The Estonian DDF, “Migrants’ contribution to the Estonian labour market: coping in the context of COVID-19“, was organised by Johannes Mihkelsoni Keskus, the event was hosted in Estonian on April 27, 2021, at 13:30 EET.
The number of foreigners who migrate to Estonia is higher than that of Estonians who emigrate. Most foreigners come to Estonia to work, study, or on the basis of family reunification. In 2020 there were 199,674 non-Estonian-born living in the country (15% of Estonian population), 20,883 of them were citizens of an EU country, and 178,791 Third Country Nationals (TCNs). The number of applicants for a residence permit for the purpose of entrepreneurship and the share of foreigners working in Estonian start-ups is growing significantly year after year. Nevertheless, the situation of TCNs in the Estonian labour market differs a lot depending on the work field.
The COVID-19 pandemic has also largely affected the Estonian labour market, including the accommodation and food services sectors that provide jobs for a large number of TCNs. Estonia also relies on foreign seasonal workers during Summertime. Due to the COVID-19 restrictions, exceptions for short-term workers were made, so that they could stay in the country and keep supporting Estonian agriculture.
The general unemployment rate has risen from 4,4% at the end of 2018, to 7,4% at the end of 2020. The health crisis provoked by the COVID-19 has a major effect on the Estonian labour market, and on the possibilities to find suitable employment. Migrants belong to the group of a population whose work life and work possibilities are largely affected by the current situation.
With the online panel discussion, we aim at providing a general overview of the current situation in the Estonian labour market, its effects on migrants’ employment, existing opportunities, and obstacles in entering the local labour market.
The panel discussion brings together specialists from various fields to discuss the role of migrants’ in the Estonian labour market and the possible ways to support third country nationals’ well-being, especially during the current COVID-19 situation.
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