VILNIUS – Scientists expected substantial changes in migration patterns in Lithuania amid coronavirus restrictions and Brexit, but the number of people leaving the country remains high, albeit lower than previously, a demographer said on Thursday.
"In the context of all these restrictions, we expect major and substantial changes, but as we can see these figures have remained rather high," Professor Domantas Jasilionis of Vytautas Magnus University told reporters.
However, Brexit-related uncertainty had an impact on emigration, he said.
Some 43,100 people immigrated into Lithuania last year, 3,000, or 7.5 percent, more than in 2019, according to figures released by the country's statistics office.
Some 48.3 percent of all immigrants were returning Lithuanian citizens. The number of returnees increased by 2 percent year-on-year to 20,800.
The number of foreign immigrants rose by 2,600, or 13.2 percent, last year from 2019 to 22,300. Some 9,300, or 41.8 percent, of them were Ukrainian nationals. Another 7,300, or 32.7 percent, came from Belarus, and 1,000, or 4.4 percent, from Russia.
The number of Belarusian immigrants increased 1.1 times over the year and the number of those from Ukraine rose by 5 percent. The number of Russian citizens fell by 3.2 percent.
Meanwhile, emigration from Lithuania decreased by 21.2 percent in 2020. Some 23,100 permanent residents left the country last year, 6,200 fewer than in 2019.
Some 6,000 people, or 26.2 percent, left for the United Kingdom, down by 4,100, or 40.3 percent, compared to 2019.
Ukraine was the second-most popular destination for people emigrating from Lithuania (3,800 emigrants, or 16.6 percent), followed by Belarus (2,100, 9.1 percent), Germany (1,800, 7.7 percent), and Norway (1,700, 7.3 percent.)