The situation

Effective January 1, 2019, a change in tax rules further increased the minimum monthly salary for foreign workers in Lithuania to EUR 555 gross per month, an increase of 38.8 percent from the 2018 salary level instead of the initially-planned increase of 7.5 percent.

A closer look

All previously-reported conditions, including the minimum salary level for EU Blue Cards, still apply.

Impact

Despite the high percentage increase, foreign workers typically receive salaries well above this threshold since their salaries must also be in line with the local average for the position, which is typically higher than the minimum salary level.

Nevertheless, employers should apply 1.5 times the monthly average salary as a guideline in setting foreign workers’ salaries, to prevent having to complete an ‘Assessment of High Qualification’. The government may request such an assessment to verify a foreign worker’s high qualifications if the worker is not employed in a shortage occupation and receives a local average salary. The assessment may take up to 25-30 calendar days to process, which may add to the overall work authorization processing time.

Background

The current change results from a major tax overhaul aimed at consolidating employer wage-related taxes into a single amount. This overhaul was implemented simultaneously with the government's standard annual salary level review.

Looking ahead

National average wages, an important factor in determining salary requirements for foreign workers across all work authorization types in Lithuania, are expected to continue to rise due to labor shortages and minimum salary increases. Fragomen will report on related developments.