The policy for involving foreign specialists is the topic, which always finds both advocates and opponents. The question that arises the most is whether the country should support attracting foreign specialists into the country at all and what does the state do to improve the labor position of the local population. Unfortunately, the global competition for the people with the best competencies and skills was already started about twenty years ago. Just then, the first countries began to strategically advertise themselves as work destination countries. The experience of various local organizations who have recruited, or considered recruitment of foreign professionals, confirms that the development of the image of work destination country is essential. Otherwise, the top specialists in their field will not come to the country and the smarter ones will leave for more developed countries. In the framework of the policy of involving foreign specialists, we also deal with the Estonians who have gone to another country to work, and who could one day potentially return to their homeland.
The goal of the policy for the involvement of foreign specialists is to increase the internationalization of the Estonian society and economy by attracting foreign specialists to Estonia and by employing them.
In terms of the policy for involving foreign specialists, this far, there has existed no common approach in the form of an action plan or strategy at the national level. The “Work in Estonia: Action Plan 2015–2016 for Involving Foreign Specialists to Estonia” (hereinafter referred to as the Action Plan for Involvement of Foreign Specialists) is the first initiative of its kind, resulting from Estonia’s competitiveness plan “Estonia 2020”. One of the actions set out in the program “Estonia 2020” is the attraction of talents to the essential areas of the Estonian economy, i.e., a coordinated talent policy, one component of which is cooperation between different sectors (state, enterprises, universities, non-governmental organizations), expansion of the internship opportunities of foreign students and ensuring of a judicial area that would support the stay of the future top professionals in Estonia after the end of their studies.
The Action Plan for Involvement of Foreign Specialists is an action plan resulting in the “Estonian business growth strategy 2014–2020” (hereinafter referred to as the business growth strategy) which will contribute to the achievement of the objectives of the business growth strategy and thereby to the realization of the umbrella objectives of “Estonia 2020”. The Action Plan for Involvement of Foreign Specialists brings together the activities of the various parties in the years 2015 and 2016. The Action Plan is confirmed by the Minister of Foreign Trade and Economic Development.
With the shortages of qualified professionals and skilled labor, Estonia is experiencing an increasingly serious and growing problem in developing and growing businesses. Today, the availability of skilled labor, in the opinion of the entrepreneurs, is relatively weak (in the rating of entrepreneurs 3.2/10) 1. Cross-border immigration and emigration increased in 2013. About 4100 immigrated into the country and a little over 6,700 people emigrated from the country. The main destinations of emi -grants are Finland (5120 people) and the UK (394 people). Most have emigrated from Estonia to Finland, persons with vocational education (46%), the proportion of people with higher education (professional higher and higher education) has been 15% in previous years2. Since the majority of arrivals to Estonia are returnees, most of them are coming from Finland (1,067 people). The second and third place is Russia (955 people) and Ukraine (340 people), from where mostly new immigrants arrive3.
Demographic developments that Estonia will be facing will put further extensive constraints on the supply of labor. The results of the last census4 showed that the population of Estonia is shrinking faster than previously predicted. According to the forecast “Population forecast until 2040” compiled by the Statistical Office, in 2040 in Estonia will be living 1,195,000 inhabitants, which is one-tenth less than the current population. At the same time, the average age of the population will be considerably higher than before, and the number of births will reduce significantly5. Up to the year 2012, the Estonian population decreased by 0.6%, mainly due to negative net migration. However, a higher proportion of emigrants puts a greater strain on the local labor market and on the state budget. The fact that a large proportion of migrants are women in the age range of 20–44, is worrying, because in addition to the necessary employees and taxpayers, potential mothers are leaving, through whom also the expected birth rate will be lower in the coming years. At the same time, Estonia is one of the fastest growing countries in comparison of the numbers of international students and the trend of practicing a multinational lifestyle is increasing, which means that people are increasingly operating in several countries at once. The number of foreign students studying in degree programs in Estonia has tripled during the period 2008–2014 and reached 2887 in 20146,7. However, the application of international students by local entrepreneurs has been extremely limited. According to the study “Migration of Foreign Students to Estonia in 2012” compiled by the Migration Studies Centre of the Academy of Security Sciences8 about 5–10% of the foreign students a year change their status from studying to employment.
Studies9 point out that in the OECD countries, on average (e.g., Germany, the Netherlands, Great Britain, Finland and Norway), about a quarter of all international students will stay working in the country where they acquired their education.
According to the forecast of the labor force, until the year 2022 within 10 years in Estonia will be needed a total of about 22,500 top specialists. A large number of the need for highly skilled professionals can be met by the national workforce, but in view of demographic developments, involvement of foreign professionals is necessary10.
When finding solutions to the problems of the lack of specialists in Estonia, it is worth noting that on the estimate of the global migration barometer, the need for labor in Estonia is relatively high11, particularly when considering the aging population and the growth in the ratio of dependents. In addition to the involvement of foreign labor, other countries use two different alternatives to alleviate the shortage of specialists. These are: (1) raising productivity, and (2) activation of the inactive group. This Action Plan focuses on the involvement of foreign experts.
Based on the practice of other countries it can be said that the simplification of regulations alone is not enough to facilitate immigration. In addition to the elimination of formal obstacles for attracting foreign specialists to the country, in order to be able to survive in the international competition, Estonia must be introduced as an attractive country to live and work in. The attitudes and undertakings, in terms of a foreign workforce and the resulting willingness to recruit foreign specialists of non-native speakers of Estonian with a communication language other than Estonian is of critical importance. Consequently, the Action Plan sets two key objectives: to introduce Estonia as an attractive country to work in, and raising the awareness of local employers in recruiting foreign professionals. For the fulfilling of both purposes, it is necessary to have coordinated cooperation of the private, third and public sectors.
