Main Contractor Should Not Be Responsible for Sub-Contractors Who Have Violated the Aliens Act
The Ministry of the Interior sent for approval round the intention to develop the Aliens Act, which among others would make the main contractor responsible for the illegal working of aliens. In the Chamber’s opinion, the main contractors have no possibility to identify if their sub-contractors have violated the conditions of the Aliens Act and therefore the Chamber is against that change. See, what are the other changes planned.
Generally, the Chamber supports the change set out in the intention to develop the Act, which aims at preventing main contractors from participating in the public procurement if the main contractor has violated the conditions for employing aliens in Estonia or they have employed an alien who is illegally staying in Estonia. However, the Chamber does not support extending the main contractor’s liability to sub-contractors because the main contractors have no possibility to obtain information about whether their sub-contractors have used illegal labour force or violated the conditions established for aliens for employment in Estonia. In the Chamber’s opinion, the Labour Inspectorate, Police and Border Guard Board and Tax and Customs Board should cooperate in that respect.
Additionally, in the Chamber’s opinion, the problem has been escalated by the unwillingness to solve the problem related to fulfilling the immigration quota. This has created a situation where skilled labour is brought to Estonia by using various illegal schemes. Therefore we are facing a situation where due to the inability to solve the main problem, we are forced to deal with the problems arising from the consequences. The Chamber does not consider this situation justified.
Furthermore, the Chamber does not support the amendment which, upon registering short-term employment and applying for the residence permit for work, gives the obligations of the employer and inviter to the company in Estonia and to whom the person is sent to work. Due to the fact that an Estonian company is the party that orders the work and not the employer of the foreign worker, the Estonian entrepreneur should not be responsible for meeting the requirements set out in the Aliens Act.
One of the planned amendments concerns placing additional obligation on the Police and Border Guard Board (PPA). Namely, the PPA should start checking during the course of processing the residence permit, if filling the position with an alien is justified considering the labour market situation, and based on the data of the Estonian Unemployment Insurance Fund. Although the Chamber supports the principle that granting the Unemployment Insurance Fund’s permit for hiring an alien would be as little burdensome as possible for employers, the Chamber has received feedback from its members that obtaining this permission is currently a very quick procedure. Instead, entrepreneurs are complaining that it takes the PPA too long to review the residence permit application, and therefore there is the question if giving the PPA an additional an additional task would extend the process of applying for the residence permit, considering that the PPA is already overloaded with the residence permit applications.
In its opinion, the Chamber emphasised once more that for entrepreneurs, the biggest problem in the Aliens Act is the immigration quota that hinders foreign laborers who contribute to the development of the Estonian society, to come to work in Estonia. Therefore the Chamber proposed again that aliens who are paid 1.5x the average Estonian salary and who come to work with a residence permit with the term of up to 2 years, would be exempt from the quota. As an alternative, the Chamber supports the solution that exempts from the immigration quota the aliens that are employed with a trustworthy employer.
Read the full opinion of the Chamber here (in Estonian):