Opinion: Estonia should attract business like Monaco attracts wealth

27.10.2011, 10:36

Äripäev editor Harry Tuul writes that Estonia has two closely linked problems: lack of talents and lack of entrepreneurs.

By now it’s already clear that the Bring Talent Home campaign has largely failed, having broght home about ten people from abroad, mostly to become paid employees.  At the same time hundreds of foreign businessmen wish to start a business in Estonia.

Äripäev recently wrote about Peter Ingman, the owner of large Finnish icecream maker that sold his company and is now planning to invest money in Estonia.

The interest to invest in Estonia is even larger outside Scandinavian and the European Union, notably from Russia, Ukraine and Belarus. The businessmen from these three last-named countries are attracted to Estonia not only because of its favourable location, tax environment and business culture, but also because it’s a possibility to obtain an EU residence permit.
There is nothing bad in itself because this is harming no-one.

So, it’s time to announce that we are welcoming successful talents to reside in Estonia.

Estonia’s neighbour Latvia has for five years attracted Russian businessmen to settle in Latvia. During that time, the country has received at least 1.2 billion kroons in nominal residence fees alone and is now considering raising the investment obligation from the current 100,000 lat fivefold.

While in 2007 Estonia received 3 such residence applications, the figure in nine months of this year has been 99. Interestingly, a foreigner who has been issued a residence permit in Estonia for business purposes, cannot work for another person while in Estonia.

I believe that business talents relocating Estonia would cover a possible harm caused by the abuse of the system. It’s like tax benefits offered that Monaco offers to the wealthy.