TALLINN - The Confederation of Trade Unions says it supports the amendment to the Aliens Act, which would facilitate immigration of highly specialized experts into Estonia, reports National Broadcasting. “We find that the inclusion of top-level specialists from abroad to the labor market will help Estonia move towards a smarter and more productive economy, and this would also have a positive impact on the wages of local employees,” stated the head of the trade unions’ organization Peep Peterson.
At the same time, the confederation notes that there is already a lot of capable talent in Estonia and contributions ought to be made to their development as well.
The trade unions continue to oppose opening the labor market to cheap unqualified labor, as it would not contribute to the economy. “This might even slow down the increase in productivity, and lower wages in Estonia. We would be prepared to return to this issue on the condition that sectors that need unqualified labor would first conclude a pan-Estonian pay agreement that would also set measures for the overall increase in labor productivity and pay levels,” noted Peterson.
The draft legislative amendments initiated by the Minister of Education and Science Jaak Aaviksoo, Minister of Economic Affairs and Communications Juhan Parts and Minister of Internal Affairs Ken-Marti Vaher aim to significantly facilitate and speed up proceedings necessary for applying for residence permits in order to work in Estonia as a top-level specialist, for operating businesses or for studies.
The amendments are a proactive measure, though more will be needed to adjust to a changing workforce in the future. According to a new labor market overview compiled by the Bank of Estonia, the major challenge facing Estonia for the coming years is emigration, reports Postimees Online. “The number of potential new mothers is falling and in the future, and there would be even less young people entering the labor market,” stated Orsoloya Soosaar, one of the authors of the analysis. She added that in the coming years the migration balance for Estonia will probably remain negative.
At the same time, 2012 was positive from the point of view of the labor force. The unemployment rate fell in the second half of the year, including the share and number of long-term unemployed persons.
According to Soosaar, Estonia will continue to be affected by structural unemployment rate, which means that the skills and qualifications and physical placement of unemployed persons do not comply with the needs of the labor market.