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CENTRE PLUS NEWS No. 1, 2012

Social issues A NEW START Anyone who lived abroad at least once and tried to overcome the difficulties of adaptation knows that this is the process which takes efforts and time. Different culture, customs, language, a narrow circle of acquaintances and the negative attitudes of native born to newcomers very often frighten the people who come to a new country. So, what to do to get used and to understand the local culture?

local people. It improves the Lithuanian language skills as well. Consequently, do not rush to change the Lithuanian channel on TV into the other but listen for a while trying to understand the language.

One of the cheapest ways to call to the native country is the Skype program. This program provides the opportunity to make calls to mobile and fixed phones at minimum rates. The only thing you need is to create a personal Skype account and put Communicate with family and up about 35 Lt. If family members friends who were left in the home- also use Skype program then the land. Living in the other country, calls will be for free. If you do not being surrounded by different cul- have a computer at home you can ture, far away from the people you always come to the Centre PLUS loved and trusted, and who always and use it for free. Engage in public life. Do not gave you support, could be a very shut away at home, interact with big challenge. Social support helps Learn the language. For many other people, taste the local food to soften the negative effects of psy- people the language barrier is one and try entertainment, learn about chological adaptation and to regain of the greatest challenges to adapt the country and its history, look for emotional balance during the time to the new society. Language skills new ways, tracks and routes lead- of cross-cultural migration. There- not only reduce the helplessness, ing to and from your home. The fore it is very important to maintain dependence and feelings of insecumap of Lithuania can be found at a regular contact by telephone or rity in the new country but also help www.maps.lt. Centre PLUS on a mail with beloved ones. Their sup- to win the trust of local residents. regular basis organizes social and port enhances self-motivation to Centre PLUS provides Lithuanian cultural events where you can meet integrate into the new environment. language guidance for Russian and new people, learn about Lithuanian culture and get the answers to your questions. In the near future the tours of Lithuania and the summer camp of an intensive consultancy will be organized. More information is available on our Facebook (type the key words “centre plus� in a search box) and on our website www.centreplus.org. Follow up the local media. TV watching, newspapers or magazines reading enables not only easier to grasp the cultural norms, interests and policy of a new country but also helps in a better understanding of


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English speaking people for free and regardless of the level of the knowledge of Lithuanian. If there is not a free Lithuanian language course in your city or you are unable to pay, then you can always put an ad in a newspaper or online

Centre Plius News No.1, 2012

(www.skelbiu.lt ; www.skelbimai.lt; www.alio.lt) that you are looking for someone who teaches Lithuanian language. In return you can offer your mother-tongue lessons. The two-way language learning is very useful to get know the differ-

ent culture and build up contacts with local people. A new start is always scary but it does not last a very long time. I wish you patience and optimism. In a very short time you will see that Lithuania could become your home.

Migration WELCOME TO THE REPUBLIC OF LITHUANIA ! Every year more and more aliens come to Lithuania for living. Lithuania is at the crossroads of migration flows which move from east to west and vice versa. Society has not a common approach to immigration: one assumes that aliens should not be given a permit to live in Lithuania, the other believe that immigration increases the country`s ethnic and cultural diversity and creates a need to improve the integration processes. It is a natural thing that aliens meet with language and cultural differences in Lithuania and face the lack of information. Consequently, they often turn to various institutions in order to get qualified help and advice. The help which is given to migrants develops our country`s image in the context of the other countries and helps to strengthen tolerance and openness at the state level. The aim of the newspaper is to provide information about the arrival of aliens, staying, living and working conditions in Lithuanian Republic and to answer talkingpoint questions. Our goal is to ensure the accuracy and availability of information. In the first issue of the newspaper we are presenting the brief general information about a temporary residence permit in the Republic of Lithuania and the temporary residence

