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HomeEstoniaEstonia's IT, tech companies can apply for visas for foreign talent

Estonia’s IT, tech companies can apply for visas for foreign talent

From March, IT and technology companies that have been operating in Estonia for more than ten years can apply to join the Growth Company Visa program, which allows them to recruit employees from outside the European Union to support their business development and global growth.

As of the end of last year, the list of the growth company program created in 2023 included 15 IT and technology companies. However, all companies that meet the criteria for a growth company can now apply to participate in the program.

Annika Jars, startup visa and international relations development manager at Startup Estonia, described this as a much-awaited change.

“For Estonian IT and technology companies, the possibility to hire foreign talent is critical because the local labor market has a shortage of workers with specific qualifications necessary for the development of business and global growth of our technology companies. If a company cannot find employees in Estonia and is unable to recruit them from abroad, it may be forced to relocate its headquarters and development units from Estonia,” Jars said.

Growth companies are IT and tech companies over ten years old with a global growth potential, which employ at least 50 people in Estonia and have paid at least one million euros in labor taxes in Estonia in the previous year. An important criterion is also a cumulative increase in labor taxes of at least 20 percent over the last three years.

The Growth Company Visa program has been modeled on the startup visa program, as more and more Estonian startups are crossing the 10-year threshold and therefore no longer qualify for the startup visa program. Several of Estonia’s startup superstars have already passed or are about to pass the 10-year mark, and about a third of Estonian startups are more than five years old now.

Jars explained that each application to participate in the program will be reviewed by an independent committee of experts set up for this purpose. For example, in the case of the startup visa program, an average of 20 percent of applications are accepted. The goal is definitely not to issue as many visas as possible, but to allow talents who help the growth of our IT and technology sector to come to work in Estonia, Jars added.

Startup Estonia is a national program for the development of the Estonian startup ecosystem through giving impetus to the emergence of startups and international success stories. The Startup Estonia program is implemented by the joint institution of Enterprise Estonia and Kredex. The Startup Estonia program is financed from the European Regional Development Fund.

Source: BNS

(Reproduction of BNS information in mass media and other websites without written consent of BNS is prohibited.)

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