Few Ukrainian refugees choose to relocate to Finland from Estonia
Despite an agreement to relocate newly arrived Ukrainian refugees to Finland, most of them choose to stay in Estonia, the Social Insurance Board (SKA) said on Thursday.
Liis Paloots, SKA's Migration Service head, told ERR radio news on Thursday that one of the reasons people decide to stay in Estonia is that they arrive here purposefully.
"We have seen that people want to stay in Estonia because they arrived here to visit someone: family, relatives or friends. Also, we have heard that they already have specific jobs waiting for them in Estonia," Paloots said.
At the moment, about 400 Ukrainian refugees arrive in Estonia each week, and approximately half of those are in transit.
Over 200 refugees have attended the Social Insurance Department's information desks in the past two weeks, according to their statistics.
Over 20 people were interested in relocating to Finland, but it turned out that they already held residence permits in other EU countries. It is important to clarify that, per the Estonian-Finnish agreement, such persons are not eligible for assistance relocation to Finland.
"As one of the criteria, Finland has pointed out that the person we help to go to Finland should not have a residence permit from another EU country," said Paloots.
"Even before this agreement between the Estonian and Finnish ministries of the interior, Ukrainian war refugees were moving to Finland independently. Today they still have that possibility," she added.
"If war refugees come to us and say they want to reside in Estonia, we accept them and provide all necessary services," Paloots said.
Paloots said that the number of refugees arriving in Estonia is decreasing and this is another reason why there are not so many people willing to relocate to the neighboring country.
As of March 7, a total of 125,299 Ukrainian war refugees had arrived in Estonia, of whom 68,196, or 54.4 percent, remained in Estonia and the rest were in transit to other countries.
Finland agreed to accept and resettle 100 Ukrainian refugees a week as Estonia is struggling to provide services for newcomers.
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Editor: Kristina Kersa