permit on the basis of marriage. Aliens who come to Lithuania wishing to stay longer than 90 days have to validate their state. The temporary residence permit in the Republic of Lithuania is issued to the alien who is non-citizen of the European Union. Usually the permission is granted for a year but may be issued for a shorter period of time. For the alien born Lithuanians, who retained the right to Lithuanian citizenship and have supporting documents, the temporary residence permit is issued for five years. In other cases, the temporary residence permit for an alien in Lithuania may be issued or changed if: 1) it is the case of family reunification; 2) a person intends to work in the Republic of Lithuania; 3) a person intends to engage in lawful activities in the Republic of Lithuania; 4) a person intends to acquire education, to study in educational institution, to take part in a placement program, to improve professional skills, to participate in vocational training; 5) a person is under guardianship (care) or he is appointed a guardian (carer); 6) a person is unable to leave and he needs immediate emergency medical assistance because of the dangerous state of his health; 7) a person intends to carry out research and (or) development

work as a researcher under the employment contract with the research institution registered in the Republic of Lithuania. Recently the number of marriages conducted between Lithuanian and foreign citizens has increased, so mostly the applications for family reunification are filed. The law determines Family reunification cases when in the Republic of Lithuania live: 1) alien`s parents or one of them who are the citizens of Lithuania; 2) alien`s parents who are unable to work due to retirement age or disability and have granted permanent residence in Lithuania; 3) alien`s child who is the citizen of Lithuania; 4) alien`s spouse who is the citizen of Lithuania or has a permanent residence permit. The most common topic of discussion today is obtaining a temporary residence permit on the basis of marriage, so I am going to present the information, where and how you can apply for a temporary residence permit in the case of family reunification and what documents substantiating the purpose of entry must be submitted. The application form for the first temporary residence permit could be presented to the Diplomatic Mission or Consular Office of the Lith-


Centre Plius News No.1, 2012

uanian Republic abroad or, when an alien is in Lithuania legally, to the Territorial Migration Service of the place where he intends to reside. Supporting documents to the application are these: - a valid travel document; - documentary evidence that confirm family relationship with the foreigner who is coming (marriage certificate); - identification of Lithuanian citizenship; - documentary evidence that the alien has sufficient funds or receive regular income (currently 800 Lt per month, that is at least 9600 Lt per year); - documentary evidence that the

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person or legal entity to give him the living place during the time of residence permit; - health insurance; - a photo. Also a national service tax for application must be paid (currently 300 Lt). However, the application for the temporary residence permit does not entitle to stay in Lithuania during the time of decision making. The alien could stay in Lithuania only for a set number of days by visa. The application for the first temporary residence permit shall be reviewed within 6 month.

Alien has his own place of resiIt should be noted that after the dence or is under a contract not reasonable suspicion of false marless than the requested residence riage in order to obtain a residence period or has the permission of a permit come to the surface the in-

spection starts and it has a very painful consequences in these “married� life later. They are withdrawn or decided not to issue a residence permit, the marriage is canceled and the entry into the Schengen zone is banned for them. I hope with this information we have made the acquaintance with the legal status of aliens in Lithuania and in each next issue we are going to provide more information on the issues of visas, residence permits, work permits, legitimate business. Also we are going to provide the information about the control of aliens who come to Lithuania. You are welcome to ask questions and propose topics to us. Once again, Welcome to Lithuania!


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Centre Plius News No.1, 2012

Law issues LEGAL STATUS The legal status of aliens in a particular country (arrival and departure procedures, deportation, right to work, citizenship issues, etc.) is imposed by the national law of the first host country. Legal customs which set out the minimum standards of treatment of aliens were already formed in the classical law of nations. These standards are widely recognized and they include: ● the right to be recognized as a subject of law; ● the right to humane treatment; ● the right to proper criminal procedure when being arrested or defendant; ● the right to go to law; ● the right to life and security of the person, including freedom from arbitrary arrest or detention, etc. The protection of aliens in the international law is an integral part of the protection of human rights, so when arriving in another foreign

country you should know: ● All forms of discrimination against aliens are prohibited; ● The collective expulsion of aliens is prohibited; ● The expulsion of lawful aliens from a nation without fair procedures is prohibited. An alien has the right to defend himself from expulsion and must also be provided with representation.

to freedom of expression, the right to peaceful assembly and the right to own property individually or in association with others. Furthermore, Declaration sets out the right to liberty of movement and freedom to choose the place of residence within the borders of the country and the right of spouse and minor or dependant children to join a lawful alien, as provided by national law.

