Foreign labor controls in omnibus bill too rigid and political, say critics

A Riigikogu sitting.
A Riigikogu sitting. Source: Priit Mürk/ERR

An omnibus bill currently under consideration in the Riigikogu includes several proposed amendments involving foreigners in Estonia to draw criticism from the Chancellor of Justice Ülle Madise as well as the Constitutional Committee of the Riigikogu, online news portal Delfi writes.

Both the Constitutional Committee and the chancellor of justice find that several sections in the bill aren't directly connected to resolving issues related to the ongoing emergency situation, with the justice chancellor noting that foreigners' rights to enter the country are already restricted under the emergency situation, due to which it isn't possible to implement several legal provisions that regulate foreign labor in Estonia, Delfi writes (link in Estonian).

The Constitutional Committee finds that a provision in the bill regulating the registration of short-term foreign labor in Estonia is too strict, unrelated to the emergency situation and rather political in nature, due to which it should be left out of the bill altogether.

According to the current wording of the bill, as proposed by the Estonian government, a foreigner's right to remain on Estonian territory should be terminated prematurely in the event that a foreigner's employment contract "ends or has ended" — wording that prompted Center MP Oudekki Loone to express concerns that this could allow for foreigners who have come to Estonia to work to be expelled from the country immediately upon losing their jobs, leaving foreign employees in a weaker position to negotiate employment, which in turn could undermine the interests of all employees in Estonia.

Loone proposed adding a 30-day stipulation in which time a foreign employee can sign a new employment contract, otherwise the current wording leaves foreign labor open to becoming the target of corruption, as the lack of definition would leave the law up to the interpretation of officials.


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Editor: Aili Vahtla

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