International students and graduates contribute over €13 million in Estonia

According to Statistics Estonia, during the academic year of 2019/2020, international students paid €10 million and international graduates paid more than €3 million in income and social tax in Estonia.

In academic year 2019/2020, there were 5,520 international degree students studying in Estonian universities, which was the highest number ever. According to Statistics Estonia, about half of the international students worked.

“Income and social tax paid for working international students in academic year 2019/2020 amounted to 10 million euros, which is 2 million euros more than the year before. International students who graduated in academic year 2018/2019 contributed an additional 3.6 million euros in taxes,” Estonia’s official statistics agency said in a statement.

ICT students more likely to work

Eero Loonurm, the head of the Study in Estonia programme at the country’s Education and Youth Authority, said the contribution of international students to the Estonian economy “outweighs state investments in their studies”.

“In addition to international students and graduates participating in the labour market and the tax revenue from it, their studies in Estonia also mean tuition, living costs and visits to Estonia by their families,” Loonurm said in a statement. He cited an International Student Barometer study that showed the expenditures of international students on housing and daily life totalled around €33 million in the last academic year.

A group of international students at Tallinn University. Photo by Tallinn University.

Statistics Estonia’s research showed the international students mostly likely to work are those who study information and communication technology; engineering, manufacturing and construction; and business, administration and law. The least likely to work during studies are students of agriculture and health and welfare. Compared with local students, international students work more often in foreign-owned enterprises.

The study also showed the graduates of ICT and engineering, manufacturing and construction are more likely to stay working in Estonia.

Cover: International students at Tallinn University. Photo by Tallinn University.

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