Estonia to max out 2018 immigration quota this month

Chinese passport. Photo is illustrative.
Chinese passport. Photo is illustrative. Source: (Stefano Relladini/Reuters/Scanpix)

This year's immigration quota will be maxed out by already submitted residence permit applications, which is why the Police and Border Guard Board (PPA) is recommending employers hiring specialists from third countries go the route of applying for a visa and registering short-term employment.

The immigration quota for 2018 is 1,315, and as of the beginning of April, 734 residence permits have already been issued to residents of third countries. As another 678 residence permit applications are already being processed, Estonia is set to max out its immigration quota for the year this month.

According to Liis Valk, chief expert at the PPA's Identity and Status Bureau, the number of applications received by the PPA already exceeds the current limit.

"Unfortunately, we will have to deny some residence permit applicants in connection with the immigration quota being filled," Valk explained. "We can recommend as a solution the registration of short-term employment; this provides the opportunity to work in Estonia for a period of nine months. The average Estonian wage requirement applies to short-term employment as well."

Last year, the annual immigration quota was maxed out in July; in 2016, it took until December to reach the limit.

"The immigration quota has been reached over the past two years, as the number of applicants for residence permits for employment in Estonia has grown," the PPA official noted. "It would be wise to reapply for a residency permit under next year's quota beginning in December, once the 2019 quota has been announced."

Quota does not impact all foreigners

This year's quota being filled does not affect those applying for residence permits related to studies in Estoni, nor does it affect EU citizens and their family members, U.S. citizens, or citizens of Japan.

Likewise not counted against the quota are individuals who are coming to Estonia to work in research, as teachers or in the IT field, those coming to work for a startup, plan on being involved in a startup in Estonia or are large investors.

The quota being reached also does not affect the residency permit applications of individuals moving to join a family member already living in Estonia.

Editor: Aili Vahtla

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