Ukrainian refugees in Estonia yet to be granted asylum (5)
So far, 54 Ukrainian citizens who have fled the fighting in Ukraine have applied for asylum in Estonia, but none have been granted their request.
Liis Valk, the head of foreign nationals division of the migration department, told Eesti Päevaleht cases are judged on the criteria if the person or persons are able to find a new safe place of residence in their own home countries.
She said three cases so far have been rejected and six dropped, and the reasons range from the people traveling from non-conflict areas to retracting asylum applications themselves. The state is yet to rule on 18 Ukrainians, including six children, who are living in a refugee center in Lääne-Viru County.
Head of the Estonian Refugee Council Kristina Kallas said around 500,000 people have fled eastern Ukraine and Estonia could offer an alternative solution called subsidiary protection.
Ukrainians with relatives in Estonia can apply for long-term visas free of charge, but the number of applications has dropped slightly from last year, when 8,500 free visas were handed out compared to a total 18,000 applications submitted.
Valk said the number of applications for student or work visas has increased, adding that Estonian authorities have tried to help those who are unable to return to Ukraine after their visas have expired.
Estonia has donated around 1 million euros for various causes in Ukraine, including 405,000 for those who have suffered due to the conflict or been displaced by it.