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A labor problem in Estonia?

Minister Rummo needs to get out more.

Skype’s Estonian manager, Sten Tamkivi, says when Estonia’s immigration department is working at its best, it can take three to four months to process the application for a work permit, but he says eight months is a more normal speed of work. “A million users are added to Skype every four days. For us, three months is almost an eternity.”

The Estonian business landscape is littered with case studies of disappointed companies who needed work permits. The Estonian government took nine months to make a decision concerning whether to allow 100 welders from the Ukraine to work at the Balti Laevaremonditehas (a ship refurbishing company). The contract was eventually sent to Lithuania, due to the government’s feet-dragging. Recently, Horizon Paper was mentioned in City Paper Week in Review’s pages, when visa applications for the company’s foreign engineers were denied.

The population minister, Paul-Erik Rummo, admitted that one company has complained the process is too long. Only one company? We suggest the good minister get out of the house once in a while and meet with foreign businessmen.