Declaration on the Human Rights of Individuals Who are not Nationals of the Country in which They Live (1985) sets out the rights of non-citizens which also are the fundamental human rights: ● the right to life and security of the person, including freedom from arbitrary arrest or detention; ● the right to private and family life; ● equality before the courts; ● freedom of thought, opinion, conscience, ect. Also Declaration sets out the right to leave the country, the right

If you face problems in another country first of all you should contact the agency representative office or consulate of your home country. The information about them can be found in the website of Ministry of Foreign Affairs: www.urm.lt. Due to the facts of discrimination or sexual harassment you can contact the Equal Opportunities Ombudsman online: mvlgk@lrs.lt and also by phone: (8 5) 261 2660. Furthermore, you can address your questions to the staff of Center PLUS. You can call, email or drop in to the headquarters.

Psychological issues PSYCHOLOGICAL ASSISTANCE The psychological side of migration is a very complicated experience that can contribute both to the positive changes of behavior or personality and the formation of psychological difficulties. Some people who come to live in a new country successfully adapt but the others feel everlasting stress in many areas of their life. On the one hand the stresses in one`s life increase, on the other hand the resources which usually give strength and help to cope with challenges and strain, for example, the daily interaction with family members, the circle of close


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friends, favorite activities, familiar environment and the knowledge of its rules, the sense of belonging to community, decrease. Mental health specialists who work with foreigners even have suggested the term “Odyssey syndrome”, which refers to the mythological Greek hero who suffered difficulties and challenges in foreign countries. When the stress caused by migration becomes too difficult to tolerate, the symptoms of increased anxiety, constant tension, depressive mood, different fears, loneliness, alienation, intrusive thoughts and physical pains could arise.

professional psychological help. Also the psychologist may be visited in order to get know better yourself, to reveal the inner potential and to find how to use it. The experience of migration is very beneficial to selfknowledge and positive internal change. Migration can be compared with the move of something that was standing in the same place for a very long time. When a thing stands in the same place for a long time it becomes almost invisible but moved into another place it can expose something new and unexpected. Similar thing happens to a person when he leaves for a new place or country to live. The external If you feel any of these change gives an opportunity to see symptoms, it is important to seek oneself in a new and sometimes

unexpected light, to understand better one`s feelings. These things encourage positive changes and personal growth. Centre PLUS offers free psychological guidance for adults in English, Russian and Lithuanian languages. The psychological support is completely confidential and provided in accordance with the principles of professional ethic and regulations (www. psichologusajunga.lt ;www.efpa. eu). If necessary you will be directed to the appropriate mental health institution and professionals. E-mail to the psychologist of Centre PLUS: rasa.erentaite@gmail.com or call to the Centre by phone on Fridays.

Cultural issues HOLIDAYS, MEMORABLE EVENTS AND FESTIVALS Those who live in Lithuania not for the first year maybe have noticed that Lithuanians have only a few holidays which they celebrate with a will. Meanwhile, the other memorable events or public holidays are hold in a reserved manner. Fortunately, the young generation is trying step by step to brighten up the existing holidays or even to create some new. Later the most successful new holidays little by little change into traditional festivals. 1 May – International Labour Day. It dates back to 1886, when on the 1st of May Chicago workers started a demonstration demanding to shorten a working day to 8 hours. This holiday reached Lithuania in Soviet times and was one of the most spectacular events. Consequently, after the reestablishment of Lithuania`s independence it was identified with Soviet cultural heritage and avoided to celebrate for some time. However, nowadays Lithuanians commemo-

