Today’s sitting of the Riigikogu discussed establishing more flexible regulations on work- and study-related migration from third countries, which would, among other aspects, simplify the involvement of Ukrainian refugees in the labor market. The passing of the bill would mean giving up the requirement of average salary and introducing other amendments simplifying immigration.
The debate of the government-introduced amendments bill to the Aliens Act and the Act on Granting International Protection to Aliens was suspended as the sitting was concluded and will continue tomorrow at 2 p.m.
The bill was drafted in order to ensure the presence in Estonia and the studying and residence in Estonia of aliens who contribute to Estonia’s development and whose presence corresponds to public interest and the needs of Estonia’s labor market. It is also meant to monitor the observing of terms for aliens’ employment.
The purpose of the bill is to adjust the regulation of aliens’ working in Estonia and the terms of aliens’ stay, studying and immigration, considering the constantly changing environment and the resulting new requirements as well as the goals defined in various official development plans.
The purpose of Estonia’s immigration policy is promoting the entry of aliens who contribute to the society on the one hand and preventing abuse of residence permits and visas and illegal immigration on the other hand, so as to ensure law and order, public safety and national security.
The submitted amendments include, in addition to issues concerning refugees, the dropping of the hitherto existing requirement of paying national average salary to citizens of third countries and the inclusion in legislation of a separate category of startup enterprise exempted from the average salary requirement. There are further amendments promoting migration from third countries.
Entrepreneurs in favor, EKRE against
The Estonian Chamber of Commerce and Industry invited the Riigikogu last year to approve as soon as possible the amendment proposals to the Aliens Act, related to refugees from Ukraine. But Isamaa party has strongly criticized the bill, arguing that the coalition is exploiting the war in Ukraine and is attempting to use the law amendments to destroy the principles of Estonia’s migration policy.
EKRE also spoke out against the bill today and voiced its intention to use «all measures of parliamentary democracy» to prevent the passing of the amendments, since the party believes that these do not concern the Ukrainian refugees but will promote the immigration of cheap labor from third countries.