Number of stateless keeps shrinking (2)
According to the Ministry of the Interior, the number of stateless permanent residents of Estonia has decreased by more than 45,000 over the past decade, with 80,754 left early in 2016.
Three factors contributed to the decrease, namely taking on citizenship of a third state, becoming an Estonian citizen, and death.
The ministry’s citizenship and integration policy director, Ruth Annus, told ERR’s Estonian news portal on Thursday that despite the fact that the number of stateless had gone down drastically, it made sense to take further steps.
“We’re certainly encouraging these people to apply for Estonian citizenship to fully participate in the Estonian society and the country’s development,” Annus said. She stressed that Estonia had repeatedly taken measures to facilitate the application for holders of Estonia’s alien’s passport, for example in this year’s law change that automatically granted the children of stateless parents born in Estonia citizenship.
Annus also pointed out that since early 2016, Estonia has granted citizenship to all those children of stateless parents who are under the age of 15 and have lived in Estonia for at least five years.
Over the past year, the language requirements for older applicants wanting to take the citizenship exam had been simplified, namely applicants who are 65 or older only needed to pass an oral exam, Annus added.