The Action Plan for Involving Foreign Specialists is an agreement of complex activities whose purpose is to contribute to the sustainable economic development of Estonia through the involvement of foreign countries, or the Estonian professionals living there.
The activities outlined in the Action Plan:
Foreign specialists, in the meaning of this Action Plan, are highly skilled professionals arriving from abroad with the skills, knowledge, competence and contacts (whose immigration is governed by the Aliens Act, or the European Union Framework for the Free Movement of Labor) and/or Estonian citizens residing permanently away from Estonia.
The target groups of the Action Plan are:
The objectives established with the Action Plan will contribute to the long-term perspective with the following performance indicators:
The activity output indicators reflected in the Action Plan are provided for each activity as precisely as possible.
One of the activities set out in Estonia’s competitiveness program “Estonia 2020” is the attraction of talents to the areas essential for the Estonian economy. The coordinated talent policy, the inevitable components of which is the cooperation between different sectors (state, enterprises, institutions of higher ducation), expansion of the internship opportunities for foreign students and the ensuring of a judicial area that would support the stay of the future top professionals in Estonia after the end of their studies.
The Action Plan of Foreign Specialists contributes directly to the objectives set in the plan “Estonia 2020”.
The objective of the strategy is to increase both productivity and employment and to reach the point that Estonian entrepreneurs would earn more revenue from high-value-added products and services. The growth strategy aims to facilitate the discovery, recruitment, immigration and application of talents, and personal services, which are necessary for adaptation of the talents and their family members in Estonia, and to support the formation and cooperation of the network of talents. The Action Plan for Involvement of Foreign Specialists proceeds directly from the goal set in the Growth Strategy.
The goal of the Strategy for International Introduction of Higher Education is to increase the competitiveness of Estonia through the raising of the awareness of Estonia as a high-level internationally recognized place of education. The strategy identifies the activities through which, by the end of the period, a situation is achieved where Estonia’s reputation as an excellent place for learning and ingenious self-realization in the world has improved and foreign student graduates are in demand in the Estonian labor market and support the internationalization of both higher education and the economy.
One of the most efficient means of recruiting foreign professionals is through the higher education system, inviting the best possible foreign students to study in Estonia, and creating the environment in which at the end of the study there would be attractive career choices, and the opportunity to become self-employed. However, the global fight for foreign students is picking up rapidly, and in order to achieve success in finding talented young people in highly competitive situations, Estonia needs to approach it carefully and make maximum use of the advantages and peculiarities of Estonia. Consequently, the strategy of international introduction of higher education has a direct link with the Action Plan for Involvement of Foreign Specialists, because foreign students are one of the options available for involvement of foreign specialists with the necessary competencies for businesses.
The sectoral development plan “Integrating Estonia 2020” brings together the strategic objectives of the Estonian integration policy and the means of achieving them for the years 2014–2020. The existence of a national integration policy is needed to ensure the sustainability of the Republic of Estonia and is one of the prerequisites for the materialization of the many other national strategies. The integration plan sets as one of its objectives the increasing of the openness of Estonians towards citizens from other countries, which is directly linked to attracting foreign specialists to Estonia and involvement here in the labor market. Foreign specialists are ready to take up work in a country where social attitudes are directed at mutual understanding of people from different cultures and appreciation of the cultural differences.
The overall objective of research and development and innovation is to create favorable conditions for the growth of productivity and standards of living, good education, culture and the development of Estonia. “Knowledge-based Estonia” sets four major sub-goals:
Out of those sub-goals, all four are linked to the foreign specialist’s involvement activities, the first and the fourth sub-goal have the most points of contact. In the achievement of securing the high level and diversity of research, researcher mobility and cooperation is provided for and is increasing. The messages and the number of activities of the Action Plan for Involvement of Foreign Specialists directly contribute to the successful cooperation with international experts and visibility. With the Action Plan for Involvement of Foreign Specialists is linked with the desire of Estonian universities and other research and development institutions to involve international top scientists from abroad for the creation of an international study and research environment.
The aim of the strategy is the creation of learning opportunities meeting the Estonian people’s needs and abilities throughout their life cycle. The strategy contributes to the goals of the Action Plan for Involvement of Foreign Specialists with a provision for the high-quality teaching of Estonian both in a comprehensive school as well as in non-formal education. Also the focus of a lifelong learning strategy in adult continuing education and the development of opportunities for professional retraining and continuing education for people of all ages, which are directly linked to offering attractive training opportunities to foreign specialists. The goal of the higher education program created under the Lifelong Learning Strategy is to demonstrate the high level of Estonian universities, to raise the quality of higher education and to offer to the labor market an opportunity to employ, in the growth areas, persons from abroad who have completed a university degree in Estonia. The program sets as its goal that the opening of the international curricula must be followed, in particular, what are the skills that our labor market needs and which provide the foreign students a possibility of later staying to work in Estonia.
Information Society Development Plan 2020 provides for the promotion of e-Estonia’s reputation as a part of the image building of the country. These activities are to increase the competitiveness of the Estonian economic environment, in general, exerting indirect effects on the attraction of foreign specialists and keeping them in Estonia. The Information Society Development Plan contains a separate action, “Dissemination of the Estonian ICT experience on a more international scale” and the Development Plan sets as a more specific target “Estonia is a world renowned e-state.” Part of the Development Plan is also the launching of a virtual or e-residency.
