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10s of Thousands of Estonians Hope to Work in Finland

A survey by Estonia's Ministry of Social Affairs estimates that around 40,000 Estonians would be ready to move to Finland if they could find suitable jobs.

Moni virolainen suunnittelee lähtevänsä töihin ulkomaille huonon työllisyystilanteen takia. Kuva kaupan kassalta Tallinnassa.
Image: EPA/ Valda Kalnina

According to the study, around 80,000 people in Estonia would be interesting in moving abroad to live and work. More than 40,000 say that they have decided to move as soon as they can find suitable jobs. Their first preference would be Finland.

Estonian Social Affairs Ministry Analyst Liina Malk says that many of the young are especially keen to move abroad because of poor employment opportunities at home. The latest statistics show that one in three young adults under the age of 24 in Estonia is unemployed. However, most lack the language and professional skills needed to move and work abroad.

The Estonian government does not consider emigration a problem. The government's view is that citizens who live and work abroad will acquire experiences and skills that will be useful for the nation when they return home.

As of May 1st, it will be easier for Estonians and citizens of many other eastern European countries to work in countries such as Germany, Austria and Switzerland, as they will no longer need work permits.

For example, a German employment agency is currently seeking 600 nurses in Estonia, but few have the language skills required.

Finland, on the other hand, is an especially attractive alternative for Estonians because the languages are closely related.

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