Ministries: Employers should be able to invite foreigners to Estonia for full-time work

  • 2022-01-31
  • BNS/TBT Staff

TALLINN – As one of the amendments concerning labor migration, the Estonian Ministry of the Interior and the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications are to submit to the government a draft provision according to which an employer would be able to invite, on the basis of the registration of the short-term employment of an alien, a third country national to Estonia for full-time employment.

The ministries have agreed to ease the labor shortage in specific sectors that are important for the Estonian economy within the limits of the existing immigration quota, instead of introducing additional exemptions to the quota.

"Facilitating the involvement of foreign workers in technology-based companies is necessary because such companies need a large and growing number of employees in very different roles. According to founders, growth companies need developers and product managers, designers, marketing and sales people, customer support, technical recruiters, data engineers and researchers, as well as quality engineers," Interior Minister Kristian Jaani and Minister of Entrepreneurship Andres Sutt say in their reply to the head of the country's main trade union confederation, Peep Peterson. 

If the growth plans of Estonia's biggest startups materialize, around 12,000 jobs could be created in this country in the next five years. The ministers acknowledge that, unfortunately, it is not possible to find this number of workers in the Estonian labor market alone.

The ministers also point out that the regulation of temporary agency work must take into account the regulation of the European Union, as a result of which it is not possible to restrict the provision of services in Estonia by companies established in the European Union or in a partner country of a free trade agreement.

"This is why, in cooperation with the Ministry of Social Affairs and the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications, we have now come to the conclusion that we can require the registration of economic activity in Estonia, but not the establishment of a company in Estonia, as a prerequisite for the provision of the service of the mediation of temporary agency work," Jaani and Sutt said. 

Simultaneously, additional solutions are being sought together to better control the mediation of temporary agency work under the current regulation. The Aliens Act provides for liability for both the employer and the user undertaking, the ministers said.

The user undertaking is obliged to verify that the alien working at the undertaking has a legal basis for staying and working in Estonia and to ensure that the alien works in Estonia on the legal basis granted for this purpose and in accordance with the contract or other agreement concluded between the employer and the user undertaking.

In case of failure to do so, the Police and Border Guard Board can apply administrative coercion. A user undertaking may also be required to pay compensation to a foreign employee jointly and severally with the employer if the registration of the short-term employment of a foreigner working in Estonia is revoked for a reason arising from the user undertaking.

The ministers stress that they also want to move forward as soon as possible with proposals to lower the salary requirement for top specialists and establish better conditions for growth companies to attract labor. According to Jaani and Sutt, these proposals create opportunities for sectors important for the development of the Estonian economy to involve skilled foreign workers when the local labor market is running out of supply.