Immigration policies in Lithuania: institutional and legislative developments, challenges and opportunities
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Analysing national programmes, state strategies and other documents that regulate immi- gration and migrant integration in Lithuania, this article provides an overview of policy priorities in this field before and after the enlargement of the European Union (EU). The main theoretical approaches of migration processes and policies are reviewed to conceptu- alise the field in which the Lithuanian immigration and migrant integration polices are to be analysed. The article covers different types of immigration, reveals main immigration trends and provides contextual information: policy responses and political discussions, public debates and societal attitudes towards immigration. It touches on the newest legi- slative and institutional developments in the field concerned and reveals that before 2014, immigration policy in Lithuania was based on the so-called ad hoc principle, while during the first half of 2014, a new trend emerged as the government adopted the ‘Lithuanian Migration Policy Guidelines’ and ‘Action Plan for Implementation of the Policy for the Integration of Foreigners’. At the same time, integration of foreigners as a new area of policy emerged in the Ministry of Social Security of Labour. Migrant integration is beco- ming a prioritised policy area. However, its challenging aspect has to be emphasised as deeper analysis of migrant integration infrastructure revealed that project-based activities, supported by the EU funds, have already managed to ‘change’ the implementation of migrant integration policy at state level.
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