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Working is important for the personal fulfilment of each person and for increasing each person’s ability to cope. Considering Estonian demographic trends, it is very important to promote an inclusive labour market where everyone can participate.

The national labour market policy provides support with a wide range of services and allowances. It is important to invest in skills, support target groups whose position is weaker on the labour market and help people stay longer in employment.

Employment services

The Estonian Unemployment Insurance Fund provides employment services in its regional offices. The employment services are provided to:

  • unemployed persons and persons seeking employment for finding a job and promoting professional development;
  • employed persons for promoting professional development;
  • employers for finding employees.

Additional information is available on the website of the Unemployment Insurance Fund or telephone number 15501. 


Employment subsidies and benefits

A variety of benefits and allowances are intended for the people who have lost their job, which help to partially compensate for the lost income and improve the ability to cope during the job search. The unemployed persons are paid the unemployment insurance benefit or the unemployment benefit.

More detailed information concerning the unemployment benefits and allowances is available on the website of the Unemployment Insurance Fund or by telephone at 15501.

Employment mediation

Employment mediation means finding suitable work for a person seeking work and offering necessary employees for an employer. Employment mediation services are provided, in addition to the Unemployment Insurance Fund, also by undertakings. The activities of the undertakings, acting as employment intermediaries, are regulated by:


For information to employment intermediaries and persons seeking work

  • An undertaking must submit a notice of economic activities to the register of economic activities to act as an employment intermediary. A list of all undertakings with an effective notice of economic activities is available here.
  • The notice of economic activities must be submitted to the register of economic activities prior to the commencement of economic activities. The notice can be submitted directly to the register of economic activities by logging in to the website via ID card or by entering through the Estonian information gateway It is possible to submit the notice of economic activities also by e-mail or mail, by sending it to the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications, who is the chief processor of the register of economic activities. In such a case, a state fee must be paid. It is also possible to submit notices through a notary, in the case of which a notary fee must be paid.
  • It is prohibited to charge a fee for information concerning vacant positions and employers from a person seeking work (Section 39 of the Labour Market Services and Benefits Act). It is prohibited to charge a fee for any activities related to employment mediation, for instance also for the disclosure of information concerning vacant positions and for notification of living and working conditions. It is allowed to charge a fee from a person seeking work for other expenses related to going to work (for instance for plane tickets or visas). In such a case, the employment intermediary must be able to certify those expenses. The employment intermediary has a right to charge a fee for the employment mediation only from the employer or other undertaking. 

Useful links


Working abroad

As citizens of a Member State of the European Union, all citizens of Estonia have a right to work in the other Member States of the European Union, in the States of the European Economic Area (Norway, Iceland , Lichtenstein) and Switzerland. A work permit is usually required for working outside the European Union and the European Economic Area.

When considering starting employment abroad, it must be taken into account that there are different working and living conditions in each country and information must be searched with regard to a specific country.

Additional information

In case problems arise with the employer while working abroad, you can turn to the competent authority of the respective country that inspects working conditions. For instance, if the problem has arisen in Estonia, it is possible to turn to the Labour Inspectorate. One can receive information on the question of which authority deals with those questions in a specific country through the network of EURES.

Additional information

  • In the case of problems with the employment intermediary or the employer, non-profit association Living for Tomorrow can also help. 

Last updated: 7 June 2017