German authoriteis have given three families of so-called quota refugees initially granted international protection in Estonia a deadline for leaving Germany. Thus far, none of these families has returned to Estonia.
A press officer for the Ministry of the Interior told BNS on Tuesday that German authorities have given three families of quota refugees who left Estonia for Germany a deadline for leaving the country and bought them plane tickets to Estonia.
The three families consist of a total of 13 people who left Estonia at various times in 2017. Germany has informed them of their deadline for leaving Germany on two occasions, but it is currently unclear when they would return to Estonia.
"As of today, no refugees admitted to Estonia under the EU's migrant redistribution plan who have been granted international protection in Estonia and who have been in another EU member state for more than 90 days in 180 days, or have asked for international protection in another member state, have been sent back to Estonia," the press officer said.
Seventeen quota refugees have been sent back to Lithuania from other EU member states, most of whom were Syrians. Of the 17 refugees, nine were sent back after discovered they were in the country illegally; eight returned voluntarily.
A total of 188 people have been relocated and resettled in Estonia in the framework of the EU migration plan so far, 41 of whom came from Turkey and six from Italy. Approximately half of the quota refugees resettled in Estonia are currently not in the country.
All the refugees who have arrived in Estonia have the right to travel within the Schengen area during a total of no more than 90 days in any 180-day period. If that time period is exceeded, the families will no longer be paid support by the Estonian government. At the same time, they will be unable to work or receive benefits in other member states. After returning to Estonia, they retain their right to a support person and will have the opportunity to continue with language studies.
Estonia considers the EU's 2015 migration plan fulfilled and no more people will be resettled or relocated to Estonia under that plan. At the same time, the proceedings of the quota refugees currently being handled will be finalized.
Editor: Aili Vahtla