Estonia planning new integration subsidy

  • 2022-12-19
  • BNS/TBT Staff

TALLINN – A draft regulation has exited the Estonian Ministry of Culture that seeks to improve the capacity of local governments to offer better integration and adaptation services to new immigrants, people with different linguistic and cultural backgrounds and returnees.

The financial volume of the measure is almost 6.14 million euros.

According to the draft, municipalities will be reimbursed for costs related to translation, recruitment and training of officials, trips by officials, service design, and consultancy, but also, for example, printing and designing of materials, website development, studies and analyses, seminars and study trips, engaging experts and conducting communication activities, the explanatory memorandum added to the draft says.

According to the population register, 1,348,887 people lived in Estonia as at June 1, of whom 1,131,675 were Estonian citizens. The number of people with undefined citizenship whose place of residence was registered in Estonia was 65,473. Nationals of other countries with a valid right of residence or residence permit numbered 151,739. Among the latter, citizens of the Russian Federation were the most numerous, numbering 83,170, followed by citizens of Ukraine, of whom there were 24,241.

Alongside Harju and Tartu counties, where most of the people arriving in Estonia take up residence, such people also go to live in other counties.

While new immigrants and returnees often need support to access services, local governments' understanding of the target group and their willingness to provide services to them is very uneven across Estonia.

As a result of the activities listed in the draft, the ability of local governments to offer and develop services to the target groups will increase, meaning that the target groups will be more involved in local life and their access to public services will improve.

Of the total amount of the measure, 4.3 million euros is to be covered from the European Union's Cohesion and Internal Security Policy funds for the years 2021-2027, while the rest is to come from the state budget.

The use of the integration and adaptation subsidy will be overseen by the Association of Estonian Cities and Municipalities, and the regulation is to enter into force from Jan. 1, 2023.