According to an analysis conducted by Statistics Estonia and commissioned by the Estonian Education and Youth Board, international students and graduates contributed a total of €22.4 million in taxes to the Estonian economy during the 2021/22 academic year.
International students contributed €14 million in taxes to the Estonian economy during the 2021/22 academic year. International graduates, who have stayed in Estonia after completing their studies, paid over €8 million in taxes during the same period.
In recent years, there has been a considerable rise in the number of international students, who opt to stay and work in Estonia after graduating. The majority of these graduates take up employment in Tallinn.
Data scientist at Statistics Estonia Kadri Rootalu, who conducted the analysis, said, that slightly more than half of international students, (around 2,400) did paid work in Estonia for at least one day in the last academic year. "It should also be pointed out, that international students do not (do paid) work for just a few days a year. Both local and international students, who work, are usually employed for longer periods. That is, for more than 90 days," explained Rootalu.
The analysis provides information on tax contributions made by international students and graduates based on income and social tax receipt data. In the 2021/22 academic year, international students and graduates contributed a total of €22.4 million to the Estonian economy.
International students paid €9.4 million in social tax and €4.6 million in income tax. Students who graduated in the academic year 2020/21 and stayed to work in Estonia contributed a total of €8.4 million in labor taxes.
The group of international students most likely to do paid work during the time of their studies, are those in the fields of information and communication technologies (ICT), engineering, manufacturing, construction, business, administration and law. For example, during the 2021/22 academic year, three quarters of international ICT students also did paid work to support their studies.
The study also analyzed the tax contributions of international students, who have already graduated from Estonian universities. The results indicate that the proportion of international graduates, who stay and work in Estonia has increased significantly in recent years. The majority of international graduates, who stay in Estonia, work in Tallinn-based enterprises.
Eero Loonurm, head of the Study in Estonia program at the Estonian Education and Youth Board, said that the economic contribution of international graduates in Estonia is increasing steadily each year. "One of our aims has been to have more motivated international graduates, who stay in Estonia after graduation and offer their expertise on the Estonian labor market. However, the state should also try to find ways to ensure all Estonia's counties benefit from the contributions of international graduates. The analysis clearly shows that, at the moment, it is predominantly enterprises in Tallinn and Harju County, which are benefitting from having international graduates," added Loonurm.
The full report (in Estonian) can be read here, including a summary on pages 56–58 in English.
Editor: Michael Cole