A family of quota refugees who left the country for Germany earlier this summer returned to Estonia this week.
BNS has learned that it is the same family of four from Syria whose fate in Europe is being followed by Time magazine.
According to spokespeople from the Ministry of the Interior, a family of quota refugees consisting of a husband, wife and two children returned to Estonia from Germany this week.
Spokespeople from the Ministry of Social Affairs said that the family was directed back to the municipality where they had been living when they left the country.
The family of four arrived in Estonia in April 2017 and was given accommodation with another Syrian famly in the Southeastern Estonian town of Põlva. They ended up one of the families whose fate in Europe is being followed by Time magazine, and at the beginning of June decided to leave Estonia for Germany, where they intended to seek asylum again.
According to the Instagram page following the fate of several Syrian refugee families in Europe, because the family was granted refugee status in Estonia, a European safe haven, Germany denied their claims for asylum. The family said they were planning on appealing the rejections and hoped to find a sympathetic judge and thus stave off deportation back to Estonia.
Nine refugees back in Estonia
Earlier this year, German authorities gave three families of so-called quota refugees initially granted international protection in Estonia a deadline for leaving Germany and bought them plane tickets to Estonia. The three families consist of a total of 13 people, and they left Estonia at different times last year.
The Ministry of Social Affairs said on Friday that a total of nine quota refugees have returned to Estonia by now. Previously, a Syrian refugee family of four returned to Estonia in March, and one Syrian national granted international protection in Estonia returned in May.
All refugees who arrive in Estonia have the right to travel within the Schengen area for a total of no more than 90 days in any 180-day period. In the event that this limit is exceeded, the families will no longer be paid support by the Estonian government, while also ineligible to work or receive benefits in other member states.
Upon their return to Estonia, the payment of benefits can be resumed, but the relevant authorities must be contacted in order to do so. A beneficiary of international protection is entitled to municipal need-based assistance; they also remain entitled to support person services, Estonian language courses and translation services to the extent prescribed by law.
Estonia has accepted a total of 206 refugees, including 98 adults and 108 children, under the migrant plan agreed upon by EU member states in 2015. Of the 206 people accepted, 141 arrived in Estonia from Greece, 59 from Turkey and six from Italy.
83 of the 206 refugees accepted by Estonia are not currently in the country. One family of five also returned to their country of origin.
Editor: Aili Vahtla