6 May – Mother`s Day. Every year the first Sunday of May is celebrated in honor of all mothers. It is popular to give flowers and greetings. 9 May – Europe Day is celebrated since 1950, when French Min-

rate the 1st May as International Labour Day. This day is a day off so be sure you can find some attractions in big cities though it would not be as pompous as in Soviet times. The 1st of May is also the day, when Lithuania joined the European Union (2004).


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Centre Plius News No.1, 2012

ister of Foreign Affairs R. Shuman announced the idea of European integration. This day is the birthday of the European Union. Lithuania started to celebrate this day only ten years ago. Then the main purpose of that day was to inform society about the European Union and the matters which were important all over Europe.

a Father`s Day, but it is not very popular to celebrate it in Lithuania. Maybe it is because of the reason that holidays are supposed to be some kind of sentimental matter and men in Lithuania from childhood are taught not to be sentimental. But don`t forget to greet your father, because very often under a firm look is hidden a sensitive heart.

Have you ever known, that the 13 of May in Lithuania is the equivalent of Valentine`s Day? Greeks have Aphrodite, the Romans have Venus and the Lithuanians have Milda – the goddess of love, courtship and family continuity. This day is celebrated, when trees burst into blossom symbolizing fertility and the new start.

14 June – The Day of Mourning and Hope for remembrance of those, who were exiled to Siberia as part of Soviet genocide in Lithuania. On this day Lithuanian flags are displayed outside all public buildings decorated with black ribbons.

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24 June – St. John’s Day (celebrated from 23 to 24). This holi3 June – Father`s Day. The first day has the other names as well, Sunday of June was declared as for example, Midsummer Day,

Day of Dew, Kupolinės, Vainikai. St. John’s Day (or to be precise – night) is special, because it marks the summer solstice. The shortest nights of the year are between the 18 (the earliest morning) and the 23 (the latest sunset) of June. The peak is at the last shortest night, when festivities continue till the morning: the crowns of flowers and leaves are woven and later floated on rivers or lakes, fires are burned, different magic things are practiced; people dance, sing songs and the most important thing that everyone is looking for a fem blossom. It is said, that someone who had found a fem blossom had found his happiness as well. While in ancient times this festival lasted for a week, two or even a whole month that covers the entire period of short nights, nowadays “rituals” take just one night, but it is really a very crazy


Centre Plius News No.1, 2012

night. For that reason several years ago this holiday was decided to be a day off that those who had been looking for their happiness all night long could have a sleep. From ancient times Solstice was celebrated by Latvians, Poles, Swedes, the nations from FinnoUgric origin – Sami, Finns and Estonians. Also the fires of the shortest night in the year were burned in the South – Algeria and Mauritania and in the East – Lebanon and even the Himalayas. Those who would like to find more about Lithuanian traditions of celebrating Midsummer Day are invited to the park of Verkiai Palace on the 23rd of June. The festival will be hold according to the oldest ethnocultural traditions of Lithuania. Verkiai Park will become a sacred place, where everyone could learn about his future from different herbage, observe the sunset and dance or sing alongside festal fires. After dark the fire wheels will be

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lit, the crowns of flowers and leaves will be floated in the river Neris and in the morning everyone could wash himself with the morning dew, take a swim and greet the sun. Traditional ritual program will be performed by the best folk bands. Festivals, which are changing into traditional holidays

squares of the city turn into dance schools under the stars, parks – into big cinema centers on the grass, the river is decorated with installations and lights. Classical music, rock and organ concerts take place in churches, various performances are organized in narrow streets, love poetry, songs and lullabies sound from balconies.

