Estonia to have a dedicated centre for expat professionals

Six Estonian institutions and the city of Tallinn will open the International House of Estonia by the end of 2018 in the capital’s Ülemiste City area – the idea is to help expat specialists with information and services in one place.

The International House of Estonia will aim to provide non-native specialists all the information about the services provided by the state and the city.

According to Enterprise Estonia, one of the institutions behind the initiative, there is a shortage of senior specialists everywhere and Estonia is competing with all the other European states in attracting talent to the country. The founders hope the establishment of the International House may tip the scales in Estonia’s favour in the decision-making process of the non-native talent.

The rather ambitious plan is that the International House would provide several different services.

Newcomers to Estonia would be able to register their place of residence and create an Estonian personal identification code (carried by a personal, digital, ID-card). The Integration Foundation and advisers from the city of Tallinn would provide information about general practitioners, vacancies in kindergartens and schools and language learning. A migration adviser from the Police and Border Guard Board would help prepare residence permit documents and the Tax and Customs Board would be offering group consultations on taxes.

In addition, the Unemployment Insurance Fund would offer career counselling to the other halves of the non-native specialists.

Making life easier for businesses

The International House should also make life easier for businesses that depend on the smooth hiring of foreign workforce. According to Sten Tamkivi, the chief product officer of the technology company, Topia, Estonian startups are creating more jobs than before. Since more international talents move to Estonia to take up many of these jobs, entrepreneurs must specifically spend time on finding a general practitioner, helping enroll their kids to a school or teaching them to declare taxes.

By having all the required services and advice in one place, specialists would no longer be required to run between different institutions across Tallinn. “We believe that simple procedures help make the working and living environment so desirable that increasingly more senior specialists wish to move to Estonia,” Kadi Pärnits, the chairwoman of Mainor AS – the developer behind the Ülemiste City, where over a thousand non-native residents work daily – said in a statement.

Tamkivi added that the faster a foreign specialist gets acclimated in the working environment, the faster they can commence working. “And thereby, the faster they get to be a member of the Estonian society who gratefully contributes to it.”

The opening of the International House of Estonia is led by the Enterprise Estonia’s programme, Work in Estonia, and is conducted in cooperation with Mainor AS.


Cover: One of the buildings in the Ülemiste City (the image is illustrative).

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About the author: Silver Tambur

Silver Tambur is the cofounder and Editor-in-Chief of Estonian World. He has previously studied journalism at the University of Tartu, and Politics & Society at the Birkbeck College, University of London. Silver has been the editor at the Estonian Public Broadcasting’s news service in English, as well as contributing for the Business Sense magazine in the UK, Deutsche Welle and Radio New Zealand. You can also follow him on Twitter. You can write to Silver at