Coming from a third country to work in Estonia
- Short-term employment must be registered with the Police and Border Guard Board
- The person must have a legal basis for a stay in the country (for example, a visa)
- Employees posted to Estonia must be registered with the Labour Inspectorate
Coming from abroad to work in Estonia
The entry of aliens into Estonia and their rights and obligations while living, staying, or working in Estonia are regulated by the Aliens Act. This does not apply to the citizens and the family members of the citizens of the member states of the European Union, the European Economic Area or the Swiss Confederation, who have a legal right of stay or residence in Estonia for the purposes of the Citizen of the European Union Act.
If the purpose of an alien’s stay in Estonia (except for citizens of a Member State of the European Union, a member state of the European Economic Area, or the Swiss Confederation) is to work here, their employment must be previously registered with the Police and Border Guard Board and the person must have a legal basis for a stay in the country (for example, a visa, a visa exemption, or a residence permit).
Migration consultant of the Police and Border Guard Board
Presented below is the information on working on a general basis, which has been prepared by the Police and Border Guard Board. Please contact the Police and Border Guard Board if you have additional questions or if you wish to learn more about detailed conditions of a specific occupation or employment. You can submit your questions by email to [email protected] or via telephone at +372 612 3500, Mon–Fri 9:00–15:00 (Estonian time). Information about the service can be found online here, in English here and in Russian here.
Registration with the Police and Border Guard Board
An alien who is legally staying in Estonia temporarily (for example, on the basis of a visa or a visa exemption), and whose employment has been registered with the Police and Border Guard Board before the start of the employment, may work in Estonia for a short period of time. Short-term employment can be registered for up to 365 days in a 455-day period. Short-term seasonal employment can be registered for up to 270 days in one year.
Additional information on the registration of temporary employment can be found on the official website of Estonian Police and Border Guard Board.
Registration with the Labour Inspectorate
The Labour Inspectorate notes that the registration of short-term employment in the online environment of the Police and Border Guard Board does not exempt the external service provider from fulfilling its obligations to the Labour Inspectorate. If workers arrive in Estonia from a third country and are posted to work in Estonia through another EU Member State, the foreign employer is obliged to register the workers with the Labour Inspectorate.
Pursuant to § 5¹ of the Working Conditions of Employees Posted to Estonia Act, employees posted to Estonia must be registered with the Labour Inspectorate. The employer of the workers posted to Estonia must register the workers before the de facto start of the employment in Estonia. Registration requires the submission of a posting notice in the self-service of the Labour Inspectorate (TEIS) at iseteenindus.ti.ee. Should any data change, the previously submitted posting notice can be changed in the self-service before the changes enter into force.
The following data must be submitted to the Labour Inspectorate:
- the name, personal identification code or registry code, area of activity, details of residence or location and means of communication of the employer of the posted employee;
- the name and details of the means of communication of the contact person who represents the employer of the posted employee;
- the number of posted employees, their names and personal identification codes or dates of birth and numbers of their identity documents;
- the expected duration of the posting and the scheduled start date and end date;
- the name, personal identification code or registry code, area of activity, details of residence or location and means of communication of the contracting entity or contracting authority for whom the posted employee works in Estonia;
- the name and details of the means of communication of the contact person who represents the contracting entity or contracting authority for whom the posted employee works in Estonia;
- information regarding the area of activity in which the posted employee will be working in Estonia, and the address of the place in which the posted employee will perform the work.
Failure to notify of a worker posted to Estonia is punishable by the Labour Inspectorate by up to 300 fine units on a natural person and up to 32,000 euros on a legal person under § 93 in the Working Conditions of Employees Posted to Estonia Act.
Pursuant to subsection 6 of § 51 of the Working Conditions of Employees Posted to Estonia Act, the Labour Inspectorate has the right to disclose personal data submitted to the Labour Inspectorate to ensure the performance of tasks assigned to the Tax and Customs Board by tax laws.
Example: If an employee from Ukraine is working for a Polish employer under the basis of a residence permit or visa, and the Polish employer posts this employee to Estonia to provide services, then the Polish employer must register the short-term employment of the employee hailing from Ukraine with the Estonian Police and Border Guard Board and, prior to the start of the employment, submit information regarding the posting of the employee to the Labour Inspectorate.
In order to live and work in Estonia for longer than one year, it is possible to apply for a temporary residence permit. According to the Aliens Act, an alien may be issued a residence permit for employment. This residence permit is intended for someone to come to Estonia to work for a specific employer. Before the alien can apply for a residence permit for employment from the Police and Border Guard Board, the employer must, in most cases, have permission from the Unemployment Insurance Fund to employ the alien.
Further information can be found on the official website of the Estonian Unemployment Insurance Fund.
A residence permit for working can already be applied for before travelling to Estonia at an Estonian foreign mission where visa applications are processed. While in Estonia, it is possible to submit an application for a residence permit to the Police and Border Guard Board. It is necessary to book an appointment in the reservation system and come to the office at the reserved time to submit the application. The application must be submitted in person and cannot be submitted through a representative. A residence permit is initially issued for up to 5 years.
When applying, the following documents must be submitted:
- Application for a temporary residence permit, when applying for a temporary residence permit;
- Data on close relatives and family members;
- an identity document;
- 1 colour photo;
- a document certifying payment of the state fee.
The employer must submit the following documents to the Police and Border Guard Board by email ([email protected]) or by post (Pärnu mnt 139, 15060 Tallinn):
- Consent of the Estonian Unemployment Insurance Fund for employing an alien;
- The employer’s invitation.
More information can be found on the website of the Police and Border Guard Board.
Important to remember & Further reading
The general terms and conditions of the residence permit must be fulfilled throughout the entire period of validity of the residence permit:
- Justification for the reason for settling in Estonia. The purpose of a temporary residence permit for work is to come to Estonia to work in a specific company, and this purpose must be fulfilled during the entire period of validity of the residence permit. The alien is required to work for the given company;
- Actual place of residence in Estonia. After receiving the residence permit, the alien is required to register their place of residence in the Estonian Population Register (if the residence permit has been received while abroad, within 1 month as of the first arrival in the country on the basis of the residence permit);
- Sufficient legal income, which allows for the subsistence of the alien and their family members in Estonia. The alien must have an income for the duration of the residence permit, which ensures their subsistence in Estonia.
- Insurance cover (a medical expenses insurance contract or state health insurance).
Failure to comply with even one of these general conditions is grounds for withdrawal of the residence permit.
- Registration of third-country workers with the Labour Inspectorate
- Registration of short-term employment. Police and Border Guard Board
- Residence permit for employment. Police and Border Guard Board
- Working in Estonia. Police and Border Guard Board
- New in Estonia – free state-provided training and information materials