Estonia is ready to take four to six refugee families from southern Europe in 2015, the Ministry of Social Affairs said at a press briefing on Monday. The ministry estimates the annual number of asylum applicants to stay around 600.
Undersecretary Rait Kuuse said that preparations are under way and Estonia is ready to resettle first refugees. Ministry of Interior Affairs officials will shortly head over to southern Europe to choose the families.
According to Kuuse, their primary aim is to find out if the families are willing to come to Estonia. "Will some refugees move on to other countries? Definitely. We shouldn't be too naive," he told reporters.
Those few families will allow to test the systems and see which aspects and servicecs need further improvements, Kuuse added.
Ministry representatives also said they are considering establishing another asylum seekers' accommodation center to complement the one in Vao, the location of which will be decided in early October.
Officials explained that once they arrive in Estonia, refugees go through initial health checks in the airport. Once they are accommodated, they will be subjected to more thorough checks at an infection disease center in Tallinn or Tartu.
Estonia has so far agreed to take on 150 refugees over 48 months.
Editor: M. Oll