No quota refugees were resettled in Estonia in 2018, in spite of plans to relocate 40 people of Syrian origin from Turkey under the second phase of the EU's migration plan.
According to the Police and Border Guard Board (PPA), the files of 40 people who had fled to Turkey from Syria were reviewed in late November/early December. However, a decision has yet to be made on which of them are eligible for relocation to Estonia.
Whilst the decision is due in January, this obviously pushes the actual relocation of those eligible back to 2019.
So far, 206 people have been relocated to Estonia within the EU's 2015 migration plan (ie. phase one), a reported 80 of whom have subsequently left Estonia, as well as one family of five which returned to its country of origin.
Under phase two of the relocation plan announced in September 2017, 40 people were due to be relocated both in 2018 and 2019 (ie. 80 in total).
This would thus bring the total number potentially relocated under both phases of the EU's plan to a little under 300 people.
Estonia settles more refugees under own initiative than by EU direction
Estonia has on the other hand under its own steam granted international protection to 13 people in 2018, about half of them of Iraqi origin, the PPA told BNS.
This figure is drawn from around 90 applications for international protection received in total to the end of November 2018. The applications fall outside the EU's migration plan and other countries of origin include Syria, Russia, Ukraine and Tajikistan, it is reported.
Additionally, the Estonian government implemented a rule which exempts some high-level specialists in IT and other related areas from the quota, to the tune of over a thousand per year.
Editor: Andrew Whyte