PPA: Issuing residence permits should not depend on speed and luck

PPA's Tammsaare service office in Mustamäe, Tallinn.
PPA's Tammsaare service office in Mustamäe, Tallinn. Source: (Sander Ilvest/Postimees/Scanpix)

The Police and Border Guard Board (PPA) want a different want to allocate residents permits to foreign workers. The agency believes it should not "depend on speed and luck" as it currently does.

Estonia's number of residence permits for foreigners is limited to 1,315 which is 0.1 percent of the permanent population of Estonia.

While there are exceptions, with IT workers, lecturers and start-up workers not counted within the quota, there are many more applicants than permits every year.

To apply for a permit a time must be booked with the PPA and those times disappear in seconds, said Liis Valk, adviser at the Identity and Status Bureau of the Police and Border Guard Board. Permits are often given out on a first come, first served basis.

Valk said there should be a better way to handle this process that gives the state the ability to choose who these permits are given to.

The PPA has also noticed that many people who receive a residence permit may not actually need it. A visa and a short-term work permit would be just as useful.

"For example, in 2019 and 2020, more than 400 people who received a residence permit on the basis of the quota no longer have a valid residence permit today. And the reason is that their employment contract ended," Valk said.

The PPA has written to the Ministry of the Interior about potential changes for short and long-term workers.

Ruth Annus, head of the Department of Citizenship and Migration Policy of the Ministry of the Interior, said this year the immigration quota has its own categories. 

Twenty-five permits have been allocated for performance institutions, 24 for athletes and coaches and five people on the basis of international agreements.

This means there are 1,261 residence permits for so-called free distribution. Annus said the draft limit for next year will soon reach the approval round.

"If necessary, each sectoral ministry can also make proposals to the Ministry of the Interior regarding the distribution of the quota number," she said.

Marko Udras, Head of the Policy and Legal Department of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry, sees no point in having a limit.

"No matter how we distribute these residence permits, this number will still be 1,300. At the same time, the demand is many times higher," Udras noted. 

The Chamber of Commerce and Industry has already proposed that foreigners who are accepted by a reliable employer in Estonia should also be excluded from the quota. 


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: