President signs off on Aliens Act amendments second time round

President Alar Karis.
President Alar Karis. Source: Siim Lõvi /ERR

President Alar Karis has given his assent to legislative amendments governing work and migration into Estonia from outside the European Union, at the second attempt.

Last month, the president returned the amended Aliens Act to the Riigikogu unsigned, citing procedural violations by the legislature. The act, issued in response to the arrival of Ukrainian war refugees in Estonia and the need to integrate them into the labor market, is unchanged in its original form as passed by the Riigikogu.

The act amends the Aliens Act and also the Act on Granting International Protection to Aliens, to introduce more flexible labor migration rules for third-country – essentially non-EU/EEA – nationals, and also the conditions regarding their stay and any study activity in Estonia.

The amendments passed at the Riigikogu on April 11, but the president's office announced that parliament had broken procedural rules in making significant changes between the second and third readings of the bill.

At that stage in the process, the only amendments permitted are minor, but essential corrections such as regarding typos or citations.

However, between Riigikogu readings two and three of the Aliens Act, the term "spouse" was amended to "close relative" - deemed a substantial amendment rather than a correction.

On Tuesday, the bill passed its additional reading unamended after the president had returned it to parliament, with 47 MPs in favor at the 101-seat Riigikogu, 33 opposed and 13 abstentions.


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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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