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60,000 Estonians gone to work abroad

Government fills their shoes with 600

Estonia’s labor debate wages on, with Tarmo Kriisi, director of Estonia’s employers union, claiming Estonia will need 100,000 new workers by year 2011. Kriisi draws attention to the imbalance: Over the past ten years, 60,000 Estonian workers have left the country, while the government still holds a quota of 600 new workers per year. In other words, says Balti Laeva Remonti Tehas (a ship refurbishing company) personnel director Heinart Puhkim, “for every one hundred workers who leave, we may replace them with only one.”

Of course, the government has its own argument, perhaps best articulated this week by the Estonian daily Postimees. It’s not the first generation of imported workers you have to worry about, says the newspaper’s Wednesday editorial, it’s the following generations. “Unfortunately,” writes the paper, “there is not one nation to serve as an example of how to successfully integrate future generations.”

We assume they’re talking about European states? There are two large nations in North America who have done quite a fine job integrating future generations.