Number of residence permits submitted exceeds 2020 immigration quota

Estonian Visa in a Ukrainian passport.
Estonian Visa in a Ukrainian passport. Source: Toomas Huik/Eesti Meedia/Scanpix

The Police and Border Guard Board received 1,378 applications for residence permits for employment and enterprise in Estonia by the beginning of 2020 - 120 more than the immigration quota for the year.

As of January 6, the Police and Border Guard Board and Estonian embassies had received 1,378 applications for temporary residence permits for employment and enterprise in Estonia. This is 120 applications more than the number of permits that can be granted on the basis of the immigration quota.

Liis Valk, adviser-expert at the office of status and identity at the Police and Border Guard Board, said that the police will make decisions regarding the applications in the order in which the documents are presented until the immigration quota has been filled.

"All applications exceeding the quota will be refused and residence permits for employment or enterprise will not be granted. Resident permit applications can still be submitted by athletes and creative workers as well as on the basis of an international agreement, as the quota for these has not been exhausted yet," she added.

Valk said the police will also inform employers directly via a mailing list that the immigration quota has been filled. "We will be sending a newsletter to companies that have requested to join the Police and Border Guard Board's migration advisers mailing list. Fulfilment of the quota does not prevent short-time employment in Estonia on the basis of a visa. Short-term employment is possible if the employer previously registers it on the Police and Border Guard Board website People can also be involved in enterprise in Estonia while here on the basis of a visa and no separate permit issued by the Police and Border Guard Board is needed for this," Valk said.

The Estonian government has endorsed the immigration quota for 2020 at 1,314 people. Of the quota for 2020, 28 spots have been reserved for creative workers, 18 for athletes, coaches, referees and sports officials, and 10 for foreigners arriving in Estonia under an international agreement. The remaining 1,258 spots are available to foreigners arriving in Estonia for employment in other fields.

The immigration quota mainly regulates employment and business related migration from third countries. Included in the immigration quota are temporary residence permits issued for employment, entrepreneurship and on the basis of an international agreement.

Not included in the immigration quota are citizens of member states of the European Union and the European Economic Area (EEA), Switzerland, the United States and Japan.

The quota also does not include foreigners moving to Estonia to live with a spouse or close relative, or to study, work as a lecturer or do research in the country.

Also not included in immigration quota are people who are issued residence permits for permanent residence in Estonia, major investors, startup entrepreneurs and information and communications technology (ICT) employees and top specialists.

The immigration quota for both 2018 and 2019 was 1,315 people. In 2018, the quota was exhausted in the first half of the year, and in 2019, the quota was filled at the beginning of the year.


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Editor: Helen Wright

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