IRL: Estonia's limit should be 400 refugees per year ({{commentsTotal}})

Pro Patria and Res Publica Union (IRL) decided in its assembly meeting that Estonia should set a threshold over which the country would not accept asylum seekers in future.

Currently, the immigration quota for non-EU nationals wanting to reside in Estonia is 0.1 percent of the Estonian population – 1,322 people – per year.

This quota does not apply to asylum seekers, but IRL now wants to introduce a similar limit for refugees who are resettled to Estonia.

So far, Estonia has agreed to accept about 500 refugees over two years. IRL's head, the Social Protection Minister Margus Tsahkna, told ERR that this is an absolute maximum.

“Our proposal is to set a refugee quota of 0.03 percent of Estonian population – or in other words, about 400 people per annum,” Tsahkna said.

IRL proposed to issue resident permits for a year for those who have been granted international protection by Estonia. This means tightening the current system, which allows permits for up to three years.

Tsahkna said that it is important to achieve a real contact with the refugees who have chosen to settle in Estonia. “When these people come to extend their residence permits, we can examine whether they have learned Estonian, participated in the language programs, and completed the compulsory adaption program.”

IRL also suggested to draw up a list of countries and regions that are safe enough and their citizens therefore without a need for an international protection status. According to Tsahkna, 12 European Union member states use a similar system.

In order to "ensure that local cultural customs and rules are followed", IRL recommends a new legislation, which would ban forced marriages, genital mutilation and wearing burqa in public.

The conservative IRL has 14 seats in the Parliament and is the third largest partner in the government, with four ministerial posts, including minister of justice.

Editor: S. Tambur



Siim Kallas.

Interview: Siim Kallas on ambitions, Estonian politics, and EU presidency

Following the local elections in October this year, Reform Party founder, former prime minister, EU commissioner, and presidential candidate Siim Kallas took on the job of municipal mayor of Viimsi, a community on the outskirts of Tallinn. In his interview with ERR's Toomas Sildam, Kallas talks about local government, his party, the EU presidency, and perspectives in Estonian politics.

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