Though it is only March, Estonia is already about to reach its 2018 quota of 1,315 third-country work and economic immigrants. 592 residency permits have already been issued, another 700 applications are currently being processed, the Ministry of the Interior reported on Friday.
The ministry cautioned potential applicants that they should first inquire with the Police and Border Guard Board (PPA) if there is a chance at all to get accepted before they go through the application process.
The ministry's designated immigration regulation work group made proposals at the end of last year to resolve some of the problems caused by the quota limits.
"Setting out work migration policy we have to think long-term, and alleviate all of the risks so that our own labor force wouldn't suffer from any of the steps taken," Minister of the Interior Andres Anvelt (SDE) said. He added that the current regulation is 25 years old, and that only initial work has been done to overhaul it. "The work group continues to look for long-term solutions for the labor market and the economy," Anvelt said.
Out of the proposals made, the government so far supports excluding all those from the quota looking at an employment contract over at least twice the average salary. Also, the government has spoken out in favor of extending limited-term work permits.
Taking recent statistics into account, the number of specialists paid well enough to be excluded from the quota might reach some 300 over the course of the year. The planned extension of limited-term permits from nine to 12 months will work towards solving some of the problems with project-based employment, the government thinks.
The changes are expected to enter into effect within the next six months.
The Estonian immigration quota for third-country citizens affects all those who would like to come here for work, to do business, or have the option to apply for a limited-term work permit in the context of an international agreement.
Their number is regulated in the Aliens Act and cannot go beyond 0.1 percent of the total population of Estonia at the beginning of any given year.
Excluded from the quota are the subsequent immigration of family members, studying in Estonia, prospective employees in the IT and communications sector, prospective employees of start-up companies, investors, and extended residency permits.
Editor: Dario Cavegn