170 Ukrainian migrant workers arrived in Tallinn on a special flight organized by the Estonian Chamber of Agriculture and Commerce (EPKK) on Tuesday afternoon.
"Aktuaalne kaamera" (AK) reported on Tuesday the migrant workers were tested for coronavirus on the plane and are required to spend the next two weeks in quarantine.
The flight was funded by employers and most of the employees will work in the livestock or agriculture work sectors.
Vahur Tõnissoo, a member of the board of the Estonian Chamber of Agriculture and Commerce, said the flight had to be organized as there are currently no regular flights between Estonia and Ukraine.
Airlines will schedule regular flights from the end of July which would have been too late for the migrant workers as their work permits, which were issued and extended in the spring, expire in July. The quarantine requirement does not allow new employees to start working immediately.
Tõnissoo told AK: "It will certainly help us a lot because we have been looking for employees in Estonia for these jobs for four months. Estonian people are not keen on working in the barn to milk the cows, they are not interested in coming to the fields to pick berries. As a result of that, we do not have any other choices other than to bring workers from outside Estonia, such as Ukraine."
Dmitri, an employee from Ukraine, said his employer will pay his salary during the quarantine period and for his accommodation. He told AK: "We do not have to pay for anything, the employer pays for everything as it states that on the contract. The initial flight was in April, tickets were bought in March. After we had purchased the tickets, they introduced the emergency situation and we had to put [everything] on hold. We have been waiting to come here and now we will see what will happen."
Ministry of Rural Affairs Arvo Aller (EKRE) said jobs in the countryside should be taken by locals. He does not approve of the special flight, stating that air traffic has returned to normal and there is no need to make special flights.
Editor: Katriin Eikin Sein