There is a significant increase in the number of people who justify their need to obtain a residence permit in Estonia by being a registered member of the board of the company. In order to avoid misuse of this type of residence Minister of the Interior sets the specific permits limit to 580.
"Threshold shall prevent misuse of the system by people who are not going to work in Estonia, but just want an opportunity to enter the Schengen area," said Minister of the Interior Ken-Marti Vaher. "For legitimate businesses the opportunity to employ a foreigner as a board member in Estonia shall remain," he added.
In 2008 237 temporary residence permits were issued for a member of the governing body. In 2009 the same number was 338. In 2010 Estonia issued temporary residence permits for a total of 712 corporate members of the governing body. By the 8th of July this year we have already issued 580 temporary residence permits for members of the governing body according to the immigration quota.
The Police and the Border Guard Board has identified several instances of misuse of the law, where the company was founded probably in order to get a work permit as a member of the governing body. Typically, a company founded just before the application for residence and business action in reality does not take place.
Under the limit set by the permit system this year there will be no more temporary residence issued for foreigners that want to work in Estonia as a member of governing body.
We advise not write new applications this year. What about applications already in process?
Foreigners who already have a pending application for a residence permit in Estonia as a member of the Governing Body and who are the subject to immigration quota may submit an application to withdraw their residence permit application.
The application can be submitted via email firstname.lastname@example.org or by post at Endla 13, Tallinn 15179th
If the foreigner does not submit such an application the Police and Border Guard Board shall refuse to grant the temporary residence permit according to the Aliens Act § 123 p 4.
The head of aliens division in the citizenship and migration department of the Police and Border Guard Board Liis Valk suggest not to file new applications for a temporary residence permit to work as a member of the governing body this year, as the quota for 2011 has been reached.
Foreigners can apply for a visa in order to work as a member of the board in Estonia.
"For the rest of this year foreigners should apply for a visa in order to work as a member of the company`s governing body. With a visa foreigners are allowed to work in Estonia as a member of the governing body for up to six months during the period of one year.” Valk also said that in this case pre-registration is not required. To apply for a visa one must turn to a foreign representation of Estonia. Information about a long-stay visa can be found here.
In 2011 annual immigration quota was 0.075% of the permanent population of Estonia, summing up to 1008. The immigration quota does not apply to citizens of the United States and Japan. The free movement of labor extends to all European Union citizens and they can find a job and start working in Estonia at any time.