As of the end of 2018, a total of 1,300 residence permit applications had been received for purposes of employment and enterprise in Estonia. Combined with the applications received on Wednesday, the number of applications currently being processed by the Police and Border Guard Board (PPA) already exceeds the entire 2019 immigration quota of 1,315.
The PPA began accepting applications last month for residence permits to be granted in 2019, and within the first few weeks, over 1,000 applications had already been submitted, according to a PPA press release. By 31 December, this total had swollen to 1,300, and by 2 January, the immigration quota for the year had already been exceeded.
Liis Valk, adviser-expert at the PPA's Identity and Status Bureau, noted that despite the fact that some of the applications currently being processed will be rejected, the quota will nonetheless still most likely be maxed out right at the beginning of the year.
"The police will decide on each application according to the order in which the documents were received until the immigration quota is reaached," she explained. "All remaining applications will then be rejected, and it will not be possible to submit any further applications this year."
According to Ms Valk, the police will also notify employers directly once the quota has been reached for the year. "We will send a newsletter to businesses that have previously expressed interest in recruiting foreigners," she said. "In addition to employment under a residence permit, it is also possible to employ foreigners on a short-term basis on the basis of a visa. Employers should register such employment with the PPA. No separate approval by the PPA is required for enterprise in Estonia on the basis of a visa."
Those applying for residence permits for the purposes of study, EU citizens and their family members, and US and Japanese citizens do not fall under the limitations of the annual immigration quota. Likewise unaffected by the quota are those coming to Estonia to work in research, as teachers or in the ICT field, top specialists, or those coming to work for or launch a startup or are large investors. The immigration quota will also not affect those applying to come to live with family in Estonia.
Editor: Aili Vahtla