19 May – Street Music Day. Professional and amateur musicians flood the streets of their cities, yards, parks and squares. Armed with a variety of musical instruments they play rock, jazz, avantgarde, folk and classical music and beat African rhythms. This is a great way to communicate the universal language of music (talking, dancing or just listening).

The main idea of Vilnius Festival is to promote the historical and modern cultural values of the world to society. It is a real revival to the lovers of classical music. It starts on 22nd of May and lasts until the 10th of June. (For more information we recommend to visit the website of Lithuanian National Philharmonic Society: www.filharmonija.lt/en ) More events which take place in Culture Night “Let It Be Night” Vilnius you can find: http://www. is celebrated at night from 16 to vilnius-events.lt/en 17 July. The Festival starts at 6 p.m. and lasts till 2 a.m. Then the

Other MY FIRST STEP Dear reader, In my articles I will try, as a foreigner from the Middle East, to introduce my 7 year experience living in Lithuania as a foreigner, tourist and employee.

try which I was going to visit, but I didn’t find much in Arabic language. All what I have read didn’t describe the true face of Lithuania. The thing that struck me the most about the city was the large amount of amazing historical churches here. Also the romantic and haunted feeling, but the haunted feeling in Vilnius is almost masked by the fast pace of life. The green colors in which this country was dressed all the summer is something hard to find in Egypt, and the wild nature and the peaceful people, also quiet streets took my heart away.

I arrived to Lithuania in May, 2005. It was the second year after Lithuania joined the European Union. There wasn`t and there is not till now direct flights from Cairo to Vilnius, so I took the plane from Cairo to Prague and then from Prague to Vilnius. My beautiful girl with a big red flower was waiting at the airport. Later this girl beAt the beginning I felt like a came my wife. stranger. When I was walking in the Before my arrival to Lithuania streets, sometimes I found someI wanted to read about the coun- one staring at me because of my

dark black hair and black eyes, or when I answered a phone call from Egypt and started to speak in Arabic language somewhere in café or in transport people were looking at me. But I was always meeting this staring with soft smile and one word LABAS to the staring person. As the foreigner from the Middle East I felt like I was being unique. Maybe, because of the reason, that there were not many Arab people coming to Lithuania at that time. And also I am not one of the traditional minorities which are living in Lithuania like Polish and Russian people, whom Lithuanians are used to meet every day in their daily life. Upon my arrival I bought a pre-


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Centre Plius News No.1, 2012

getting lost for many times when I tried to move around Vilnius alone. Taking the wrong bus is a great adventure and makes you to use all your talents of communication and language and the logical thinking to return back to your route or your home. The only solution not to get lost is to have the map of the city, where you live. There is a free map for the means of Vilnius transport system and anyone can get it for free from the ticket office near Vilnius Train Station. It has a good description of the routes of all busses and trolleybuses. It really helped me a lot.

paid mobile card because I wanted to stay always connected with my family and my wife here. Unfortunately, I couldn’t have a postpaid card, I mean with a contract because for that you need to have a residence permit and working contract. As all foreigners I entered Lithuania with a tourist visa.

One of the best things I really like in Lithuania is the superfast internet connection, it’s really amazing. For me personally it is very important, because I am a big One of my biggest problems, fan of networking and I feel like the when I arrived, was the Lithuanian heaven is here. language. In that time there wasn’t any NGO offering the help to for- To be continued. eigners, so everything seemed like puzzles in Lithuania: menu, street Bob names and food in supermarkets. My wife was helping me by translating, but that did not keep me from

The newspaper is published, implementing the project “Consultation and information centre PLUS” according the European Fund for the Integration of third-country nationals, annual Programme 2011

CENTRE PLUS · A. Smetonos street 5, room No 302 · Vilnius Tel.: 85 261 74 82 / 8 605 77 245 Email: centre@tja.lt · www.facebook.com (search for: Centre Plus) Working days: Monday to Friday · Opening hours: 11:30 to 15:30 and 16:30 to 20:30


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