Recruitment from abroad

Thanks to the free movement of labour in the European Economic Area, recruitment from other EEA countries has become increasingly popular. The international work environment may confer an advantage when you launch export activity or it may be a positive impetus for existing export activities.

Recruitment of workforce from third countries is a more complicated process. The following subsections will help you find information.

Where to find employees?

When recruiting workforce from within the EEA, you might start by visiting the EURES European job mobility portal. There you can contact a consultant and receive personal advice from a consultant, which will ensure that you get a suitable solution. You are eligible to use the free services available on the EURES portal if your company is located in one of the EEA states or Switzerland and has a valid VAT payer number.

One way of finding personnel who correspond to a suitable profile is to use the services of companies that offer personnel search. With the help of AIESEC you can find ambitious and motivated recent graduates and young specialists from abroad to work with you. AIESEC will deal with all the migration documents and the integration to Estonian society.

The Work in Estonia program, led by Enterprise Estonia, has been an important resource for both companies looking to hire specialists from abroad and international talents looking to relocate to Estonia for working purposes through the Work in Estonia website. For companies, the site aims at gathering and centralizing all available information and materials that are needed to hire foreign specialists - including a simple step-by-step guide to help them guide to the process - as well as being a platform to introduce all job offers available to international talents. To international talents, they can explore the possibilities Estonia has to offer to them - all in one place. For more information, you can write to

Residence permit

Citizens of the European Union and their family members do not require a residence permit. They can register their right to residence. To do so, the address information for their place of residence is to be submitted to the local government of the location of their place of residence.

If the person submitting the data is not the owner of the dwelling listed, a copy of the lease or a notice of residence signed by the owner must be submitted. The notice of residence may be submitted in writing in person to the local government, by sending a digitally signed e-mail, or via the state portal.

Third-country nationals must seek a residence permit in order to work in Estonia. Before the alien can apply for the residence permit for employment from the Police and Border Guard Board, the employer must have, in general, the permission of the Estonian Unemployment Insurance Fund for employing an alien.

The Estonian Unemployment Insurance Fund shall grant a permit for employment of an alien, if the following conditions are met:

  • it is impossible to fill the vacant position by employing an Estonian citizen or a citizen of the European Union or an alien residing in Estonia on the basis of a residence permit, who would comply with the requirements for qualification and professional skills for such position;
  • filling the place of employment with an alien is justified taking account of the labour market and based on the data of the Estonian Unemployment Insurance Fund.

In order to obtain the permission to fill a position by employing an alien, the legal representative of the employer or the representative authorised by the employer has to submit to the Estonian Unemployment Insurance Fund a (digitally) signed application form, including necessary documents.

Identity document for aliens

The issue of residence permits to the third country nationals and persons with undetermined citizenship is regulated by the Aliens Act. A residence permit card is an internal and digital document of a third-county national residing in Estonia. The residence permit card shall be issued to a third-country national residing in Estonia who has a valid residence permit or a right of residence.

More detailed information about residence permit card at the website of Police and Border Guard Board

Driving licenses

Driving licenses formalized pursuant to the principles of the 1949 Geneva Convention on Road Traffic or the 1968 Vienna Convention Road Traffic are valid in Estonia. Driving licenses conforming to these requirements are valid for use in Estonia for 12 months. A driving license is exchanged for an Estonian driving license after successful completion of theory test and a practical driving test.

A driving license issued in a member state of the European Union is valid in Estonia on the same conditions and does not have to be replaced. Upon expiry of the driving licence’s term of validity, the document must be replaced in the European Union country in which the holder has permanent residency at that moment.

Health insurance and family doctor service

If aliens recruited by you have been granted the right to live and work in Estonia, they must be registered by the Health Insurance Fund just like any other employee.

An employee who is a foreign national can choose a family doctor on the same conditions enjoyed by Estonian citizens. A person of at least 15 years of age may choose for themselves the family doctor they prefer, by making a corresponding application to the family doctor (by registered post or in person).

If the person submitting the application has not received a refusal to include him or her on the list, the person shall be included in the family doctor’s list as of the first day of the month following submission of the application. Information about family doctors is available from county social and health care boards, the regional departments of the Health Insurance Fund and the Health Insurance Fund website.

Short-term employment

A person may work in Estonia temporarily for up to 9 months during a year. Employment in Estonia is permitted to an alien, who stays legally in Estonia on the basis of visa or on the basis of visa-free stay and whose employment has been registered prior to the commencement of work.

An employer may apply for registration of short-term employment in Estonia in expedited procedure or in ordinary procedure.

Registration of short-term employment

Important information for registering short-term employment

Last amended: 18-01-2017 12:54 | Compiled by: Unemployment Insurance Fund