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Beginning next year, Estonian language can be learned for free with citizen agreement
The Parliament of Estonia adopted amendments to the Citizenship Act expanding the Estonian language learning opportunities for people who seek Estonian citizenship.
During the upcoming year Estonia will start providing the so called citizen agreements for free Estonian language courses and for obtaining a paid study leave from work. „A prerequisite for the acquisition of Estonian citizenship is the knowledge of the Estonian language. Likewise, the knowledge of the language is a prerequisite for better integration in the Estonian society,“ said Andres Anvelt, Minister of the Interior. „If a person has made a decision to contribute to the Estonian society and seek Estonian citizenship, the State will provide free language courses and paid leave from work in order to attend them,“ the Minister added.
People who have been living in Estonia on a legal basis for at least five years and wishing to apply for Estonian citizenship and who meet the main requirements set for the citizenship application procedure can sign this agreement. One-off free language training shall be provided from zero level up to B1 level. People having signed the agreement shall be granted language training allowances for participating in the Estonian language courses. On the basis of average wages, the allowance shall be paid for 20 calendar days spent on study leave. Language training shall be organised by the Estonian Academy of Security Sciences.
This year 443 people have acquired Estonian citizenship. Last year almost 800 people acquired Estonian citizenship, 558 of whom were persons of undefined citizenship. Since the restoration of independence Estonian citizenship has been granted or restored to more than 160 000 people.