Relocating to Estonia as a developer
We have already told you about the details of relocating to Finland as a developer, so will now look at Estonia which is just a short ferry trip away.
Salaries and taxes
In Estonia salaries in the IT sphere range from about 2,000 euros for middle positions up to 4,000+ for senior ones.
Income tax rate is flat: 20% for everyone with an income higher than 500 euros per month. The employer pays all the taxes on behalf of the employee and they are withheld from your gross salary. This leaves you with your net salary and nothing to worry about. You can calculate the exact amounts of taxes and social contributions using this calculator.
Cost of living
If you want to drill down into the cost of living, you can find most of the costs on Numbeo. In general Estonia is a very comfortable country to live in. While the standard of living is high, the costs are much lower then in most Western European countries.
Based on our candidates' feedback, the cost of a vibrant monthly basket of groceries for a family of four makes about 700 euros per month. Official stats show even lower numbers.
A dinner for two in a mid-range cafe/restaurant costs between 30 and 80 euros. Cinema tickets cost from 8 to 10 euros. Entry tickets for a museum would cost you about 15 euros. A club entrance ticket is about 10 euros.
The Internet on average might cost you about 24 euros per month.
Public transport for residents is free. Taxi rates start from 2,50 euros with 0,60 euros per kilometer. It would cost you about 3-4 euros to get to the airport from the city centre and about 5-6 euros to get to the city centre from the remote districts.
As to the medical treatment, in Estonia you have two options of health care systems: public and private. The public one is provided by Estonian Health Insurance Fund which you receive if you have an employment contract in Estonia and your employer is paying social contributions for you. Private health treatment prices depend on a particular clinic and range from 55 euros per visit for an adult and from 40 euros per visit for a child. Estonia also has a number of other things going for it, which you can read more about on their official Visit Estonia site.
The nice thing is that there is no such thing in Estonia as a special “work permit”. You can work in the country if your short‐term employment is registered by your employer and your stay here is legal or when you have a valid residence permit for work.
Developers also have the opportunity to get relocation support from the government. The amount of the grant per one top specialist is 3,000 euros. While it's quite easy to apply, the grant isn't paid out to the employer until five months into the employment.
Finding a new home
The rental market is not very competitive and it is easy to find a new home for a moderate price. Even a tiny apartment in most cases will be clean, safe and modern. Keep in mind though that long-term leasing is preferrable and the contract is usually signed for a year. Either way rent is paid monthly and if you end up moving out early you may just have to forgo the deposit. The deposit is typically one or two months’ rent.
The price depends on the location and ranges from 450 euros for a comfortable one-bedroom apartment to 700-900 euros per month for a three-bedroom apartment close to the city centre. Public utilities cost depends on a season (cheaper in summer, more expensive in winter due to heating) and ranges from 70-80 euros for a one-bedroom apartment to 180-200 euros for a three-bedroom one.
Bringing your family with you
If you are moving with children, you need to solve one of the most important issues - finding a kindergarten or school. There is nothing difficult about it in Estonia as the educational system is well developed. There are English, Russian and other language kindergartens and schools. Also, all children living in Estonia receive full health insurance until the age of nineteen. In addition to monthly child benefits and child care allowances, Estonia offers generous parental leave that lets one parent stay at home until the child turns three. You can also take turns with your spouse in staying at home with your child.
Public education is free. It can be either in Estonian or bilingual. You can look through the list of schools and universities in Estonia to get more information about a particular educational institution. As to private education, the prices range from 200-250 euros per month for a private kindergarten and start from 3300 euros annually for a private international school.
As you can see, Estonia is an inviting place for expats. It is also very convenient that you can carry out most of your daily tasks online.