“The Estonian Regional Development Strategy 2014–2020” (hereinafter referred to as the Regional Development Strategy) provides as one of its actions, inter alia, the promotion of entering and adapting of foreign skilled labor, investors, top professionals, and researchers and students to Estonia with the purpose of raising the international economic competitiveness of the major urban areas of Estonia. The Estonian Regional Development Strategy also provides for the development of forecasting capability of regional labor needs to facilitate the more efficient deployment of the human resources of different activity regions in the labor market and economic development of the regions.
The overall objective the “Internal Security Development Plan 2015–2020” (hereinafter: the Internal Security Development Plan) is to ensure that the Estonian people feel that they live in a free and safe society, where everyone’s values, involvement and contribution to the security of the community will create a more secure country in Europe. One sub-goal of the Internal Security Development Plan is a balanced citizenship and migration policy. This sub-goal will address the adaptation of newly arrived immigrants and in the framework of the Development Plan, activities for the provision of information and adaptation programs and for the development of networks supporting the adaptation are provided for the achievement thereof. The Internal Security Development Plan also provides for the measures for the provision of language training for newly arrived immigrants which is an added support involving foreign specialists for the private and third sectors. One of the courses of action of the development of internal security is the targeted migration management and development of organizational solutions related to reviewing, and where appropriate, to upgrading the regulatory framework of the arrival of foreign specialists to Estonia.
Studies conducted by the Institute of Baltic Studies show13 that the obstacle for third-country nationals upon arrival to Estonia is a large time and resource cost on the application of a visa or a residence permit. The main reason is the sparse network of Estonian consular offices (especially in Asia but also in Africa and Latin America), because obtaining a visa may require multiple traveling to the nearest representation which can be very costly.
In the autumn of 2013, came into force the first stage amendments in the Aliens Act (AA) which facilitated the entering into Estonia of the persons necessary for Estonia (top professionals, researchers, academics, students, and family members of those mentioned above)14. Persons from third countries are able to apply for a short-term or a long-term visa from an Estonian foreign representative or a foreign representative of a country representing Estonia. However, representations of other countries do not issue visas for studies. The possibility of application for a temporary residence permit in the country, which pursuant to the previously valid regulations was possible only by exceptional circumstances, extended to top professionals, researchers, students and those with registered short-term employment lawfully residing in Estonia. If previously the employer has to organize a public three-week competition for finding an employee and obtaining permission from the Estonian Unemployment Insurance Fund, then with the amendment the obligation to hold a three-week competition was dropped in all cases. However, the requirement for the permission of the Estonian Unemployment Insurance Fund remained valid, in so far as, above all, the aim is to ensure the preference of the Estonian and European workforce. The amendment in the AA made the recruitment of top professionals more flexible and unified the conditions set for the teaching staff and researchers. In the event of recruitment of researchers and academics, the requirement of obtaining permission from the Estonian Unemployment Insurance Fund was abolished. The requirements for transfer of teachers, lecturers and researchers into another position were also made more flexible. In addition, the amendment provided foreigners with the opportunity to work simultaneously for multiple employers in Estonia, following the conditions specified in the residence permit issued for working. Also, the amendment granted foreign students the opportunity to remain in Estonia under a residence permit for up to six months after graduation, with the purpose of finding employment in Estonia.
The Estonian Parliament adopted the amendments to the Aliens Act on 18.02.2015, and the amendments will take effect on 01.01.2016. For aliens, an opportunity after the expiration of the residence permit, to remain in Estonia temporarily for a further three months was created, during which the alien has the possibility to find a new basis for granting a temporary residence permit without leaving Estonia. For those aliens who have lived in Estonia continuously at least three years of five successive years and whose previous activities in Estonia have been in accordance with the terms and conditions for the purpose of granting the residence permit, will be provided a further basis for applying for a permanent residence permit for settling in Estonia. The amendment eliminated the differences, which give a basis for the requirement for the permission of the Estonian Unemployment Insurance Fund or payment of wages of a statutory rate upon taking up employment with another employer. It also allows to grant the permission of the Estonian Unemployment Insurance Fund for simultaneous employment of multiple aliens instead of the current one alien, if the labor force with the relevant skills and qualifications is not found in Estonia.
The context of involvement of foreign specialists contains a remarkable extension of not considering the requirement for the 1.24-time salary criterion where the Aliens Act grants the Government the mandate, on the proposal of the Minister of the Interior, to set up (for a fixed period, such as two years) the list of areas with high labor shortages working on which the permission of the Estonian Unemployment Insurance Fund is not required and where the employer is obliged to pay the foreigner at least the average wage of the area. This amendment simplifies the recruitment of foreign nationals in areas with high labor shortages in Estonia.
Various ministries and the private and third sector organizations conduct actions directly related to the Action Plan for Involvement of Foreign Specialists, but the actions have so far been fragmented and not coordinated enough with each other, which does not allow the application of the full potential of involvement of foreign specialists in the Estonian economy.
