The Swiss government announced on April 25 that it will grant just 2,180 long-term work permits this year to citizens of eight Eastern European countries under a reinstated quota system, reports AFP. The quotas, which take effect on May 1, are designed to block an estimated 4,000 migrants from the so-called ‘A8’ nations that joined the European Union in 2004 - the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia. The government said it would review the program before it expires at the end of April 2013 and consider extending it another year. The government announced on April 18 that it was reinstating the quotas but had not given specifics. The quotas affect ‘B’ permits that allow foreign nationals to work in Switzerland for periods of a year or more. Since Switzerland lifted immigration restrictions on ‘A8’ nationals on May 1, 2011, some 6,000 citizens from the eight countries have been granted long-term work permits.
The Port of Sillamae, which is spending most of its efforts this year on completing its new container terminal facilities, is now actively looking for companies to operate them, reports ERR news service. According to the port’s marketing manager Andrei Birov, the container facilities are expected to be ready for operation this fall. “We’re planning to equip four docks that have a total length of 850 meters and we’re going to have to connect them to a rail line,” he said. Birov said that the port is currently carrying out negotiations with potential Russian, Kazakh and Western partners to operate the new container facilities.
Europe’s largest hotel chain, French Accor, wants to establish itself better in the Baltic States and return to Estonia, reports Aripaev. Accor is not represented in Estonia and Latvia at the moment but plans to reach these states, Accor’s manager in Lithuania Frank Reul told news2biz newsletter. Estonian Hotels and Restaurants Union board chairman Feliks Magus said that Accor’s representatives will come to meet with Estonian hotel managers in the near future. “They are likely to offer a management service or franchise, without guaranteeing revenues to the hotel owner – just like all large international hotels. If someone is found here who is ready to accept their offer, then they will be successful,” he said. This would not be the first time Accor discovered Estonian. Till June 1, 2000 they had a management contract in the hotel Grand Hotel Mercure Tallinn, which was ended since the company could not generate the planned occupancy rates.