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Immigration quota for the year to be reached in June

Minister of the Interior Andres Anvelt and Director General of the PPA Elmar Vaher.
Minister of the Interior Andres Anvelt and Director General of the PPA Elmar Vaher. Source: (Siim Lõvi/ERR)

Estonia's annual immigration quota, which regulates temporary residence permits for enterprise and employment-based immigration from third countries, is on track to be reached this summer already.

This year's immigration quota is 1,317 people. As the Police and Border Guard Board (PPA) has issued 893 residence permits within the year's immigration quota and another 320 applications are currently being pricessed, the immigration quota will be reached this summer, after which no more applications will likely be accepted, likely as of the end of June, according to a Ministry of the Interior press release.

The ministry has analyzed different options for changing the immigration quota regulation and presented the results of the analysis to the government. "The immigration quota has been applied in Estonian migration policy since 1990 already and by today it has clearly become obsolete," commented Minister of the Interior Andres Anvelt (SDE). "In the coming weeks, the government must make a decision on the establishment of a broad-based work group in order to involve all cooperation partners in developing proposals suitable for Estonia and which the Government can then take forward. We need to find a smart solution that would take into account the needs of the labor market and allow us to flexibly respond to changing circumstances."

Upon the fulfilment of the immigration quota, foreign specialists can use the registration of short-term employment as an interim solution. A foreigner who has a legal basis for temporary stay in Estonia and whose employment has been registered with the Police and Border Guard Board prior to beginning work may be employed in Estonia for a brief period of time without a residence permit. Short-term employment in Estonia may last up to nine months during one year. The registration of short-term employment can be applied for by the employer in person, via an authorized representative at a service office, by mail or via email.

Estonia's annual immigration quota includes temporary residence permits issued for employment or business and under an international agreement. The quota of 0.1 percent of the permanent population of Estonia derives from the Aliens Act. The quota does not include family migration, migration for studies (including researchers and teaching staff), commencement of employment in ICT or in a start-up, foundation of a start-up, acting as a major investor, and extensions of residence permits. The quota also does not include citizens of the EU and their family members as well as the citizens of the U.S. and Japan. Thus, such will still be able to settle in Estonia even after the immigration quota is reached.

Every year, more than 6,500 foreigners come to live in Estonia, just under half of whom are utilizing the right of free movement of persons or are EU or Swiss citizens. People from third countries come to Estonia to study or work or accompany their family under a temporary residence permit.

Editor: Aili Vahtla

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