DESCRIPTION OF THE ACTIVITIES ACROSS THE AREAS OF ADMINISTRATION OF THE MINISTRIES
|Ministry of Education and Research||HE* and support of internationalization of research|
|European School and the IB curricula*|
|Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications||Image building of e-state and development of e-residency|
|Marketing of Estonia as a country of residence and employment, workinestonia.com|
|Business Operator Development Program|
|Ministry of the Interior||Changes in AA*|
|NEW: The adaptation program for newly arrived immigrants|
|Ministry of Social Affairs||EURES|
|Ministry of Foreign Affairs||Support of foreign representations to the activities of the Ministry of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Education and Research and the Ministry of Culture|
|Ministry of Culture||Support for integration|
|Support for integration|
Figure 1. Description of the activities of involvement of foreign specialists across the areas of administration of the Ministries. Source Praxis and Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications
All the ministries, as well as the private, public and third sector organizations, whose activities are international, are involved in building the image of Estonia outside of Estonia. Estonian brands support the formation of a positive image of the country. Image building tools - the brand of the state and its core messages - have been developed by Enterprise Estonia. The brand of Estonia was last updated in 2008 when involvement of foreign specialists to the local labor market was not that topical. Therefore, there is no sub-brand, which would support the systemic attraction of foreign experts into the country. There is a need for the creation of such a sub-brand.
The umbrella brands of the Study in Estonia and Research in Estonia have respectively been used to support the image building of the field of education and research. The first of them has, so far, not relied on the concept of the brand of Estonia, which is why harmonization of the brands is necessary.
Information in the English language
Although there are no significant restrictions on using critical public services by foreigners in Estonia, however, the disadvantage in Estonia in general and in terms of public services is the lack of availability of the necessary information for foreigners who are not proficient enough in Estonian (IBS 2014).
In addition to a lack of availability of information on public services, the problem is also the lack of availability of other English-language information supporting adaptation and insufficient or fragmented explanations. The availability of the English language is critical for the two target groups:
Application for residence permits
The study conducted by the Institute of Baltic Studies (2014) reveals that the country is expected to simplify the process of application for residence permits which would reduce the costs involved in hiring a foreigner15 .The state fee for application for a residence permit in Estonia is not particularly expensive compared to other countries. What makes recruiting a foreigner costly is the relative expensiveness of the service fees of the companies providing recruitment services abroad. Also, many companies use the assistance of lawyers in the course of the residence permit process. Moreover, the time resources needed for the process is deemed costly.
Labor market services
The Estonian Unemployment Insurance Fund provides 20 labor market services under the Labor Market Services and Benefits Act and the temporary employment program established on the basis thereof (Employment Program 2014–2015). The following have the right to receive the labor market services and benefits: permanent residents of Estonia, aliens residing in Estonia on the basis of temporary residence permits or temporary right of residence, citizens of the European Union, European Economic Area and the Swiss Confederation staying in Estonia, persons enjoying international protection staying in Estonia or asylum seekers staying in Estonia, under the conditions provided for in the Act on Granting International Protection to Aliens and employers.
The aim of the labor market services is supporting people entering the labor market. The Estonian Unemployment Insurance Fund provides services approaching each person individually, regardless of ethnicity or language proficiency, identifying the specific needs of the unemployed and the prospects for entering the labor market. If necessary, and as far as possible, the Estonian Unemployment Insurance Fund can also provide counseling in English.
EURES (European Jobs Network) helps employers to find suitable workers from other countries of the European Economic Area. EURES also provides information on job vacancies, the terms of taking up employment in another country, work-related social guarantees (various social benefits, unemployment benefits, etc.) and useful addresses and contact details related to job search in the countries of the European Economic Area. In Estonia, the activities of EURES are coordinated by the Estonian Unemployment Insurance Fund. All the public job offers published by the Estonian Unemployment Insurance Fund are transmitted to the pan-European EURES portal eures.europa.eu and will be open for application for job seekers of other European countries. One of the activities of EURES is a provision for information and guidance to jobseekers and employees arriving from Europe, and counseling them on job opportunities and living and working conditions in Estonia. The relevant information is continually updated on both the pan-European EURES portal at eures.europa.eu and on the Estonian EURES website at www.eures.ee/eng. The awareness of EURES services among entrepreneurs must grow significantly among the employers in the coming years to ensure that organizations would have Europe-wide support for the involvement of foreign experts.
General societal background
Another obstacle that can be pointed out in coming to work in Estonia is the reticence and the initial mistrust towards foreigners of the local population 16. The attitude of Estonians that is sometimes perceived as repellent is more strongly felt by those arriving along the lines of family migration, where the spouses/life partners and children find it difficult to integrate into the society 17.
The study of the Institute of Baltic Studies18 pointed out that one of the reasons for not coming to Estonia for foreign specialists and changing their residence with their family is the limited opportunities of beginning or resuming education for their children. Specialists arriving from abroad have highlighted both the shortage of the English language kindergarten and school places as well as their high cost. Local governments are seen as having three primary functions:
Upon application for visas, work and residence permits for foreign specialists, business operators are divided into two groups. Some operators prefer the entire process to be managed by the company itself while others use external assistance. Mostly, in such cases, the service providers are law firms.
As a new trend, private companies have been set up in Estonia who offer support services related to the relocation. This service is aimed at companies to help foreign specialists and their family members taking up residence in Estonia, to adapt faster and more efficiently. The services typically offered include aggregated information on the services needed in everyday life, but also assistance, e.g., in the search for housing, school or kindergarten. There are plenty of service providers, but the potential customers consider the price for the service expensive.
The survey conducted by the Institute of Baltic Studies shows that business operators routinely provide foreign specialists with the primary assistance for adapting and settling in, but they deem the time and resource costs associated with the recruitment of foreign experts (including purchase of legal services) excessive. The support for adaptation of the family of a foreign expert varies from company to company.
