are very devoted to their work and consider it essential that they thrive physically and mentally at work. According to Immigration Department information, the tone at the workplace is also very important. To feel respected and valued for one’s effort is a part of a good working environment. Job satisfaction is a part of the Danish working culture.

Rita says that working atmosphere is always peaceful and positive.

Rita Paplauskiene, who have been living and working in Denmark for six years, says: “Everybody is very friendly and helpful; I would not want to change my job. I feel respected and comfortable, no stress or negative atmosphere, not like in Lithuania.” This is the philosophy of nearly all workplaces. Nobody may be discriminated against because of their gender, nationality, religion, political views, age, handicap or sexual orientation. However, not all immigrants would agree with that.

Happy, but incredulous

“No matter how good and qualified are you, employer of big company will hire Dane over immigrant. A lot of well educated, smart, authoritative and competent Lithuanians are still working as cleaners, dishwashers or loaders in supermarkets. An utterly absurd is that it is still better than go back to Lithuania”, – says Lukas, master degree student, who wants to stay anonymous.

Norbert also has experienced distrust: “The biggest problem is the attitude of some Danes. They come and if you start talking in English they will leave. It seems that they trust only Danish people”.

Emigration is tolerated

Lithuania’s statistic department declares that 33 600 have emigrated from Lithuania last year. Like the whole citizens from Utena, the 10th biggest city in Lithuania. 40% of them were 20 – 29 years old, 60% of young people are planning to emigrate. Lithuanians are tolerant toward those who decide to emigrate and especially to those who decide to work abroad, states survey of the International Migration Organization of Lithuania. Many emigrants send money to their families and relatives in Lithuania.

According to Veidas magazine, Lithuania had the second highest rate of emigration in the world during the 20th century – 47 emigrants for every 10,000 inhabitants. Only Ireland with 101 emigrants for every 10,000 was higher in the 20th century. Comparatively, in Estonia this figure was only 22 and in Germany 10 for every 10,000.

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