976 kms from home
Read more
2,550 kms from home
Read more
9,967 kms from home
Read more
13,703 kms from home
Read more



Estonian migration policy has been stable but restrictive towards immigration since gaining independence from the Soviet Union in 1991. There has been no sudden increase of immigration in connection with Estonia's accession to the European Union (EU) and joining the Schengen common visa area. Instead there has been an increase of Estonian labour migration to other EU countries, particularly to Finland. In 2014, the number of people emigrated from Estonia (4,637) exceeded the number of immigrants to Estonia (3,904). However, emigration in 2014 has decreased by 30 per cent compared to 2013. Most immigrants come to Estonia to join their spouses and close relatives.

Between 2005 and 2013, a total of 39,000 people migrated to Estonia, of whom 14,000 were Estonian citizens returning home and 25,000 were foreigners, which includes 18,000 migrants outside of EU. Recently more attention has been paid to attracting and managing the flow of highly skilled professionals to Estonia. Within this, more focus is also put on foreign students and their stay in Estonia after studies.

Estonia is among the countries receiving the lowest number of asylum seekers in Europe. From 1997 to May 2015, a total of 709 asylum applications have been lodged in Estonia, out of which 114 have received international protection. Main countries of origin of asylum seekers are the Russian Federation, Georgia, Ukraine, Syria and Afghanistan.

Estonia was IOM Observer State from 1998 and became a Member State in 2004.

Facilitating Migration


  • European Commission, through the European Refugee Fund / Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund
  • Ministry of the Interior, Estonia

Migrant Integration. IOM Estonia in cooperation with its partners has been focusing on the reception and integration of third country nationals, particularly beneficiaries of international protection. Respective Cultural Orientation trainings have been provided for asylum seekers and refugees in Estonia on the practicalities of local life. The primary objective of the trainings has been to promote the smoother stay and later integration of refugees into Estonian society.

Attention is also paid to the improvement of the overall quality of the reception system of asylum seekers on the national and municipal levels. IOM Estonia recognizes the importance of public attitudes towards migrants and has been implementing public awareness raising projects.

Regulating Migration


  • European Commission, through the European Refugee Fund / Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund
  • Ministry of the Interior, Estonia

Border and Migration Management. IOM has been assisting the Government of Estonia via capacity building of migration officials and by enhancing the capacity of the Estonian asylum system. The activities have been involving study visits, seminars, workshops, quality initiatives. The projects within the international protection umbrella have been implemented in cooperation with the UNHCR.

Return Assistance to Migrants and Governments. 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 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.

Counter-Trafficking. The accession to the Schengen zone has made Estonia an attractive transit country, and it still remains as a country of origin for human trafficking. While no active projects are run at the moment, IOM in Estonia keeps close partnerships with respective local stakeholders and participates in various consultations.


Last updated:
Main text: September 2015
Facts and figures: September 2015

Population (2015):1.3 million
Area:45,227 km sq
Languages:Estonian, Russian
Currency:Euro (EUR)
GDP per Capita PPP (2014):USD 26,355
HDI Rank (2014):30 of 188
Remittances (2014 estimate):USD 476 million
Net Migration Rate (2015-2020 estimate):-0.8 migrants/1,000 population
Women as a Percentage of Immigrants (2015):59.9%
Population under 15 (2015):16.1%
Adult HIV Prevalence (2014):not available

International Organization for Migration (IOM)
Ahtri 12
10151 Tallin

Tel: +372.6 116 088
Fax: +372.6 116 089
Email: iomtallinn@iom.int