International students contribute €10m to Estonia economy

International students contribute €10m to Estonia economy

International students in Estonia have contributed over €10 million euros to the country’s economy, a Statistics Estonia study has revealed.

Estonia has over 5,000 international students, with a tenth of all students registered hailing from another country.

Statistics Estonia prepared an analysis for Archimedes Foundation on the participation of international students in the Estonian labour market and its impact on the economy.

Looking to the last academic year, international students contributed €8 million euros in income and social tax in Estonia. This is broken down as €2.4 million euros in income tax and €5.6 million euros in social tax.

Over the last three years, the number of foreign students in Estonia who work alongside studying has increased significantly; about half of them continue to work in Estonia after completing their course.

Eero Loonurm, Head of the International Marketing Agency at Archimedes Foundation, told Global Education Times:

“Foreign students who get accustomed to life in Estonia during their studies could contribute to the local labour market and economy also after graduation. Considering that the money foreign students earn is also spent in Estonia, it can be estimated that, in the previous academic year, international students contributed around 20 million euros to the economy.”

Loonurm added that one of the indicators in the strategy for the international promotion of Estonian higher education is employment in Estonia after graduate. The objective is that 30% of international students in Master or Doctoral studies would continue working in Estonia.

Estonia an increasingly popular destination for international students

Speaking to Global Education Times about increasing international student numbers in Estonia, Loonurm stated that those students who are interested in pursuing education-related careers are attracted to Estonia due to their PISA test results – the best in Europe – and so take the opportunity to learn from them.

The country appeals to a variety of different students from different home countries:

“Some students want to know how we have become the country we are and how we have developed from the 90s to a country like we are. These students could be interest in political sciences, technology governance, business administration, international relations.

“Another group would want to learn something new and get to know more about e-development – beginning from digital signatures ending with electronic coting and e-residency.”

The vast majority of international students heading to Estonia opt to study IT related subjects.

International students take up a variety of jobs in Estonia

The study indicated that international students have mainly worked in administrative and support service, accommodation and food service and information and communication enterprises. When compared to local students, international students are more likely to work in enterprises in foreign ownership.

Considering the subject of study, those working alongside study were most likely to be studying information and communication technologies; engineering, manufacturing and construction; and business, administration and law (two thirds of international students in these fields worked in the last academic year).

Work flexibility for international students a “selling point”

It isn’t just alongside studies that students are opting to work. International students graduating the year before contributed an additional over two million euros.

The breakdown of this €0.9 million euros of income tax and 1.9 million euros of social tax paid by international graduates in Estonia in 2018/19 by those graduating in 2017/18.

Loonurm told GET News: “when international students graduate, they can stay in Estonia for nine months to find a job. And yes, it is a selling point for prospective students.

“International students in Estonia don’t need an additional work permit to work while studying full time and they are allowed to work as much as they want on the condition that it does not interfere with their studies.

“Students have to receive passing grades for full-time courses and finish studies within the nominal time.”

The analysis covered international students and graduates in the academic years from 2016/17 to 2018/19 who has Estonian ID codes and were entered into the Estonian Education Information System.

Pic: Karson

Hari Srinivasan - Managing Editor, Global Education Times (GET News)

Hari is the Managing Editor of Global Education Times. Hari has clocked nearly a decade working as a communications professional with a focus on the education sector. He has also had stints in journalism and advertising in a career which has seen him live, study, and work, in three countries.
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