The immigration quota, which regulates temporary residence permits for enterprise and employment-based immigration from third countries to Estonia, will already be reached in the summer this year.
This year’s immigration quota is 1,317 people. Considering that the Police and Border Guard Board have issued 893 residence permits within this year’s immigration quota and another 320 applications are currently being processed, the immigration quota will be reached this summer and no more applications will be accepted probably as of the end of June. Before going to the Police and Border Guard Board, it is therefore worth contacting them to ask whether any more residence permits can be applied for under the quota.
The Ministry of the Interior has analysed different options for changing the immigration quota regulation and presented the results of the analysis to the Government. “The immigration quota has been applied in the Estonian migration policy already since 1990 and by today it has clearly become obsolete. In the coming weeks, the Government has to make a decision on the establishment of a broad-based work group in order to involve all the cooperation partners in developing proposals which are suitable for Estonia and which the Government can then take forward,” said the Minister of the Interior Andres Anvelt. “We need to find a smart solution that would take into account the needs of the labour market and allow us to flexibly respond to changing circumstances,” he added.
Upon the fulfilment of the immigration quota, foreign specialists can use the registration of short-term employment as an interim solution. A foreigner who has a legal basis for temporary stay in Estonia and whose employment has been registered with the Police and Border Guard Board before the employment commences, may take employment in Estonia for a short term without a residence permit. Short-term employment in Estonia may last up to nine months during one year. The registration of short-term employment can be applied for by the employer in person, via an authorised representative at a service office, by mail or by e-mail.
The immigration quota includes temporary residence permits issued for employment or business and under an international agreement. The quota of 0.1% of the permanent population of Estonia derives from the Aliens Act. The quota does not include family migration, migration for studies (including researchers and teaching staff), commencement of employment in ICT or in a start-up, foundation of a start-up, acting as a major investor, and extensions of residence permits. Neither does the quota include European Union citizens and their family members as well as the citizens of the United States and Japan. Thus, they will still be able to settle in Estonia after the immigration quota is reached.
Every year, more than 6,500 foreigners come to live in Estonia and a bit less than half of them are using the right of free movement of persons or are EU or Swiss citizens. People from third countries come to Estonia to study or work or accompany their family under a temporary residence permit.