The survey conducted by the Institute of Baltic Studies20 confirmed that a somewhat more specific bottleneck is the entering of foreign students to the job market. On the basis of the Amendments to the Aliens Act, it is now possible for a foreigner who has completed their studies to stay in Estonia for six months after the completion of their studies for the purpose of seeking employment, but finding employment is made difficult by the lack of Estonian language skills, lack of knowledge about the functioning of the Estonian labor market, lack of apprenticeships and the lack of interest of the Estonian employers for recruitment of foreigners.
In order to reduce the cost of time and resources occurring on the recruitment of foreign specialists, emphasis should be placed on explanation of the regulatory framework for the hiring of foreign specialists and on the provision of an overview of the whole process for the business operators. Creation of a specific environment, where the foreign specialist would find all the necessary information for the commencement of work in Estonia, would also help to save time. So far, every company has been forced to assemble the different pieces of information and convey them to the potential employee.
As one of the alternative forms of involvement of foreign specialists, business operators should be much more fully informed of the possibility of recruitment of foreign students graduated from Estonian universities.
The role of third sector organizations in the provision of services targeted to newly arrived immigrants is continually growing. A number of informal associations have emerged whose aim is to revive mutual relations of the foreigners. Such initiatives support the smoother adaptation of foreign specialists in Estonia. The consultants of the EURAXESS network have over ten years successfully provided the foreign researchers coming to work in Estonia timely information on migration (visas-residence permits), health and social insurance fees and other issues in the English language.
A growing trend is commissioning of sector-specific labor forecasts by the umbrella organizations bringing together business operators. However, such a base will be used primarily for the direction of the national state-commissioned education, rather than for introducing foreign labor as a possible solution.
The information on third sector organizations and informal associations is fragmented, and foreign professionals lack an overview of how to get involved in the work of various non-profit organizations or participate in networks and the events organized by them. Systematization of such information and making it easily available for foreign professionals is essential.
Stages of services and possible solutions, by which a future foreign specialist should reach the employers, are as follows:
Possible solutions are outlined for each stage. Under the solutions are provided various activities, their promoter or promoters, as well as output indicators and the data source. The Action Plan for Involvement of Foreign Specialists is the first such initiative, which is why setting the level of output indicators for many activities is difficult. Therefore, in the block of possible solutions can be seen a number of output indicators devoid of either the numerical level or as marked by “*”. This means that the output indicators of the Activity Plans will be supplemented.
To reach the point that foreign specialists are prone and motivated to be recruited to Estonia and that Estonians living abroad would be inclined and motivated to return, it is first necessary to convey the message that they are welcome.
Solution 1: Creation of the image of Estonia and the concept supporting the policy of involvement of foreign specialists in the image building
Activity 1: The creation of sectoral tools (for example, key messages, communication tools, etc.), developing a target country and target group based strategic communication plan and target country and target group based messages for the period 2016–2018. For example, one of the partners of the Action Plan is Research in Estonia, which deals with the building of the image of Estonia as a research country that will lead to the fact that an increasing number of researchers would be interested in taking up employment in Estonia. It is important that the building of the image of Estonia as a research country would fit well with the building of the image of Estonia as a destination for work.
Output Indicator 1: The tools are available and public for the use of organizations
Output Indicator 2:Strategic communications plan for the period 2016–2018 has been developed
Output Indicator 3: Messages have been developed
Solution 2: Linking the e-residency project with the real possibility of work in Estonia
The more specific furnishing of the project will be analyzed during the year 2015.
Promoter: Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications and other ministries, the unit of e-residency to be created at the EAS .
Solution 3: Building of the image of Estonia in international events and the dovetailing thereof with the messages of internationalization of various organizations.
Promoter:Enterprise Estonia, Archimedes, Estonian Research Agency (hereinafter ETAG) in collaboration with business organizations and EURES.
More specifically provided in chapter 7.2.
In the stage of finding and recruiting of a foreign specialist, the focus lies on the employers. It is important that the business operator and the other host organizations would have the readiness to recruit a foreign workforce and that at the same time, they would have a step-by-step overview of what the recruitment of a foreign worker constitutes. An information portal will serve as the tool for recruiters on one hand, and a source of information for potential recruits and for the potential interested parties on the other hand. The practice of OECD countries, where foreign students are successfully directed to the labor market of the country, refers to the need to make the co-operation between businesses and universities in the implementation of foreign students more effective. The activation of the necessary support network and organization of Action Plan for Involvement recruitment is provided as one solution of the stage of recruitment and finding of an employee.
In the stage of the employee recruitment and finding, the following activities are carried out:
Solution 1: Creation of the environment of “Work in Estonia.”
Activity 1: Creation of a central information portal www.WorkInEstonia.com
www.WorkInEstonia.com brings together into one place all the necessary information for a foreign specialist related to taking up employment in Estonia (formalities, applications, processes, etc.) including EuraxessJobs, www.euraxess.ee, EURES, etc. On the other hand, it would provide the guidelines to the employer on the process of hiring a foreigner and what should be done and kept in mind while involved in the process. The portal also introduces the practical aspects of moving to Estonia and working here, including taxes, education, health care, housing rent, etc. The portal will also link to other web sites introducing Estonia, such as www.researchinestonia.eu, www.studyinestonia.ee and the migration information portal of the Ministry of the Interior applicable from the second half of 2015, etc.
Output Indicator 1: Portal visitors per month: 15,000 visits (2015), and 20,000 visits (2016).
Output Indicator 2: Links to other environments operating in the WorkInEstonia.com portal
Activity 2: Development and renewal of marketing materials to support Estonia as an attractive employment destination. Recruiters need help and support materials, using of which it would be simple to convey to the potential recruits the message of Estonia as a work destination country. Examples of such materials include, for instance, the umbrella portal www.estonia.eu introducing Estonia on general terms,Relocation Guides, company-based case studies, video clips, and other materials.
