VILNIUS, Jan. 18 (Xinhua) -- The number of Ukrainians living in Lithuania has increased by almost 42 percent in 2018, making them the largest foreign community in Lithuania, the country's Migration Department announced on Friday.
According to the department, on Jan.1 2019, 16,873 Ukrainians lived in Lithuania, an increase of 41.9 percent compared with the number a year ago.
During 2018, Ukrainians became the largest foreign community in Lithuania, a Baltic country with population of around 2.8 million, leaving Russians at the second place with 12,433 living in Lithuania. The third largest foreign community in Lithuania are Belarussians with 12,162.
"Citizens from these countries account to 84 percent of all foreigners living in Lithuania," said the Migration Department in the announcement on Friday.
The number of Ukrainians living in Lithuania has been growing amid influx of Ukrainian workers to Lithuania and strengthening cooperation between Lithuania and Ukraine.
According to Lithuania's Social Security and Labor Ministry, in 2018, around 60 percent of Lithuanian multi-entry national visas based on labor permits were granted to Ukrainians, around 60 percent of temporary permits were also granted to Ukrainians.
Last month, Lithuania and Ukraine agreed to strengthen social guarantees to Ukrainian workers in Lithuania and fight illegal work.
In recent years, Lithuanian companies have turned to Ukrainian workers amid growing shortage of labor force following years of Lithuanians' emigration to western and northern Europe over higher pay.