Estonia granted international protection to 544 people in 23 years ({{contentCtrl.commentsTotal}})

Ruth Annus, Head of the Citizenship and Migration Policy Department at the Ministry of the Interior.
Ruth Annus, Head of the Citizenship and Migration Policy Department at the Ministry of the Interior. Source: Ministry of the Interior

Estonia has granted international protection to close to 550 people from 1997, almost one-third of whom received protection as part of the EU migration plans.

Since 1997, international protection has been granted by Estonia to 544 people, Ruth Annus, head of the department for citizenship and migration policy at the Ministry of the Interior, told BNS.

Of these, 200 people have received international protection as part of the migration programs of the European Union.

On the basis of the EU migration plan, the European Commission's proposal and the government's decision of December 2017, Estonia received a total of 213 people between 2015 and 2017.

Of these people, 66 were resettled to Estonia from Turkey, 141 from Greece and six from Italy. 

Estonia has not received any people as part of the resettlement and relocation program this year.

183 foreign nationals living in Estonia as part of EU migration plan

Foreign nationals residing in Estonia as part of the EU migration plan come from five states and altogether number 183.

On July 1, 2020, citizens of Syria residing in Estonia numbered 109, compared to 167 on January 1, 2019, according to the data in the population register.

The number of citizens of Iraq residing in Estonia was 45 on July 1, compared with 44 on January 1 last year.

Also residing in Estonia were 20 nationals of Yemen, eight of Eritrea and one of Libya. The respective figures at the start of last year stood at 14, three and one.

Foreign nationals who reside in Estonia as part of the EU migration program total 183, compared to 186 on January 1 and 229 at the start of last year.

In comparison, Austrian citizens residing in Estonia meanwhile numbered 184 on July 1.

Family of quota refugees who left Estonia last year return

A family of quota refugees from Syria, who left Estonia last year, have returned.

The family of four, consisting of a mother and three children, who left Estonia last year and have now returned, were relocated to a refugee center in June.

Last year, Germany sent two families of quota refugees back to Estonia. One of the families comes from Syria and the other from Iraq. The two families include 11 people in total. In 2018, altogether nine quota refugees returned to Estonia from Germany.

Ruth Annus, head of the department for citizenship and migration policy at the Ministry of the Interior, told BNS that as at August 31, 2019, of the people who arrived in Estonia as part of the EU migration program, 124 resided in Estonia and 89 abroad. The ratio remained unchanged until the end of 2019, and approximately 50 percent of the people living abroad were minors.

Annus noted the ministry no longer collects information on the ratio of people living in Estonia and abroad as part of the EU migration program.

She explained people who have been resettled or relocated as part of the program have been granted international protection, they hold a valid residence permit and travel document and have the right to travel abroad within the Schengen area for up to 90 days during a 180-day period. They can also travel outside the European Union in accordance with the regulation in their state of destination.

The basis of the residence permit of a person who has arrived in Estonia under the migration plan may also change during their stay in Estonia. Annus pointed out that residence permits can also be granted on a different basis, such as getting married and taking up residence with one's spouse. 

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Editor: Helen Wright

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