The Police and Border Guard Board (PPA) has reminded foreigners arriving in Estonia for work and their employers that employees must be registered and have a valid place to stay in Estonia already before their arrival here.
Margo Peters, head of the border and migration service at the West Prefecture of the Police and Border Guard Board, said that almost every week the police find foreigners who have arrived in Estonia for employment, whose employment in Estonia has not been registered or whose bases for stay in Estonia have expired.
The official said that pursuant to a regulation of the government issued to prevent a new outbreak of coronavirus, employees must be registered before they arrive in Estonia for employment.
Employers must also register their employees also they are posted workers, such as in a situation where an Ukrainian national working at a Polish company arrives in Estonia for work.
There are also situations where foreigners already working in Estonia forward employment offers to friends at home, who arrive in Estonia without first making sure that the employment offer and the job are official.
"So it may happen that after arrival in Estonia, the person finds out that they have no work or they will experience problems related to stay in the country. When a job offer exists and the name of the employer is known, it's very important to ask for an employment contract in writing so that the employee would have information concerning the job in a format which can be reproduced. That may be necessary also in the event of subsequent disputes," Peters said.
The right to visa-free stay in the Schengen area, including Estonia, is generally valid for 90 days within any 180-day period and includes the amount of time spent in another country of the Schengen area, such as Poland.
Peters said that many foreigners working in the region tend to believe that the period of visa-free stay starts again when entering a different country of the Schengen area, or they fail to check for the date of expiry of their visa.
People arriving in Estonia for employment also must observe the self-isolation requirement.
"Even if the coronavirus test taken at home is negative, the person arriving in Estonia may come into contact with an infected person while en route. Therefore it is very important to test again when in Estonia and to avoid contact with other people until the result of the test is received," he said.
Each employer and business, but also the person themselves, can check the lawfulness of a person's employment in Estonia via the police website at politsei.ee . The online address to check the lawfulness of the short-term employment of a foreign national is https://www2.politsei.ee/et/teenused/e-paringud/luhiajalise-eestis-tootamise-registreerimise-kontroll.dot.
The period of visa-free stay in the Schengen territory can be checked here.
During 2018, Estonian police found 1,023 people to be staying in Estonia illegally. The number of such people detected by the police was 1,372 last year and 842 in the first 10 months of 2020.
Editor: Helen Wright