Altogether 483 employees and 174 startup founders applied for spot on the startup visa program in 2018, the Baltic News Service reports. This is more than twice the number of applications received 2017.
The largest share of start-up visa applications submitted and satisfied were from India, Russia and Turkey, according to state-owned development fund Kredex. A start-up visa enables third-country citizens, ie citizens of countries outside the European Union, to work for start-up companies in Estonia, to relocate existing start-ups to Estonia or establish a new one here.
Among actual relocations of people and businesses, the leading countries are Ukraine, Brazil, Russia, the United States and India. Since the start-up visa program was established, 931 people have relocated or granted the right to do so within the framework of the program.
According to Maarika Truu, head of the state's Startup Estonia initiative, the success of the visa program shows that Estonian start-ups have a clear need for new employees.
"Considering that 2018 was a record year in terms of investments made into start-ups, it's obvious that this money is indeed used mainly to create new jobs that have high added value. It's important to see that the need isn't at all limited to IT developers. Fast-growing startups need marketers, sales talent, customer support people, designers and so on. The impact of these investments is clearly more broad-based," Ms Truu said.
The decision whether or not a company involved in an application is actually a start-up is with a special committee made up of seven organisations of the Estonian start-up community. More than 1,100 companies in more than 80 countries have applied for start-up status over the last two years, while the right to apply for a start-up visa has been granted to 411 of them so far.
Editor: Dario Cavegn