Skip to main content
European Commission logo
European Website on Integration
15 January 2024

Estonia: Impact of the war in Ukraine on labour migration

Flag of Estonia

The ongoing war in Ukraine has changed the landscape of labour migration to Estonia. Foreign workers from Ukraine, Belarus and Russia, who have dominated the country's migrant worker population in the past, are being replaced by a much more diverse influx of workers from countries in Central Asia.

These changes are caused by the sanctions adopted by the Estonian government following the outbreak of the war in Ukraine, which restrict both Russian and Belarusian citizens from working and moving to Estonia. Another factor is the ban on military personnel in Ukraine leaving the country, as well as current economic difficulties across the region. All in all, this has led to a 79% decrease in short-term employment in Estonia in comparison with 2021. The share of the migrant labour force comprising people from Ukraine has now fallen to just a third, and citizens of Uzbekistan and Moldova have overtaken those from Russia and Belarus as the largest migrant worker groups.

Further, the number of residence permits granted for work in Estonia has increased overall. Compared with figures from 2021, almost 1 000 more residence permits were issued as of November 2023, according to the Police and Border Guard Board. In terms of nationalities being granted residence permits for work, Ukraine still dominates (42%), but Uzbekistan has replaced Russia.

According to Statistics Estonia, the population of Estonia increased by 2% last year due to the influx of people displaced by war. The number of refugees has thus had a significant impact on labour supply.


Publication dates
Geographic area
Posted by
Kristjan Kaldur
Country Coordinator

Related content

Luxembourg: Plénière du Ronnen Desch

La 14e session plénière du Ronnen Desch, rencontre des acteurs du " vivre ensemble", se tiendra le 12 mars. Réunissant tous ceux qui sont et se

Table ronde multilinguisme au Luxembourg

Le multilinguisme est souvent vanté comme une caractéristique du Grand Duché, voir un avantage. Quid des côtés ombre, à savoir celles et ceux qui ne
More content