In 2017, Estonia’s immigration quota was set at 1,317 (which equals to 0.1 percent of the permanent population in the country). Given that there has been an increase in the amount of people coming to Estonia for working and living purposes, the quota was full already this summer. However, there are foreigners that do not fall under the immigration quota and other alternatives for the employers looking to hire foreigners.
Who can still come to work in Estonia?
The following persons are not included in calculating the fulfilment of the immigration quota and thus are allowed to apply for residence permit during this year:
- European Union citizens and their relatives, as well as refugees and asylum seekers also do not fall under the immigration quota;
- The spouse of an Estonian citizen, an Estonian and a foreigner, who resides in Estonia on the basis of a residence permit, to whom a residence permit is issued to settle with the spouse;
- a minor and adult child, parent and grandparent and a ward of an Estonian citizen, an Estonian and a foreigner, who resides in Estonia on the basis of a residence permit, to whom a residence permit is issued to settle with the close relative;
- a foreigner who is granted a residence permit for study;
- a foreigner that is granted a residence permit for working in the information and communications technology area or position;
- a foreigner who is granted residence permit for employment with the purpose of research activities on condition that the alien has appropriate professional training and education, or as a lecturer in Estonia in an educational institution which complies with the requirements established by the legislation;
- a foreigner who is granted a residence permit for the participation in criminal proceedings;
- a foreigner to whom the issue of a residence permit is justified and who does not present a threat to the interests of Estonia and who settled in Estonia before 1 July in the year 1990 and has not left to settle in another state after the indicated deadline;
- a citizen of the United States of America;
- a citizen of Japan and;
- a foreigner who has been granted the residence permit considering the fulfilment of immigration quota, and who thereafter has not left to settle in another state;
- A foreigner who has been granted a residence permit for study if he or she is applying for a residence permit on any basis;
- an alien who has been granted a residence permit on the basis specified in 2) or 3) of this section if he or she is applying for a residence permit on any basis;
- a foreigner that is granted a residence permit for settling permanently in Estonia;
- a foreigner that is granted a residence permit for working in a start-up;
- a foreigner that is granted a residence permit for entrepreneurship related to a start-up;
- a foreigner that is granted a temporary residence permit for entrepreneurship as a big investor.
- a foreigner that classifies as a top specialist (main criteria is earning twice the average monthly salary in Estonia)
What to do if you are not on the list?
Discussions involving the Government and the Ministry of Interior continue in order to decide what is the best solution to this issue.
For instance, it is possible to use the short-term employment registration. A foreigner can work in Estonia for a short time (up to 270 days which is 9 months), if he/she legally resides in Estonia (either under a visa or visa-free basis, depending of the country of origin of the foreigner) and the employment is registered with the Police and Border Guard Board.
If you have any questions about working in Estonia, feel free to contact us via
Updated August 2018