Estonia and Japan agree a visa-free working holiday arrangement

The Estonian parliament, Riigikogu, has ratified a new legislation that allows Estonia and Japan to issue multiple entry working holiday visas to their citizens of 18 to 30 years of age with the duration of up to one year.  

The bilateral agreement allows both Japanese and Estonian young adults to work without previously registering their visa with the border authorities in their respective countries. The Japanese government will determine the number of visas that may be issued to Estonian citizens annually.

An overwhelming number of Estonian MPs – 79 – voted in favour of the act; the agreement will enter into force 120 days after Estonia notifies Japan of the completion of the necessary procedures for issuing working holiday visas to Japanese citizens.

In 2018, the Japanese prime minister, Shinzō Abe, told Estonian daily, Eesti Päevaleht, that he hoped the two countries would agree a working holiday programme as soon as possible.

It is hoped that the agreement will encourage more frequent contacts between Estonia and Japan and support youth tourism. Currently, approximately 100,000 Japanese tourists visit Estonia every year. According to Tallinn-based Japanese expats, Estonia’s reputation in Japan is very positive. Unlike in many other places, Estonia is perceived as a Nordic country in Japan.

Estonia has previously concluded similar agreements with Australia, New Zealand and Canada.

Cover: Japanese women in Senso-ji temple, Tokyo, in March 2019. Photo by Sofia Monteiro on Unsplash.

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