Helme disbands Interior Ministry immigration workgroup

Interior minister Mart Helme (EKRE).
Interior minister Mart Helme (EKRE). Source: Siim Lõvi/ERR

Minister of the Interior Mart Helme (EKRE) has signed a directive disbanding a workgroup formed at the Ministry of the Interior two years ago tasked with coming up with proposals for amendments to Estonia's immigration regulations.

In his directive, Helme referred to a decision adopted at a May 28 meeting introducing immigration topics as well as the fact that the workgroup had not reached a consensus on proposals it was to submit to the government by June 30, according to a Ministry of the Interior press release.

It was noted, however, that the immigration workgroup has previously submitted proposals to the government which have been taken into account. For example, beginning July 15, 2018, top-level specialists from third countries to earn a monthly salary of at least twice Estonia's national average wage — i.e. currently €2,620 — have been exempt from the annual quota.

The amendment takes into account Estonia's reception capacity as well as contributes to ensuring that top specialists who will contribute to the country's development will make it to Estonia.

The immigration workgroup was formed in summer 2017, with the goal of including various parties and experts in the regulation of immigration. At the time, its objective was to analyze various opportunities immigration has for supporting the needs of the Estonian state and society.

"A broad-based workgroup allows for all partners to work out proposals suitable for Estonia together that would ensure that we reach a solution that is smart, takes the needs of the labor market into acount and allows for flexible reactions to changing conditions," then-Minister of the Interior Andres Anvelt (SDE) said on June 29, 2017.

Anvelt noted at the time that the proposals submitted by the workgroup should form the basis for the government's future discussions.

Subject to Estonia's annual immigration quota are residence permits issued for employment and entrepreneurship as well as on the basis of international agreements. The limit of 0.1 percent of Estonia's population is based on the Aliens Act. Not subject to the quota are family migration, education-related migration, including researchers and teachers, employment in the ICT field, employment with startups, the founding of startups, large investors, or the renewal of existing residence permits. Likewise not subject to the quota are EU citizens and their family members, U.S. citizens or Japanese citizens.


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Editor: Aili Vahtla

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