Ministry to introduce reverse burden of proof for foreign labor employers ({{commentsTotal}})

Minister of the Interior Mart Helme (EKRE).
Minister of the Interior Mart Helme (EKRE). Source: Government Office

The Ministry of the Interior has submitted for a round of approval legislative amendments with which it seeks to reduce the abuse of regulations concerning employment in Estonia. The state is also planning on implementing the reverse burden of proof, making employers responsible for following rules.

The amendments are intended to expand the obligations of companies actually using the workforce, implement the reverse burden of proof as well as extend the deadline for handling the registration of short-term work from 10 to 15 working days, the Ministry of the Interior said.

According to the amendment, a reverse burden of proof regulation is to be added to the Aliens Act which stipulates that, in conducting supervision regarding the circumstances surrounding a foreigner's stay, residence and employment in Estonia, as well as in the procedure for terminating or declaring invalid the legal basis for a foreigner's stay, residence and employment in Estonia, the employer, user company, receiving unit and foreigner will be obligated to prove that the foreigner's factual activity in working in Estonia corresponds with the content and purpose of the legal basis for working in Estonia.

"The legislative amendment will place the responsibility for the proper employment of a foreigner in Estonia on the employer, who is the one to actually benefit from it," Minister of the Interior Mart Helme (EKRE) said in a press release. "Entrepreneurs have the right to use foreign labor, but, by using some of the more favorable foreign labor opportunities provided for in the Aliens Act, they must be prepared to prove compliance with statutory conditions."

Currently, several companies utilizing foreign labor have established seeming compliance with the law in order to take advantage of more favorable conditions, such as by establishing a company in another EU member state.

According to the bill, if the actual employment of a foreigner does not correspond with their determined legal basis for employment in Estonia, the company actually using the workforce will be obligated to reformalize the foreigner's right to work in Estonia in accordance with the actual, correct legal basis. Should the company not fulfill this obligation, police will have the right to issue an order and impose a fine of up to €64,000. The amendment will allow for the more efficient direction of dishonest and scheming companies toward law-abiding behavior.

The amendments are scheduled to enter into effect on Dec. 15, allowing business-owners time to check whether the employment of foreigners working for them has been correctly formalized and whether employees have been paid correctly.

Amendments to the interior minister's regulation concerning the extension of the handling deadline and allowing the police to conduct more thorough procedures are to enter into force on Sept. 1.

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Editor: Aili Vahtla



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