Unique Estonia is Europe’s number one hub for expat tech talent

Unique Estonia is Europe’s number one hub for expat tech talent

Unique Estonia is Europe’s number one hub for expat tech talent

Many would-be expat entrepreneurs may not even know where on the map Estonia is located, but the island archipelago is now famous as the hottest destination for tech talent.

The Estonian archipelago's many claims to fame include its 2,000 islands, its similarity to the Nordic beauty of the Scandinavian countries and its new-found reputation of having the most start-ups per capita in the whole of Europe. It's bordered by Russia in its east, Latvia to its south and Finland to its north, and the Baltic Sea separates its western region from Scandinavia itself. Its capital, Tallin, boasts the celebrated ‘best small airport’ in Europe and, according to Wired magazine, it’s the world’s most digitally advanced state.

Almost everything which needs to be done by Estonian citizens can be done online, and free wi-fi is the norm everywhere. Its peoples register births, deaths and marriages online, vote and do 99 per cent of their governmental activities online on the go. For tech experts wishing to advance their IT careers, it’s the place to be, and a refreshing lack of hierarchy means career goals are reached at a speed which matches expats’ ambition and talent. Estonia’s first-of-its-kind e-Residency visa makes it easy for digital nomads, entrepreneurs and freelancers to register their online company from anywhere on the planet with the support and backing of the Estonian state.

Compared to the Scandinavian states, Estonia’s cost of living is surprisingly low, and wages in the tech sector compete with global IT salary rates. Apartment rentals are 33 per cent less than in Amsterdam or London, and are half of rental charges in Copenhagen. Public transport is free, and meals out every night are an affordable luxury. Income tax is levied at 20 per cent across the board, with no sliding scales relating to salaries earned, and business taxes are lower than in the Scandinavian countries.

Estonia’s work/life balance beats anything London and New York have to offer, with 50 per cent of Estonia’s land mass boasting ancient forests and stunningly beautiful coastlines. Tallin’s medieval Old Town is as it was originally, having been carefully preserved for future generations before being registered as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. For some tech-talented expats, Estonia’s freezing winters might be unbearable at -20 degrees, but its summers make up for the cold with their 20 to 30 degree days. All told, living and working in Estonia for tech gurus is as good as it gets.

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