Minister wants to bring 500 foreign ICT workers to Estonia next year

The Estonian government is planning on bringing at least 500 new people working in the information and communications technology (ICT) sector to Estonia under the "Work in Estonia" program next year, Minister of Entrepreneurship and Information Technology Urve Palo (SDE) said on Tuesday.

In accordance with the action plan for bringing in foreigners, at least 8,000 specialists from other countries will have found work in Estonia by 2020, of whom at least 2,000 top specialists will be working in the ICT sector, spokespeople for the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications said - writes err.ee.

Palo said that ten years from now, almost one-tenth fewer people will be living in Estonia and there will be 60,000 fewer employees. The greatest shortfall, according to the forecast, will be seen in ICT top level specialists; there will also be difficulties finding top technology specialists and doctors.

"We will put significant emphasis on bringing ICT specialists here in the first place," Palo said. "As demand for them is very high, they are exempted from the quota and their pay significantly exceeds the Estonian average, sometimes even many times over. We are planning to lure at least 500 new workers in the ICT field to Estonia in 2018 already."

According to the minister, if a country wants to be competitive in the international fight for foreign specialists, a comprehensive approach must be taken to all aspects involved in a foreign national's road to their new place of residence and their adapting there.

She emphasized that in addition to attracting specialists to Estonia, their adaptation in the country is important for the specialist and society as a whole alike and must definitely be addressed as well.

"In addition to basic needs, we must also pay attention to additional needs, such as language learning, cultural traditions, and healthcare services, in order for it to be easier and more convenient for a foreigner to live in Estonia," Palo said, adding that families' needs must also be taken into account.

The program's budget for the next three years is to be €10 million. Activities to be performed under the program include recruitment, the creation of materials promoting Estonia, improving the availability of public services, inclusion services for families and raising the awareness of entrepreneurs.

The government committee on economic development on Tuesday backed a plan to bring more IT specialists from other countries to work and live in Estonia. The government committee approved the main lines of an action plan titled "Work in Estonia," presented by Palo, which focus primarily on bringing IT specialists into Estonia, but also offer solutions for other sectors.

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