Output Indicator 2: Preparation of “Relocation Guides”.
Output Indicator 3: Seven case studies prepared in 2015, seven more in 2016
Activity 3: Creation of the database of jobs for a foreign workforce.
One of the activities foreseen in the framework of the central portal www.WorkInEstonia.com is the creation of a database consisting of vacancies and the CV’s of foreign specialists. The database is available for the use by companies interested in the recruitment of foreign labor. Also, people can leave their contact information in the portal in order to receive information regarding job vacancies.
Output Indicator 4:Each month, an average of 10–15 job offers are mediated and directed to the redistributable networks. The number of negotiated jobs is varied and dependent on the number of job vacancies offered in the labor market that are suitable for foreign specialists.
Solution 2: Raising of the awareness of business operators of recruitment of foreign specialists
Promoter: EAS, Ministry of Communication and Economic Affairs, business organizations, EURES, EURAXESS, MER, Archimedes
Activity 1:Training providing information on migration law, taxation, insurance, and issues relating to living arrangements, etc. The different partners of the Action Plan will all contribute to this activity. EURES, Archimedes, universities and business organizations, and personnel offices of the private sector have been previously engaged in the mediating of the above information and will continue doing so in the coming years.
As part of the “Work In Estonia” project has been planned, on a regular basis, to carry out information seminars and contact events for Estonian exporters to enable to find employees, partners, mentors and consultants with a background in the target market.
It is also essential to share and mediate the experiences between business operators. At the stage, in which many business operators lack any experience in recruitment of foreign employees, both positive and negative experiences are necessary to obtain an overview of the possible risks and potential benefits.
Output Indicator 1::Outreach events organized by EE and EURES and the number of companies involved.
Measurer: EAS, EURES* upon implementing the Action Plan, the statistics of the events held by all the partners will be posted.
Output Indicator 2: Four events organized by EURAXESS, 130 participants (2015–2016) for the persons related to the recruitment of foreign researchers.
Solution 3: Cooperation with companies and universities on recruitment of foreign students
Promoter: Ministry of Education and Research, universities, Archimedes in cooperation with business organizations.
Activity 1: Mapping of the fields and the curricula of foreign students who are studying and regular distribution thereof to employers. Systemic distribution of this information to businesses through business organizations.
Output Indicator 1: Mappings carried out by universities and systematic distribution of information to business organizations is functional.
Activity 2: Bringing together employers and foreign students
Output Indicator 1: Outreach events organized by universities and Archimedes and the number of participating companies and foreign students.
Solution 4: Sector-based recruitment
Promoter: Enterprise Estonia, Archimedes, ETAG in collaboration with business organizations, EURES
Activity 1: Determination of the major target groups and preparation of value propositions for them Target-group based value proposition is a set of unique selling points compilation of which creates an opportunity for the business operator to use consistent messages and tools in the organization of recruitment for vacant and unfilled jobs.
Output Indicator 1: The target-group based value propositions have been completed and in use by the partners of the Action Plan for Involvement of Foreign Specialists and by business operators.
Activity 2: Participation in foreign trade fairs with an Estonian poster where foreign specialists are recruited in accordance with the previously agreed sector. EURES provides information of the employment opportunities in Estonia in the European Job Days.
Output Indicator 2: Participation in international fairs: Two fairs (EAS) + 4 foreign fairs (EURES) in 2015; 4 foreign fairs (EAS) in 2016
Measurer:: EAS, EURES* to be supplemented by Archimedes, universities, and ETAG
Solution 5: Activation of a support network necessary for attracting foreign specialists to Estonia
Promoter: Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications, Ministry of Education and Research, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of the Interior
Activity 1: Information for foreign representative/diplomats of value propositions and of the needs for foreign specialists.
Output Indicator 1:Information transmitted by consular and economic diplomats (Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications).
Measurer: Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications
Activity 2: Better involvement of the compatriots residing abroad (diaspora) through the Compatriots Program. In the framework of the Compatriots Program will be implemented a number of events where it is possible to provide information on the policy of involvement of foreign specialists and to give an overview of the innovations implemented therein.
Output Indicator 2: The Compatriot Program information has been delivered to Estonians residing abroad.
Measurer: Ministry of Education and Research
Solution 6: Improvement of the availability of the English language career counseling services (universities).
Promoter: Universities, the Ministry of Education and Research
Activity 1: VUse of career counseling will be made possible to foreign students.
Output Indicator 1: the number of foreign students using the career counseling service at universities.
Solution 7: Involvement of Estonians living abroad to the Estonian labor market.
The activity is furnished in 2015 and will be launched in 2016.
Solution 8: Creation of a Labor Demand Monitoring and Skills Development Coordination System (OSKA system)
Promoter: Estonian Qualifications Authority, Ministry of Education and Research
Activity 1: The Labor Demand Monitoring and Forecasting and Skills Development Coordination System forges stronger links between the structure, size and content of the education and training services of the expert knowledge of various parties of the labor market into a planning support systems, and supports the cooperation between employers and educational institutions in developing of curricula as well as reaching an up-to-date labor market information to the career service. The activity will provide more accurate input, how much and into which sectors the additional workforce is needed in the short term.
