Grybauskaitė, Poroshenko vow to fight Ukrainian workers' exploitation in Lithuania (Updated)
Lithuania and Ukraine will sign a bilateral agreement on social protection in an effort to curb the exploitation of Ukrainian workers in Lithuania, the presidents of the two countries announced on Friday in Vilnius.
Ukraine's President Petro Poroshenko said he was raising the issue of protection of the rights of Ukrainians in other countries, not just in Lithuania.
"We discussed the issue of social security for Ukrainians who were granted labour visas and get jobs in the territory of Lithuania. I also raise the issue in other countries. I am grateful to Mrs. Dalia for telling officials in charge of social security to draft a certain agreement shortly," Poroshenko told journalists.
Ukrainians account for more than a half of all foreigners hired in Lithuania, 11,000 of them arrived in Lithuania last year, and the figure should be much bigger this year.
Immigration in Lithuania is triggered by higher wages. Average take-home salary in Ukraine is around 250 euros, as compared to around 660 euros in Lithuania.
Analysts say labour immigration in Lithuania is inevitable due to Lithuanian emigration to Western Europe and lack of skilled. However, critics fear that cheaper labour force from Ukraine will curb growth of salaries for Lithuanians and could pull up the scope of shadow economy due to illegal workers.