More people are joining Estonia – both virtually and physically

Sander Nõmmik
Author Sander Nõmmik

The number of internationals working in Estonia has more than doubled over the past few years. Whether people choose to study or work here, the country is attracting more internationals as it offers a clean, safe and tech-savvy environment to accelerate the most demanding professional careers.

Internationals from all over the world

People have relocated to Estonia from all over the world. With respect to the European Union, the TOP 5 countries are Finland, Latvia, Germany, Italy and France, while with regard to beyond the European Union, the TOP 5 countries are Ukraine, Russia, Belarus, India and Nigeria. People also relocate from the US, the UK, Sweden and other places.

The statistics for first-time temporary residence show that most foreigners come to work, study, or because of family migration. In recent years, the highest number of residence permits have been issued for employment. In 2018, the number was 1,850.

Tallinn remains the most popular city for expats

According to population register data, in 2014-2018, most citizens from both the European Union and beyond the European Union settled in Harju, Tartu, Ida-Viru, Pärnu and Valga Counties. The first choice of city is Tallinn (the capital of Estonia), followed by Tartu (Estonian capital of culture) and Narva (the place to be in autumn) or Valga (twin town of Valka in Latvia).

Possibility of achieving career goals faster

Internationals living and working here say that they chose Estonia because of the possibility of achieving their career goals faster, as well as because the living environment is very clean, relaxed and safe, while most everyday tasks are carried out digitally. Read more about the 6 reasons why international specialists like to live in Estonia.

more and more internationals relocate to estonia

The number of applications for a residence permit for entrepreneurship is increasing, likewise the share of foreigners working in Estonia startups. One of the reasons is the several changes that were made to the law in 2017. The changes enable prospective startups to come to Estonia for the sake of economic development in Estonia and to recruit foreign workforce under more favourable conditions. Read more about startup visa here.

There is no limit on specialists willing to come to Estonia.

More than 50,000 e-residents

Moreover, Estonia is the first and currently the only country in the world to offer e-residency. In 2014-2018, there were more than 50,000 e-residents. In addition to establishing a company, Estonia’s e-residents can perform e-banking transactions, have access to international payment service providers, file a tax return electronically, remotely control a company, and digitally sign documents and contracts. They will have needs-based access to Estonian e-government services. Read more about e-Residency here.

New to Estonia? We have got you covered!

So far, women have been slightly more active in participating in the Welcoming programme, a training programme offered by the Estonian state that helps foreigners who have arrived in Estonia to settle in more easily. By the end of 2018, the proportion of women participating in the programme was 52% and that of men 48%. Additionally, women were more active in participating in various training modules.

Recently a new service centre for expats opened its doors. International House of Estonia provides free personal consultations for foreigners, their families and local employers about settling in, documentation, healthcare, language programs etc. Book your appointment online:


All in all, we at Work in Estonia are happy to see that international specialists choose Estonia as a place to work and live. To dive into Estonian migration statistics 2014-2018, please click here. The overview prepared by the Ministry of the Interior and the European Migration Network Estonian Contact Point takes you on a visual journey of the numbers.

Would you like to work in Estonia? Have a look at hundreds of job offers here!