Output Indicator 1: The number of committees set up and operating (expert committees and coordination committees)
Measurer: Estonian Qualifications Authority
After the selection of an employee, the business operator is required to perform a series of actions that are set out in the Aliens Act. In the event of recruitment of foreign students, if they are still studying, application for a separate residence permit is not necessary. However, the practice has shown that there is much confusion in the employment of foreign students, both on the side of the employers as well as on the side of the international students themselves. The study of the Institute of Baltic Studies (2014) showed that most criticism of the migrants and the companies is expressed in terms of the quality of services of the Police and Border Guard Board. The stage of “Preparation for employment” provides for activities, which are aimed at both employers and prospective employees.
Solution 1: Generation of standard document templates in order to facilitate employment.
Promoter: EAS, PARE, business organizations
Activity 1: Generation of standard document templates. According to the feedback received from different personnel managers, admitting of a foreign student to the internship is very often impeded by the organizational side of personnel work. Personnel departments are small and their ability to independently prepare contracts in English is weak. Therefore, one of the specific activities supporting business operators on recruitment is the creation of such support materials which can be carried out in cooperation with the PARE and the EAS.
Output Indicator 1: Standard documents generated and available for use.
Activity 2: Informing employers of the standard documents.
Output indicator: the number of downloads of standard documents.
Solution 2: Making the residence permit application process more user-friendly.
Promoter: Police and Border Guard Board
Activity 1: Improving the quality of customer service in the Police and Border Guard Board. Different studies have shown dissatisfaction of newly arrived immigrants with the customer service quality of the Police and Border Guard Board and policy recommendations to raise thereof, is one of the impulses on raising the level of customer service.
Output Indicator 1: Satisfaction of newly arrived immigrants with the services of the Police and Border Guard Board has grown.
Measures: Survey of the satisfaction of the newly arrived immigrants with the services of the Police and Border Guard Board
Activity 2: Making the information on the Police and Border Guard website more user-friendly. In the previously cited studies, newly arrived immigrants have stated as an input that although the information on the front page and sub-pages is also in the English language, one eventually reaches the sub-pages where the information is only in Estonian. The opacity of the application process has also been a subject of criticism, as it necessarily means that, after the submission of the application, the applicant has no overview of what stage his or her application is. The Police and Border Guard Board is planning to rectify all these bottlenecks.
The output indicator and the measures overlap with those of the activity 1.
Solution 3: Visualization of the journey of taking on employment
Promoter: EAS in cooperation with the Police and Border Guard Board, Ministry of the Interior, Ministry of Social Affairs and the Estonian Unemployment Insurance Fund.
Activity 1: Creation of a visualized journey. This process would help to create a real tool for business operators which will help them to better understand the stages he or she must go through in order to obtain a residence permit for employment for his or her future employee. While the employees themselves apply for a residence permit for employment, the employer’s overview of the process for him or her is important. The tool should be helpful also to those employers who have never been exposed to the recruitment of foreign workers.
Output Indicator 1: The tool has been created and updated in accordance with the law.
Activity 2: Provisional information to the employers and potential employees of the existence of the tool (EAS, umbrella organizations).
Output Indicator 2:Provision of information to the employers has taken place
TUpon starting of employment by an employee, a series of steps must be performed by which everyday life is organized, and access to public services is created. In the case of business operators, the usual practice is that in the first month of work, a place of residence is provided by the employer, but in the coming months it must be found by the workers themselves. Therefore, one of the immediate actions is to find a place of residence. Also helping the family to adapt is an activity of a critical importance, because although the work can be challenging and stimulating, then in a situation where the family is not pleased with the place of residence and the change of environment, there is a much higher probability that the stay of the employee in Estonia is rather short-term. In the first month, the employee must register his or her place of residence and open a bank account. The employer makes sure that the ID code of the new employee would be entered in the register of employees. For obtaining a separate registry code at the Tax and Customs Board, an application must be submitted if the employee is employed in Estonia in less than five days.
Solution 1: The adaptation program for newly arrived immigrants
Promoter: Ministry of the Interior
The objective of the adaptation program is to support the migration process and the subsequent integration of the newly arrived immigrants by providing them with knowledge on the issues related to the functioning of the state and society, everyday life, work, education and family life, and encouraging them to acquire Estonian language skills.
Activity 1: Participation of foreign specialists in the employment module of the adaptation program. All the foreigners who obtained the Estonian residence permit or right of residence since 01.08.2015 and were accordingly granted the identity document will receive an automatic notification from the Police and Border Guard Board regarding a referral of the adaptation program trainings. In addition to the legal information related to the type of migration, the employment module provides an overview also of the social networks of the business operators and top specialists, the labor law (including employment contracts), abuse and the tax system and so on.
Output Indicator 1: The number of newly arrived immigrants involved in the labor migration module of the adaptation program.
Measurer: Ministry of the Interior
Activity 2: The foreigners who have registered for the labor migration module of the adaptation program will be sent a resettlement e-information package (includes for example “the Relocation Guide,” “Work in Estonia” and the “Visit Finland” and other materials). Whereas the adaptation program is voluntary, which may mean that not all of the talents participate in it, it is reasonable to send immediately the e-information package, consisting of aggregate information materials of different parties.
Output Indicator 2: The activity is being carried out
Measurer:The adaptation program service providers
Activity 3: Creation and continuous updating of the list of providers of adaptation support services.
Output Indicator 3: The list of support services is available for foreign specialists.
Measurer: Ministry of the Interior
Solution 2: Work of the Counseling Center providing the information necessary for integration
Promoter: MISA, EURAXESS
Activity 1:: Provision of a web-based counseling service. Provision of counseling service in the Counseling Centers in Tallinn and Narva.
