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Estonia: Employed international students contribute more than 10 Million Euros in taxes

A new analysis about the participation of international students in the Estonian labour market and its impact on the economy came out. The international students have paid EUR 8 Million in income and social tax in Estonia. Graduates from the previous year contributed with EUR 2 Million and the share of international students who work while studying is on the rise in the last three years. A half of them stayed working in Estonia after graduation. It is estimated that in total international students contribute EUR 20 Million to the Estonian economy, as it was explained by Eero Loonurm, head of the international marketing agency at Archimedes Foundation. He also added that one of the indicators in the strategy for international promotion of Estonian higher education is employment in Estonia after graduation. Their goal is to have 30% of international graduates in Master’s or PhD studies continue working in Estonia.

Some figures:

  • Approximately a half of international students in Estonia work besides studying, compared to over 80% of local students.
  • The share of international students who after graduation stay in Estonia for work has slightly increased in the last two years: in 2017, it was 45%, and in 2018, it was 51%.
  • The share of working international students is smallest in integrated study programmes. Only a few international students in these programmes work besides studying, as opposed to around 80% of local students. Compared to other levels of study, international students in Bachelor’s studies work less.
  • The share of international students with a Master’s or Doctoral degree who worked immediately after graduation was 56% in academic year 2016/2017 and 58% in 2017/2018.
  • The most likely to continue working in Estonia after finishing studies are international students of Tallinn University and Tallinn University of Technology.
  • The most likely to work besides studying are international students in information and communication technologies; engineering, manufacturing and construction; and business, administration and law (two thirds of international students in these fields worked in academic year 2018/2019). Graduates in the same fields also stay working in Estonia more frequently compared to others. A contributing factor could be that there are many enterprises offering an international work setting for graduates of these fields.
  • For years, international students have mainly worked in administrative and support service, accommodation and food service and information and communication enterprises.
  • Compared to local students, international students are more likely to work in enterprises in foreign ownership.
  • In academic year 2018/2019, international students in Estonia paid 2.4 million euros in income tax and 5.6 million euros in social tax.
  • International students in information and communication enterprises contributed the most (total income tax paid in academic year 2018/2019 was 0.73 million euros). The contribution of foreign graduates was also largest in this economic activity.
  • In 2018/2019, international students who graduated in 2017/2018 paid 0.9 million euros in income tax and 1.9 million euros in social tax in Estonia.