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State launches program to bring 2,000 foreign ICT specialists to Estonia

South Korean cybersecurity specialists. Photo is illustrative.
South Korean cybersecurity specialists. Photo is illustrative. Source: Lee Sang-hak/Yonhap/Reuters/Scanpix

Minister of Entrepreneurship and Information Technology Urve Palo (SDE) signed the terms of a support program for bringing 2,000 foreign information and communications technology (ICT) specialists to Estonia via a €4 million program.

The €4 million program is part of the Work in Estonia project and aims to support Estonian employers with the additional expenses involved in the recruitment of the foreign specialists they need.

"The Estonian ICT sector is short approximately 7,000 specialists," Palo said in a press release on Friday, noting that the country has created opportunities for youth interested in the field to study ICT in vocational schools and universities alike and adding that several ongoing programs exist for ICT skills retraining for adults.

"However, workforce shortage in Estonian companies is so great that not enough Estonians have been found who would like to work in the digital field specifically," she continued. "In a situation in which some entrepreneurs say the workforce shortage is hindering further growth, we on behalf of the state want to support bringing foreign specialists to Estonia."

Support aimed at those recruited from abroad

In order for a business to qualify for the foreign recruitment support, the ICT sector employee must have been paying taxes in Estonia for a period of at least five months. The aim is to cover expenses incurred by employers in recruiting new employees, which is why the specialist to receive the support must not have previously studied or worked in Estonia during the last three years.

"The support program is open to all employers who need people with ICT skills," the minister said. "However, it is important to note that the foreign recruitment support is an investment on the part of the state which we will earn back to the state treasury from taxes from each recruited specialist within a minimum of two months. Therefore, the gross [monthly] salary of the recipient of support must be at least €2,000."

The foreign recruitment support is part of the Work in Estonia project. Altogether €4 million for a period of three years have been allocated for the support, financed from the assets of the ICT development program. The objective of the ICT development program is to solve various problems of the Estonian digital sector, including offering integration services to foreign specialists, support the digitalization of industry and better utilize a data-driven approach in developing products and services.

Employers can begin applying for ICT specialist foreign recruitment support from Enterprise Estonia within the month of May.

Editor: Aili Vahtla

Source: BNS

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