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Four steps for Estonian Startups to hire international talent outside the EU – a guest post by Startup Estonia

Startup Estonia Latitude 59 blog post

Latitude59 brings together startups from Estonia, and beyond. One of the most important problems they all face, is the lack of people in the IT workforce. Startup Visa comes in handy to help ease that problem. 

Estonian startups can use the Startup Visa program to hire talent from outside the European Union. It has been an important tool that has enabled many Estonian startups to grow rapidly.

The Estonian Startup Visa program is used by all major Estonian startups to hire talented people outside the EU. Last year alone, 925 employees were hired through the Startup Visa program. The largest number of employees came from Russia, India, Brazil, and Ukraine.

No doubt, international talent is helping Estonian startups to grow. Since the beginning of the Startup Visa program in 2017, Estonian startups have recruited 3162 professionals with the Estonian Startup Visa. Startup Visa has been consistent in creating bridges: in total 4030 people have used the Estonian Startup Visa program in the past 5 years.

How can I do it?

Applying for a startup visa for your company is easy! We have outlined four steps that you can take to hire people outside the EU.

1. Make sure your company matches the definition of a startup

A company that has an innovative, repeatable business model with fast global growth potential can apply for the Startup Status and kick off their Startup Visa process. Additionally, in Estonia, we have agreed to regard startups as companies that have been active for up to ten years.

2. Apply for joining the Startup Visa program

If your company matches the criteria of a startup, it’s time to apply for a Startup Status at the Startup Visa website:

124 startups can skip this step, as they have been already added to the pre-included list of startups

3. Your application is reviewed by the Startup Committee within ten business days
Startup Committee, consisting of members of the Estonian startup community, will review the application about your startup and make a decision within 10 working days whether your company qualifies for the startup visa or not. 

At Startup Estonia, we have also agreed that if a company wants to hire talent from Ukraine, we will review the application ahead of others within 1 to 2 business days.

In case of a positive decision, your startup will generally be qualified for up to 5 years for bringing non-EU employees to Estonia on preferential terms. Congratulations!

4. Hire the talent you need!
After you have been approved for the Startup Visa program, the talent you need to hire from outside the EU can apply for a residence permit or a visa for working at your company through the Estonian Police and Border Guard Board or at an Estonian embassy. All questions regarding migration can be answered by Migration consultants in Estonian Police and Border Guard Board. 

Read more about the Estonian Startup Visa:

And come and say to Startup Estonia’s team at the MeetEstonia Area at Latitude59 2022 – they’re happy to answer all your questions about the startup ecosystem in Estonia!

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