Govt okays bill to ease bureaucracy for aliens in Estonia

  • 2000-02-03
TALLINN (BNS) - The government on Tuesday approved and sent to parliament a package of amendments aimed at making it easier fo non-citizens to clear bureaucratic procedures.

The amendments would change the law on identification documents, the law on aliens, and the regulations concerning the obligation to leave Estonia and ban to enter the country.

In one of the major changes that would make life easier for non-citizen residents of Estonia, the amendments would extend the validity of alien's passports to 10 years from the present five years.

Since most holders of alien's passports either have a permanent residence permit or are about to obtain one during 2000, it is advisable to issue holders of permanent residence permits with alien's passports that are valid for a longer term, a government spokesman told BNS.

Also, the amendments would make it the competence of the Citizenship and Migration Board to decide about applications for exceptions from general residence permit rules.

The amendments would change the present order under which the application for an exception has to be addressed to the interior minister. Since applicants for a residence permit by way of exception may number up to 30,000, it isn't rational to place such additional workload on the minister, the spokesman said.

Also, the children of holders of a permanent residence permit and non-citizen children of Estonian citizens less than 15 years old would be issued a permanent resident permit upon first application.

In this way their parents would no longer have to first apply for a temporary residence permits for their child and go through the same procedure again after three years to have a permanent permit issued.

Interior Minister Tarmo Loodus in January dismissed the long-time head of the Estonian Citizenship and Migration Board, Andres Kollist, citing the department's poor performance.