Estonia has passed several amendments to the country’s main immigration law, the Aliens Act. The new provisions took effect July 15.

Key points:

  • Foreign specialists earning twice the national gross average wage are exempt from quotas. The average gross monthly wage in the first quarter of 2018 was 1,242 euros.
  • Short-term work permits have been lengthened to one year, an increase from the previous duration of nine months.
  • Non-EU nationals applying for initial residency or renewing their residency will be required to demonstrate Estonian language proficiency of A2 level as required for third-country nationals under the Common European Framework, and will be tested five years after residing in Estonia.
  • The maximum fine on employers hiring foreign workers illegally increases by 10 times, from 3,200 euros to 32,000 euros.
  • The framework is being created for the launch of the “digital nomad” visa in 2019 for foreign employees whose work is not location-specific and who can telecommute from Estonia.

BAL Analysis: The changes provide more flexibility for companies sending foreign employees to Estonia on short-term assignments and for higher-earning foreign specialists, but also impose new language requirements on non-EU nationals and steeper penalties on employers who violate immigration laws.  

This alert has been provided by the BAL Global Practice group and our network provider located in Estonia. For additional information, please contact your BAL attorney.

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