Estonia urges changes for employment of foreigners; businessmen worried


Businessmen in Estonia are prepared to support Interior Minister Mart Helme’s proposed changes for attraction of foreign workforce. However, it is noted that proposals will not achieve anything.

Amendments were proposed to reduce illegal employment and they provide for delegating the task of proving legal employment to businessmen.

Estonian Employers’ Confederation and Estonian Chamber of Commerce and Industry are confident that changes to the law are needed to reduce the number of violations involving employment of foreigners in Estonia and motivate both employees and their employers to comply with the law. However, both organizations do not consider the minister’s proposed changes as the best option to accomplish the goal.

There are also other organizations that oppose Helme’s proposals.

They believe amendments are nothing more than a rushed draft, as requirements are hard to understand for both companies and their supervisors. On top of that, not enough research has been performed in regards to the possible effect amendments could have.
«It remains incomprehensible as to what kind of problem we want to solve, i.e. what kind of schemes are being used to solve foreign labor issues,» says Arto Aas, representative of Estonian Employers’ Confederation.

Concerns are also voiced that amendments to the law will only increase the existing administrative burden.

«For example, prime contractors, who do not hire foreign workers themselves, but who, according to the draft, could be classified as user companies, would, under the draft, become responsible for subcontractors by controlling other companies’ contracts with foreign workers and the related payment of taxes. However, this is essentially impossible for them to do,» said Mait Palts, director general of Estonian Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

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