Immigration. Travel. Living.

Estonia: about the work and living

Flag of Estonia

The IT sector is developing successfully in Estonia, the average salary exceeds 1000 euros per month.

Living in this country for foreigners will allow them to obtain Estonian citizenship in the future and stay in the European Union forever. The country has very beautiful nature with many parks, forests, and lakes. We will talk further about prices and cost of living, taxes, specifics of employment, salaries, education, medicine, the pros and cons of living in Estonia.

 

Work and salary

Residents and citizens of the European Union have the primary right to work in Estonia. Foreigners can take up a vacancy in the Estonian labor market only if the required specialist is not available among the above categories. Another condition is obtaining a work permit in Estonia. There are rare exceptions, for example, for university teachers, athletes, seasonal workers in agriculture, and some other professions.

It is easiest for foreigners to find work in Tallinn, where over 60% of the open jobs in the country are concentrated. Unemployment in Estonia is kept at 3-4%. To find a job successfully, you must have a high level of qualifications, sufficient experience, relevant education, and know the Estonian language. Knowledge of only English significantly reduces the chances. Programmers, builders, drivers, doctors, and technicians are in demand in the country.

Fairly high quality of life here is ensured, including through wages, which today are higher than in some developed European countries. According to the local statistical office, the minimum wage in Estonia in 2020 is 584 euros per month. The average salary is € 1,404 per month and after taxes € 1,160. Depending on the region, salaries in Estonia range from 996 to 1,546 euros per month.

Higher education

The Estonian higher education system comprises 25 educational institutions, including 6 public universities, 8 public professional universities, 1 private university, 8 private professional universities, and 2 public professional institutions. More than 130 training programs are presented in English.

The best universities in Estonia include Tartu and Tallinn universities. Requirements for international students for admission depend on the specific educational institution. In addition to language skills and a high school diploma, exams, tests, and interviews are very often provided. The average cost of studying at an Estonian university varies from 1.7 to 7.5 thousand euros per year.

Medicine

Estonia has a health insurance system that allows everyone to use the services of a family doctor free of charge. For home visits only, there is a symbolic fee of about 5 euros. 

Without a referral from a family doctor, you can visit a psychiatrist, gynecologist, ophthalmologist, dentist, pulmonologist (for the treatment of tuberculosis), an infection specialist (for the treatment of HIV / AIDS), a surgeon or orthopedist (for traumatology). As in most countries in the world, dental care in Estonia is expensive and not covered by the Health Insurance Fund.

The average life expectancy at birth in Estonia in 2020 is 78 years, while men live about 73 years and women 82.

Pros and cons of living

Nowadays, more than a million people live in Estonia. The largest city and capital of the state, Tallinn, has about 453.3 thousand inhabitants, of which 38% are ethnic Russians. Let’s highlight the positive and negative aspects of living in Estonian territory.

people walking on street near brown concrete building during nighttime

Advantages of living

  • According to the World Health Organization, Estonia has the best air quality in the world after Finland. This is a very spacious and safe country.
  • A stable economy with a developed information and innovation sector makes it possible to conduct a successful business in Estonia. According to the Doing Business agency, in 2020, out of 190 countries of the world, the Estonian state ranks 16th in terms of accessibility to opening and ease of doing business.
  • There are galleries and theaters in Estonia, and many cultural events are held, including fairs, concerts, and festivals.
  • Estonia boasts the most widespread digital services in the world.
  • The inhabitants of Estonia are calm people, mostly speaking English.

Cons of living

  • Some Estonians are extremely nationalistic.
  • Proficiency in the Estonian language is often required for a successful job search.
  • Here is rainy and cloudy weather with humid air prevails (especially in winter). Therefore, many foreigners lack sun and warmth.
  • Recently, the cost of living in Estonia has increased significantly.
  • Prices and cost of living in Estonia

Compared to most Western European countries, living in Estonia is quite cheap. Even in Tallinn, housing and food prices are quite reasonable. Renting a one-room apartment in Estonia in the central part of the city will cost about 495 euros, and in remote areas about 340. The price of one square meter of real estate in the center is 2,415 euros, and out of town 1,460 euros.

Prices in 2021

  • Bread (500 gr) – 0.86 euros
  • Milk (1 liter) – 0.71 euros
  • Eggs (12 pcs.) – 1.59 euros
  • Chicken breast (1 kg) – 5.30 euros
  • Potatoes (1 kg) – 0.48 euros
  • Estonian cheese (1 kg) – 7.32 euros
  • Bananas (1 kg) – 1.04 euros
  • Apples (1 kg) – 1.14 euros
  • Gasoline (1 liter) – 1.37 euros
  • Taxi (1 km) – € 0.50
  • Public transport – 2 euros
  • Monthly travel pass – 23 euros
  • Utilities (85 sq. M.) – 177 euros per month
  • Mobile communication (minute) – 0.04 euros
  • Internet – 22.68 euros per month

Note. Above are the average price indicators collected in different cities in Estonia.

 

Taxes

Estonia has a clear and efficient tax system with low rates. Almost all banking and financial transactions in the country are carried out online, including the payment of taxes. Every year, about 95 percent of all tax returns are filed electronically.

With the help of a special ID card, the company registration procedure can be carried out literally within a few hours. Estonian corporate tax is levied only on dividend payments.

Tax rates in 2021

  • Corporate income tax – 20% (in case of profit distribution)
  • VAT – 20%. For some activities, reduced rates are provided – 9% (pharmaceutical products, medical equipment for the disabled, books (excluding e-books), newspapers and periodicals, hotel accommodation) and 0% (passenger, urban and international transportation)
  • Income tax – 20%
  • Social contributions – 33% (employer), including 13% goes to the health insurance fund and 20% goes to pension insurance
  • Insurance premium to the unemployment fund – 1.6% (employee) and 0.8% (employer)
  • Pension contribution – 2% (employee)
  • As of 1 January 2018, the total tax-free amount (basic exemption) in Estonia is 6,000 euros per year or 500 euros per month.

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