Largest number of foreign students in Estonia come from Russia and Nigeria

Foreign students in Estonia.
Foreign students in Estonia. Source: Siim Lõvi /ERR

According to the Ministry of Internal Affairs, most foreign students who come to Estonian universities from outside the EU hail from Russia, Nigeria and Ukraine.

Statistics for 2015-2019 show the University of Tartu (Tartu ülikool) sees the highest number of third-country students coming from Russia (257), followed by Ukrainian (213)  and Azeri students (118).

Tallinn University of Technology (TalTech / Tallinna tehnikaülikool) has the highest representation of third country students from Nigerians (207), followed by students from India (168) and Bangladesh (124).

There are over a hundred non-EU students from Nigeria at Tallinn University (Tallinna ülikool).

The Estonian Entrepreneurship University of Applied Sciences (Eesti ettevõtluskool Mainor), often known informally as the Mainor school, sees the highest number of non-EU foreign students coming from Bangladesh (117).

The number of students from third countries at the Estonian Academy of Music and Theate (Eesti muusika- ja teatriakadeemia) is smaller, and also from a different set of countries; Chinese (63)  and Korean (55) students are the most represented here.

In December, the interior ministry sent a draft amendment to the Aliens Act aimed at restricting the opportunities for foreigners and short-term workers studying in Estonia to bring their children to Estonia, and to prohibit foreign students from working more than 16 hours a week.

The stated purpose of the amendment is to ensure that only those foreigners who provide significant added value to Estonian society and its economy remain in Estonia after their studies. It also seeks to prevent situations where the purpose of studying abroad is not to acquire an education, but to enter the Schengen area and settle in Estonia or elsewhere in the EU, permanently.


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Editor: Roberta Vaino

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