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Interest in coming to Estonia and finding work growing in Russia

Narva border crossing.
Narva border crossing. Source: Sergei Stepanov/ERR

During a time when thousands of Russians are leaving their country with a one-way ticket, interest in working at Estonian IT companies has also grown.

Hanno Ahonen heads jobs agency MoveMyTalent and has been kept busy lately. Interest in coming to Estonia from Russia has spiked.

"The interest has exploded. Those with the means are trying to leave Russia as quickly as they can. I have 48 people on the waiting list," Ahonen said.

Software house Pipedrive has also noticed Russian engineers' newfound interest in working in Estonia.

"The trend is quite clear. The number of applications we receive has grown roughly fourfold. People are actively looking for a place to live and work outside Russia," Pipedrive CFO Agur Jõgi said.

Estimates suggests around 100,000-200,000 people have left Russia in the last two weeks. This interest in emigration is reflected in Google Search statistics and lively discussions on social media concerning ways to leave the country. Leaving Russia might not be a simple affair, even if one's travel documents are in order.

We have been told that people can have their phones confiscated and examined. People have also asked for the contract in Russia, during the weekend. Sometimes, for it to be notarized, which is highly unusual," Ahonen said.

The European Union has closed its airspace to Russian aircraft. Estonian coach operator Lux Express reported double passenger figures from St. Petersburg starting a fortnight ago.

"It is still 60 percent coming this way and 40 percent going that way. Most are one-way tickets. We have seen a lot of curious traffic – people coming with five suitcases, while one person who said they would be staying had a stove with them," Rait Remmel, head of international business for Lux Express, said.

Wealthier Russians are attempting to charter private flights from European companies in an attempt to bypass restrictions. Tallinn Airport is seeing more requests than previously to accommodate such flights.

"We have a process for handling such requests with the Transport Authority and law enforcement. We refuse most such flights on security considerations these days," Tallinn Airport CFO Eero Pärgmäe said.


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Editor: Marcus Turovski

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