IOM Today

An intergovernmental organization established in 1951, IOM is committed to the principle that humane and orderly migration benefits migrants and society.

  • 157 Members and more than 100 observers
  • More than 480 field locations
  • More than 8,400 staff working on more than 2,600 projects
  • More than US$ 1.3 billion expenditures in 2013

Warning - Internet Scams

Beware of fraudulent offers of migration assistance in the internet or email marketing.

Individuals considering migrating for whatever purpose or destination should take extreme caution in dealing with internet offers or email marketing in light of recent surge in fraudulent schemes.

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Capital Tallinn
Population (2013): 1.3 million
Area:  45,227 km sq
Languages :  Estonian, Russian
Currency:  Euro (EUR)
GDP per Capita PPP  (2013): USD 25,049
HDI Rank (2013): 33 of 187
Remittances (2013 estimate):  USD 455 million
Net Migration Rate (2010-2015):     0 migrants/1,000 population
Immigrants (2013):  16.3%
Women as a Percentage of Immigrants  (2013): 59.8%
Population under 15 (2013): 16%
Adult HIV Prevalence (2013):  1.30%
Sources and Definitions


Estonian migration policy has been stable but restrictive towards immigration since Estonia gained its independence in 1991. Most immigrants come to Estonia to join their spouses and close relatives. In 2011 majority of residence permits have been issued on the grounds of labour and family ties.

There has been no sudden increase of immigration in connection with Estonia's accession to the European Union (EU). After Estonia joined the Schengen common visa area in 2007, there has been an increase in individuals showing interest in obtaining Schengen travel documents via Estonia's representations abroad.

The national inbound labour immigration quota has remained stable for a number of years. In 2008, the quota was increased from 0.05 per cent to 0.10 per cent of the total population, leading to roughly 1,300 people being accepted annually for labour migration purposes. The outbound labour migration has been increasing due to the economic recession with many Estonians emigrating primarily to other EU member states.

From 1997 to July 2012, Estonia received 332 asylum applications out of which 63 have received international protection. Main countries of origin are the Russian Federation, Afghanistan, Iraq Turkey, Georgia, and Belarus.

Facilitating Migration


IOM Estonia has initiated a post-arrival Cultural Orientation training programme for asylum seekers and refugees in Estonia on the practicalities of the local life. The primary objective of the programme is to promote the smoother stay and later integration of refugees into Estonian society. On the other side, emphasis is also put on the overall quality of the reception system of asylum seekers on the national and also municipal level.


  • Capacity Building of Stakeholders in Asylum Process: From Procedures to Cultural Orientation (CAP-CO)

Regulating Migration


Assisted Voluntary Return and Reintegration (AVRR) is a key tool in regulating migration and aims at the orderly, humane, and cost effective return of migrants, who wish to return voluntarily to their countries of origin. IOM Tallinn started implementing an AVRR programme in Estonia in 2010. Return and reintegration services are offered to migrants who wish to return voluntarily to their countries of origin. Assisted migrants include asylum seekers and irregular migrants.


  • Voluntary Assisted Return and Reintegration in Estonia (VARRE)

Last updated:
Main text: August 2012
Facts and figures: September 2014

Migration Initiatives


Public Sector