The goal of web-based counseling is to provide foreigners with the information necessary for their better long term integration. In addition to the information, Counseling Centers will also provide additional one-on-one counseling and information about the various public, private and third-sector services (labor market, language training, social and other services, recreation, cultural activities, etc., socialization opportunities at the local level, etc.).
Output Indicator 1:The number of newly arrived immigrants who received counseling service
Activity 2: Raising awareness of EURAXESS support services. EURAXESS is a Europe- wide network, which deals with counseling of foreign researchers and lecturers on solving practical issues when working abroad. In the coming years, we plan to offer the EURAXESS service also to the target group of the business operators who want to hire foreign researchers. First there is the need to inform the operators of the existence of the service, which is the obligation of the Estonian Office of EURAXESS. Communications support can be provided by the “Work in Estonia” project via the portal and the activities.
Output Indicator 2: ncrease of the number of queries registered/answered in EURAXESS.
Measurer: EURAXESS Estonian Office
Solution 3: Creation of the network of foreign specialists at the local level.
Similarly to the well-functioning tutor system at universities, where senior year students support the first year students, and to the mentoring networks coordinated by the Regional Development Centers (RDC’s) where experienced entrepreneurs share and give advice and recommendations for the start-ups, there is a need for mediation and distribution of experience also among foreign specialists. Therefore, the Action Plan provides for the creation of a list of foreign professionals working in the region of four regional development centers. Their role would be, if necessary, the provision of support to the foreign experts arriving in Estonia.
The more specific furnishing of the solution will be analyzed in the second half of the year 2015.
Activity 1: Creation of the network of foreign specialists at the local level.
Output Indicator 1: The number of functioning networks in ERDPs
Working in the position is the stage where the emphasis is on the employment relationship between the employer and the employee, and the state’s role should be minimal. The activities which the state can and should contribute to is the raising of the awareness of the local governments in the view of involving foreign specialists. Also, systematization of information about the networks facilitating the adjustment is one of the activities to be performed at this stage. At the same time, one must not forget that employers need adequate information about what is required to renew the residence permit.
Solution 1: Raising the employers’ awareness of the renewal of work permits and other regulatory issues
Promoter: EAS, umbrella organizations
Raising the employers’ awareness of the recruitment from the countries of the European Economic Area, as well as from the third countries. For example in terms of the process of renewal of residence permits and changing of the bases, which could become topical if the company has hired a foreign student during his or her studies and would like to continue the employment relationship also at the end of the studies. Exchange of information is one of the activities of the WorkinEstonia portal to be created.
Output Indicator 1: Cooperation of EAS with the umbrella organizations of business.
Solution 2: Raising awareness of the local governments.
Promoter: Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications in collaboration with the Association of Estonian Cities and the Union of Municipalities of Estonia.
Local governments, as providers of public services, are directly related to the topic of talent. Unfortunately, neither have the largest local governments become aware of their role in this, as brought out by the survey of the Institute of Baltic Studies. Here: Systematic approach and awareness-raising are appropriate.
Activity 1: Inclusion of the topic of the foreign specialist’s nvolvement policy in the program of the Estonian Municipality Days. The Estonian Municipality Days is the major annual event organized by the umbrella organizations of the local governments, the Estonian Union of Municipalities and the Association of Estonian Cities, where the theme block of talent can be included in the program.
Output Indicator 1: The number of representatives of local governments participated in the theme block.
Measurer: Association of Estonian Cities, Association of Municipalities of Estonia
Solution 3: Systematization of the appropriate information on informal networks of foreign specialists facilitating adaptation and activating of the support systems supporting adjustment
Promoter: EAS, Ministry of the Interior
Activity 1: Mapping and systematization of the informal networks of foreigners staying in Estonia
While working, one of the supporting activities, in addition to what is going on in the workplace, is the existence of social networks. Making the information regarding informal networks available on the Web in a systematic manner is also necessary to ensure that foreigners are coming to Estonia find opportunities for finding contacts with the other foreign professionals working in Estonia.
Output Indicator 1:Information has been mapped and added to the WorkInEstonia.com portal.
Activity 2: Activation of the support networks supporting adaptation.
In order to support the adaptation of newly arrived immigrants, it is necessary to plan deliberately and implement the various services and activities and adapt them to the needs of foreigners. To this end, it is necessary to exchange knowledge and skills between the different organizations on the local, regional and national level.
Output Indicator 2: Regular networking meetings are held involving the public, private and third sector organizations coming into contact with newly arrived immigrants.
Measurer: Ministry of the Interior
This Action Plan will be implemented by the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications, the Ministry of the Interior, the Ministry of Education and Research, Ministry of Culture, Ministry of Social Affairs and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and in collaboration with Enterprise Estonia, Archimedes, the Estonian Research Agency, the Estonian Unemployment Insurance Fund, business and municipal umbrella organizations, universities and support structures. With the view of the organization of the implementation of co-operation and monitoring of the implementation of the Action Plan, a Steering Group consisting of the above-mentioned parties will be set up under the leadership of the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications, who will define the specifics, the volume and the organization of the actions to be implemented during the period of validity of the Action Plan (2015–2016). The Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications shall submit a report on the Action Plan for the Steering Group for confirmation.
The responsibility for the reporting of the Action Plan (once a year) and, if necessary, for fixing of the changes rests with the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications, who will assess and monitor the implementation of the agreed activities in the planned volume as well as the effectiveness of the activities in accordance with the objectives fixed in the Action Plan. The data necessary for the assessment shall be collected from both the reports of implementation of the activities as well as from the studies conducted for updating of the Activity Plan and for evaluation of its performance.