Working international students and graduates contributed over 22 million euros in taxes in the previous academic year


Statistics Estonia analysed the economic contribution of working international students and international graduates. The analysis, commissioned by the Education and Youth Board, shows that, in the academic year 2021/22, international degree students contributed 14 million euros and international graduates over 8 million euros in taxes. In recent years, there has been a considerable rise in the number of international graduates who stay to work in Estonia after graduation. The majority of these graduates work in Tallinn.

Economic impact


Source: Statistics Estonia


Kadri Rootalu, data scientist at Statistics Estonia and the author of the analysis, said that slightly more than half of the international students – about 2,400 – worked at least one day in Estonia during their studies in the previous academic year. “It should be noted that international students do not work just a few days a year. Both local and international students who work are usually employed for longer periods, that is, for more than 90 days,” explained Rootalu.

The analysis provides information on the tax contribution of international students and graduates based on income and social tax receipts. In the academic year 2021/22, international students and graduates contributed a total of 22.4 million euros to the Estonian economy. International students paid 9.4 million euros in social tax and 4.6 million euros in income tax. Students who graduated in the academic year 2020/21 and stayed to work in Estonia contributed 8.4 million euros in total as labour taxes.

The most likely to work while studying are international students in information and communication technologies (ICT), engineering, manufacturing, construction as well as business, administration and law. For example, three quarters of international ICT students worked during their studies in the academic year 2021/22.

International students who have already graduated were also analysed. The results indicate that the share of international graduates staying to work in Estonia has increased significantly in recent years. International graduates contributed the most to information and communication enterprises, followed by manufacturing enterprises, and financial and insurance enterprises. Most of the international graduates worked in enterprises based in Tallinn.

Eero Loonurm, head of the Study in Estonia programme at the Education and Youth Board, said that the economic contribution of international graduates in Estonia increases steadily each year. “It has been one of the goals of our activities to have more motivated international graduates who stay in Estonia after graduation and offer their expertise on the Estonian labour market. However, the state should find ways to make sure that all counties benefit from the contribution of international graduates – the analysis clearly shows that, at the moment, mainly only enterprises in Tallinn and Harju county are benefitting from international graduates,” added Loonurm.


For more, see the full report in Estonian (the summary in English is available on pages 56–58).



Working students

Photo credit: Renee Altrov


For further information:


Helen Maria Raadik
Media Relations Manager
Marketing and Dissemination Department
Statistics Estonia
Tel +372 625 9181

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