International students, graduates paid over €13 million in tax in 2019/2020

Students at the University of Tartu. Source: Andres Tennus/Tartu ülikool

Working international students and graduates paid more than €13 million in tax during the academic year 2019/2020, an analysis by Statistics Estonia shows.

The statistics agency's research, carried out on behalf of the Estonian Education and Youth Authority, showed international students paid €10 million in income and social tax in Estonia and international graduates more than €3 million.

In the academic year 2019/2020, there were 5,520 international degree students studying in Estonian universities, which is the highest number ever.

Data scientist at Statistics Estonia Kadri Rootalu said the analysis showed that international students did not work as often as local students.

"While 84 percent of local students worked alongside studying, only half of international students did. Income and social tax paid for working international students in the academic year 2019/2020 amounted to €10 million, which is €2 million more than the year before. International students who graduated in the academic year 2018/2019 contributed an additional €3.6 million in taxes," said Rootalu.

Share of working international students and graduates in Estonia in the academic year 2019/2020. Source: Statistics Estonia

Eero Loonurm, head of the Study in Estonia program at the Education and Youth Authority, said the contribution of international students to the Estonian economy outweighs state investments in their studies.

"In addition to international students and graduates participating in the labor market and the resulting tax revenue, their studies in Estonia also mean tuition, living costs and visits to Estonia by their families," added Loonurm.

He noted that the International Student Barometer study of the international research center i-graduate showed that the expenditures of international students on just housing and daily life totaled around €33 million in the last academic year.

More information is available on the Statistics Estonia blog here in Estonian.


1) Half of the international students in Estonia work alongside studying, compared to more than 80 percent of local students.

2) The share of international students who worked during their studies in the academic year 2019/2020 was slightly smaller than the year before.

3) International students studying information and communication technologies; engineering, manufacturing and construction; and business, administration and law are most likely to work while studying. Around two thirds of international students studying ICT worked alongside studying in the academic year 2019/2020.

4) Graduates of ICT and engineering, manufacturing and construction are also more likely to stay and work in Estonia after graduation.

5) Students of agriculture and health and welfare are least likely to work and study.

6) In the academic year 2019/2020, it was most common for international students to work in the information and communication, accommodation and food service activities and education sectors.

7) International graduates contributed the most to information and communication enterprises, followed by manufacturing and financial, and insurance enterprises.

8) International students are more likely to work in foreign-owned enterprises than local students.

9) During the emergency situation last spring, international students were more likely than local students to lose their jobs.

10 In the academic year 2019/2020, international students paid €3.1 million in income tax and €7 million in social tax in Estonia.

11) In the academic year 2019/2020, international students who graduated in the academic year 2018/2019 paid €1.2 million in income tax and €2.4 million in social tax in Estonia.


Follow ERR News on Facebook and Twitter and never miss an update!

Editor: Helen Wright

Hea lugeja, näeme et kasutate vanemat brauseri versiooni või vähelevinud brauserit.

Parema ja terviklikuma kasutajakogemuse tagamiseks soovitame alla laadida uusim versioon mõnest meie toetatud brauserist: