The Central Tallinn city district government and the Ministry of the Interior have signed a partnership agreement for the development of a local level action plan for supporting the integration of new immigrants.
The action plan will obtain a comprehensive overview of the needs of new immigrants in the area and their access to services as well as coordinating the local support network.
Minister or Population Riina Solman (Isamaa) said: "Local governments are the first point of contact for local residents in everyday issues. For that reason, it is important that the local government should be able to provide new immigrants taking up residence in the area with the information and services they need.
"The Ministry of the Interior wishes to enable local governments to offer and develop services that support their integration. Statistically, the largest number of new immigrants in Harju County settle in the Central Tallinn district, which is the reason why we began cooperation with this district. Hopefully, a successful cooperation will offer input for similar projects with other city district governments in the future."
As a result of the project, the availability of multilingual information and services by the Central Tallinn city district government will improve, deputy district elder of Central Tallinn Anu Aus said.
"With the partnership agreement, the city district government seeks to improve awareness among new immigrants about the services offered by the local government and facilitate local residents' participation in discussions on local issues. The objective of the project is also to receive an overview of the needs and obstacles experienced by immigrants when taking up residence in the city district. This will inform us of the ways the local government can better support them in this process," Aus said.
The action plan will guarantee all relevant information about the district reaches local English-speaking residents in a timely manner.
Several important steps have already been taken. For example, an online network was created where English-speaking residents of the Central Tallinn district can offer opinions and contribute to the discussion about local development projects. This network will be expanded and developed within the project.
New immigrants will also be assisted in the process of integration by offering information on where to turn to for help, services, and advice.
The integration policy is developed and coordinated by the civil society and adaptation policy department of the Ministry of the Interior in cooperation with partner institutions, but a more intensive cooperation needs to be established with local governments to better manage the field and divide activities.
The new partnership agreement is an important step forward and an example of how the ministry can support local governments in addressing the issues of immigration and integration more systematically.
The implementation of the project is funded by the European Union through the European Social Fund (ESF) and by the Estonian Ministry of the Interior. An equivalent project was initiated with the Tartu city government in the beginning of 2020.
Editor: Helen Wright