Priority should be given to persons already working in Estonia when issuing residence permits
The Chamber of Commerce presented to the Ministry of the Interior its opinions regarding the 2021 immigration quota, which according to the draft act is 1,315 persons and which is distributed according to the reasons for applying for the temporary residence permit. Similarly to the year 2020, a portion of the immigration quota for 2021 has been reserved for creative workers, athletes, coaches and referees, aliens coming to Estonia on the basis of international agreements and a portion of the quota will be available for free distribution.
Marko Udras, head of the Chamber’s policy formation and legal department said that companies consider it reasonable to establish the maximum allowed rate, i.e. 0.1 percent of the permanent population of Estonia as the immigration quota for 2021. “Considering the current situation where many employers struggle with finding employees with suitable skills, experience and knowledge from among the local population despite of the increasing number of unemployed people, it would be very reasonable to establish the maximum immigration quota for 2021,” said Udras.
Distributing the immigration quota between areas of activity is not necessary, because they are not fully used up
The Chamber does not consider it necessary to distribute the immigration quota for 2021 in the manner established in the draft act. This year, the quota for creative workers was 28, for athletes, coaches and sports referees 18 and persons coming to Estonia under an international agreement - 10. By now, only 4 of the places allocated for creative workers have been use and only 1 residence permit has been issued on the basis of an international agreement. Within four years only 5 residence permits have been issued under international agreements. At the same time, very many aliens have been left without the residence permit for employment.
Aliens already staying in Estonia could be given priority when applying for residence permits
The Chamber has proposed to update the draft act in the way that during a certain period, aliens who are legally staying in Estonia and whose short-term employment is registered at the Police and Border Guard Board could be given priority when applying for temporary residence permits for employment.
The aim of the proposal is to enable the aliens, who are already working here short-term, continue working in Estonia. As there are very many restrictions on travelling in the world at the moment, and arrival of third country nationals in Estonia is difficult, it would be reasonable to, at least in short-term perspective, give preference to the aliens who are already working in Estonia. Such solution will help alleviating labour shortages for the companies who cannot find employees with required skills in Estonia and whose employees who are aliens working in Estonia for short-term periods must leave Estonia because the maximum period allowed to work in Estonia will end shortly. Furthermore, it should be taken into account that bringing in new employees may increase the risk of spreading the virus, which is significantly lower for persons who are staying in Estonia longer.
Who are exempt of the immigration quota?
- citizens of a European Union member state;
- citizens of the USA, Japan, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein;
- aliens who are moving to their spouse and close relative;
- aliens who are studying or doing research work in Estonia;
- aliens who are granted temporary residence permits for permanently settling to live in Estonia;
- aliens who are granted residence permit for employment in a position in the field of information and communication technology;
- aliens who are granted residence permit for employment in a start-up company;
- aliens who are employed as lecturers in Estonia;
- aliens who are granted temporary residence permit for entrepreneurship as a major investor or in relation to start-up entrepreneurship;
- aliens who are granted temporary residence permit for employment as high-level specialists;
- seekers of international protection.
Last week, the Chamber of Commerce turned to the Government of the Republic with a proposal to allow aliens who are working in Estonia for short-term periods continue working in Estonia even if the term within which they are allowed to work in Estonia expires. This amendment would help to alleviate labour shortages in companies that are currently engaged in active business and decrease the risk that the companies or their employees would need financial support from the state in the near future. Read more.