75 Untapped Business Opportunities in Klaipėda

Learn how International House Klaipėda supports foreign entrepreneurs with integration services, tax advice, and more.
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Since Lithuania reestablished it’s independence in 1991, more people were leaving Lithuania than were coming to live in the country. Six years ago, this trend was reversed and now more people are coming to live in Lithuania than are leaving the country.  There are currently more than  34,000 foreigners living in Klaipėda alone, and this number will only increase in the future. 

The International House Vilnius and Klaipėda are particularly helpful in providing comprehensive support to foreigners who have just arrived in the country, in successfully completing the integration process and in encouraging foreign students who have completed their studies in Lithuania to stay and work.  

International House Klaipėda started its activities in June 2023 -  one year ago and is located in the Neapolis business centre (52C Taikos Ave.) in the port city.  

All services in one place 

One of the main goals of International House Klaipėda is to improve customer service for foreigners through public services. International House Klaipėda offers free services and advice to foreigners in English and Russian from the Migration Department, the State Tax Inspectorate, the State Social Insurance Agency, and the Employment Services.  

According to Viktorija Paldauskė, the Head of International House Klaipėda, the center served more than 2,200 foreigners from more than 35 different countries in its first year.  

"Most of the clients came from Ukraine, Nigeria, India, Russia and Germany. About thirty percent of the clients were foreigners studying in Klaipėda higher education institutions.  We have noticed that the services we offer are also relevant for Lithuanians who are returning from abroad. Especially for those whose grandparents and parents emigrated and who grew up abroad and who do not speak good Lithuanian", - says V. Paldauskė. 

According to her, foreigners who have recently arrived in Lithuania, who are dealing with Lithuanian state institutions for the first time, and who for various reasons are unable to use the Electronic Government Gateway and receive these services online, need the services and consultations provided by International House Klaipėda. 

"Moreover, even after registering to consult a public institution, foreigners are not guaranteed that the specialist serving them will provide the necessary information in a foreign language. By coming to International House Klaipėda, foreigners will receive all the necessary information and assistance in one place, in a language they understand," V. Paldauskė emphasized.  

Tax matters are highly significant 

According to the Head of International House Klaipėda, most foreigners turn to International House Klaipėda for general issues related to relocation.  

"For most of our clients, the most important questions are where to find a job, information about Sodra taxes and pensions, and the process of exchanging or acquiring Lithuanian driving license. Recently, information and assistance with income declaration and tax refunds have been particularly relevant," says the Head of International House Klaipėda. 

Laimutė Mačernienė, Director of the Tax Obligations Department of Klaipėda County State Tax Inspectorate, was pleased that International House Klaipėda, in cooperation with Klaipėda County State Tax Inspectorate, is helping foreigners to solve all their tax issues in one place. This improves the quality of customer service and saves time. 

 "In the first year, we helped more than a hundred foreigners with their tax issues at the International House Klaipėda.  Most of them needed help in declaring their income. Foreigners often asked about the registration of individual activities and the taxation of income from them. 

There were also clients who sought advice about opening a company or becoming a VAT payer," commented L. Mačernienė. 

Inclusive events: from Regitra to the market   

International House Klaipėda actively organizes integration events for foreigners in cooperation with state institutions, various associations and business companies operating in Klaipėda, helping them to better understand various aspects of Lithuanian social, economic and cultural life.   

In its first year of operation, more than 600 people attended events organized by International House Klaipėda.  

"One of our events is a series of informative seminars on important issues. These are held either online or live.  We have organized seminars for people who are self-employed, and for those who work with an employment contract. There was also a seminar on the Lithuanian pension system and a seminar on driving licenses with specialists from Regitra," said V. Paldauskė, listing the events organized by International House Klaipėda. 

International House Klaipėda, together with the Tourist Information Centre, hollds monthly "Discover Klaipėda" practical tours, which are gaining popularity and receive great attention from foreigners. 

"One of the tours in this series was dedicated to Easter and its traditions. The other tour was about Klaipėda's skyline. Besides getting to see Klaipėda from above, they got to know more about Klaipėda's economy and it’s development. We are planning a tour of the city's markets towards the end of summer," she said, announcing the upcoming events.  

Significant help for students  

According to V. Paldauskė, the International House Klaipėda organizes Career Days once a quarter, where the National Employment Services and Klaipėda companies with job offers that are open to foreigners are invited to participate.  Another event was held to introduce foreigners to the work culture in Lithuania.  

"When referring clients for job searches, we cooperate with the Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Crafts, the Association of Industrialists and the Free Economic Zone.  We also invite company representatives to meet foreigners in person. 

There are currently 1,300 international students studying in Klaipeda. These are young people who, after receiving Lithuanian education, can stay in Klaipėda to live and work. Therefore, one of our most important goals is to help them build a successful career in Klaipėda, to help them find an internship or a job", - emphasized the Head of International House Klaipėda. 

Aida Norvilienė, the Vice Rector of Klaipėda University, confirmed that International House Klaipėda contributes significantly to facilitating the integration of foreign students in Klaipėda.  

"Currently, there are about 200 international students studying at Klaipėda University and this number is increasing every year.  The services provided by this center are of particular interest to students: assistance with migration, tax refund documents, employment issues.  "The activities of International House Klaipėda will ensure faster and smoother integration of international students, not only during their studies, but also when they enter the labor market.  

The city needs such a center in order to attract more talent from other countries and increase the city's competitiveness", - the representative of Klaipėda University is convinced.  

V. Paldauskė said that the easiest way to find a job in Klaipėda is for foreigners with a degree in business administration or information technology. Professionals with such qualifications are successful in working for companies in the port and free economic zone. Some foreigners move their own businesses to Klaipėda or start a new business here. Engineers are a little more difficult for companies to employ, although there is a serious shortage of these professionals in companies in the city.  

In its first year of operation, International House Klaipėda has found that many companies in Klaipėda are still reluctant to hire foreigners. "One of the reasons is that in order to employ a foreigner, a company has to prepare a lot of documentation in a foreign language. All work instructions, safety and other requirements have to be translated to English or another commonly used foreign language in the company. Hiring just one foreign employee may not be cost-effective for the company. 

“We also find that in Lithuania there are still stereotypes between different cultures and age groups. As the number of foreigners in our country is increasing, let's be curious and get to know other cultures, let's ask "How are we alike?" instead of using stereotypes that are deeply rooted and not always correct. 

I see that the employment of foreigners in Lithuania is still an untapped opportunity. In Klaipėda alone, young people from 75 countries are studying. For business, these are 75 potential countries to which we can build bridges of cooperation using the knowledge and energy of these young people," says V. Paldauskė.