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Bill on table aims to tackle major surge in third country immigration

The Ministry of the Interior on Pikk Street in Central Tallinn.
The Ministry of the Interior on Pikk Street in Central Tallinn. Source: Postimees/Scanpix

The Estonian Ministry of the Interior is drafting a law aimed at dealing with the eventuality of any exceptionally large volume of migrants and citizens of other states entering Estonian territory.

The bill is primarily concerned with third country (ie. non-EU) nationals arriving in Estonia, largely those claiming asylum together with illegal immigrants, according to daily Postimees, in situations and volumes which could be described by the authorities as an emergency.

Provisions of the bill include extending the period of verification of an individual's identity from 48 hours as per current law, to as much as a week, and permitting the holding of those who have entered the country on an illegal basis in locations outside of the designated detention centre(s), should the latter be already at or over capacity.

As recently reported on ERR, following a recent risk assessment, the Police and Border Guard Board (PPA) in Estonia have stated that anything upwards of 3,000 citizens of foreign states arriving at the Estonian border in groups of varying sizes and makeup would constitute an emergency.

Currently there is only one designated detention centre dedicated to housing those who have entered Estonia on an illegal basis under Estonian law, in Harku, to the West of Tallinn, with a further centre planned at Tallinn prison for the end of the year to accommodate 120, it is reported.

The move comes after the recent agreement struck between EU member states on the issue.

Editor: Andrew Whyte

Source: ERR uudised

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