Meanwhile Regina Narušienė, chairwoman of the World Lithuanian Community, says it will depend on Lithuania's actions.
"An increase in emigration is the first sign of economic hardships Lithuania is hit by. But it's a temporary thing, and thanks to joint efforts, we'll manage to get back on our feet, and part of the people who are away will definitely come back to Lithuania," Degutienė said on Tuesday, welcoming participants of the 14th World Lithuanian Community Seimas.
She paid attention to the fact that some Lithuanians, who studied or worked abroad, were coming back home and agreed to take up lower-paid jobs in Lithuania. But one should still wait for a major wave of those coming back.
"I personally know several people who came back to take up a significantly lower-paid job than, let's say, they would be able to have living in the United Kingdom or some other country," Degutienė told journalists at the Seimas. "But that major wave will, of course, take place after Lithuania gets stronger than today, when unemployment starts coming down, when there's a shortage of qualified workforce. Although there's already a lack of highly-qualified workforce in some areas, and that's why some people who were away came back. But a major wave should take place after we get more stable and get back on our feet," the speaker said.
Meanwhile Narušienė said she surveyed new emigrants some four or five years ago as to whether they planned to come back to Lithuania.
"97-98 percent of them said "yes". But they couldn’t say when. I asked what should happen to encourage them to come back, but they couldn’t say. Part of them said they planned to save enough money, other said after they get pension or something else changes, but the majority didn’t know," Narušienė said, adding that the return of emigrants would depend on actions of the Lithuanian authorities.
"I would say it will depend on Lithuania and whether it really wants to invite them to come back and not only talk but also show with its actions that they are welcome," the chairwoman of the World Lithuanian Community said.
Statistics show that 34,700 people emigrated from Lithuania in 2009, 83,200 people left in 2010, and 53,900 people went to live and work abroad last year.
14,000 people, 89.3 percent of all emigrants, returned to Lithuania last year, much more compared to any year between 2007 and 2010 when, on average, over 5,000 people came back to Lithuania annually.
The Lithuanian Seimas is hosting meetings of the World Lithuanian Community Seimas on 7-10 August. Such meetings are held every three years.