An investigation by newspaper Postimees reveals that Estonia’s economic growth is being built at the expense of third-country migrants who often face mistreatment at the hands of bosses and companies.
The daily reported it had found over 1,000 online job adverts targeting workers in Ukraine from EUR 4 hourly-paid jobs in Estonia and advertising working hours as between 250-300 hours a month, double the amount Estonian labor laws allow,
“This translates into missed tax revenue for the state and health and occupational risks for the worker,” the paper wrote, describing the schemes as “half-legal”, which “often fleece both the Ukrainian workers and the Estonian state”.
Postimees writes about Ukrainian and Belarusian workers who arrive in Estonia on a visa issued in other countries, such as Poland, then find employment illegally and face bosses who refuse to pay the workers what they are owed.
Sirle Blumberg who runs the nonprofit organization “Living for Tomorrow”, which includes a counseling hotline for human trafficking victims, says she has never received so many calls and complaints about working conditions as she currently is with most of the 600 calls she receives each year coming from Ukrainians, Moldavians and Belarussians working in Estonia
Estonia does not know how many illegal workers there are in the country, the paper wrote, and said n estimate by the Ministry of Internal Affairs put the figure at 1,000-5,000, but none could say what the estimated figures were based on. The short-term workers register had over 32,000 people as of late November. (ERR/Business World Magazine)