No additional benefits for asylum seekers ({{commentsTotal}})

Social Protection Minister Margus Tsahkna said on Thursday that the state will not provide asylum seekers any benefits that others in Estonia are not eligible for.

Tsahkna said that asylum seekers will not arrive in Estonia before communities are ready, accommodation arrangements have been made and support staff found.

He said that language studies will probably be made mandatory, as to speed up integration. The minister added that asylum seekers must also take part in an "acclimatization program", meaning they will be shown how things work in Estonia and introduced to the Estonian cultural space.

The faster immigrants learn Estonian, the faster they will be able to find a job, Tsahkna said, adding that once employed, the state will no longer have to pay for accommodation.

Estonia will take in 20 people from outside the EU, who all have UN asylum seeker status, and 130 people from Greece and Italy, whose asylum application Estonian authorities will begin to process.

Interior Minister Hanno Pevkur added that Estonia will prefer people who speak either English or Russian, and entire families, adding that this will stop family members arriving later on.

Around 15 more support staff, offering guidance to refugees, will be trained, taking the total number to 55.

Editor: J.M. Laats