Does quo vadis constitute the network of regional migration information coordinators?

2020 12 12

On the 10th December, the remote conference “Does quo vadis constitute the network of regional migration information coordinators?” of the Migration Information Centre “I Choose Lithuania” took place, during which experts shared their insights on attracting emigrants to Lithuanian regions.

At the event, a Member of the Seimas Dalia Asanavičiūtė presented the perspectives and instruments of the return policy, confirming that constant attention and inter-institutional cooperation are necessary to encourage this process. The challenges faced by emigrants and the changing public attitude towards them were reviewed by D. Audra Sipavičienė, the head of the Vilnius office of the International Migration Organization.

In order to encourage emigrants to return, it is important to reduce bureaucratic obstacles and also to constantly monitor the attitudes of those living in Lithuania towards the newcomers. About 70,000 emigrants returned to Lithuania when the first wave of COVID-19 began, but most of them say that this decision is temporary. Opportunities to stay here – career, suitable living conditions for the family, and society’s attitude towards the returnee – are important factors for those who are considering their further prospects in Lithuania.

Lithuania not only creates a connection with our returning compatriots, but also improves services for foreign citizens coming to Lithuania. At the event, the head of the Joint Service Centre “International House Vilnius” Agnė Camara presented the activities of the Centre, which has been established in Vilnius and which will be able to offer relevant services under one roof for immigrants.

During the event, the project “Global Regions” and its achievements were discussed, in which Panevėžys has been actively involved since 2018. Its coordinator, Ieva Andriulaitytė, stated that the opportunity to present the region in an attractive and detailed way, the growing number of inquiries, and the opportunity to provide specific coordinated assistance show the benefits of this initiative. Although not all Lithuanian municipalities are participating in the initiative, many of them were interested in this opportunity during the event.

During the conference, the good practices of individual Lithuanian regions were reviewed, which were aimed at establishing closer ties between emigrants and Lithuania and improving the conditions for the returnees. One of the good practice examples presented at the event is the Panevėžys Development Agency’s initiative “Panevėžys is friendly to new residents,” which unites various organizations assisting returnees.

“We are glad that our initiative is being noticed,” says Jūratė Raukštienė, the coordinator of the initiative. “Most Lithuanian cities try to keep in touch with those who have arrived, but at the same time try to create a unique face of the city that helps people make an informed decision when planning to return. The idea for the initiative came from considering how we could help companies attract the human resources they need by coordinating and improving the services they provide to returnees. In this way, we contribute to the formation of a common friendly image of the city, which is no less important for the returnee than career opportunities.”