The Ministry of the Interior in cooperation with the Police and Border Guard Board (PPA) are developing an advisory service that will help both foreigners planning to settle in Estonia as well as companies and organizations that hire them to get personalized and trustworthy advice on the matters of migration. The service will be launched on 1 March 2017.
“We have consistently facilitated settlement in Estonia of the foreigners that contribute to the development of the country: whether they are good professionals, artists, entrepreneurs, scientists, teachers or students and their families. Advice on migration is a part of the comprehensive support system designed to help foreigners with moving to Estonia and adaptation here,” says Ruth Annus, the Head of Citizenship and Migration Policy Department at the Ministry of the Interior. The advisory service is mainly focused on the rights of residence and temporary stay, but also addresses the matters of respective documents and questions of citizenship. Currently PPA receives ca 1,200-1,300 verbal and written queries on the topics of residence permits and right of residence each month. The number of such queries is only expected to grow in the future.
Advisory services may prove useful for foreigners already residing in Estonia and for those who only make such plans. The service is also aimed at Estonian organizations that accept foreigners wishing to reside in Estonia and help them to adapt here – employers, universities, scientific institutions and various non-profit organizations.
Today PPA also advises people on these matters – there is a general information line, where callers can ask questions regarding any activities of PPA. In case of more complex questions currently the caller is forwarded to the respective employee. According to Liis Valk, the chief expert of PPA Identity and Status Bureau, for the employee it means additional workload and thus residence permit proceedings become slower. “In the developed advisory service consultations to people will be provided by specialists with legal knowledge. People will receive competent and personalized advice, and workload on regular employees will decrease,” notes Liis Valk. To provide the new service, four new consultants with legal education are employed in different regions of PPA. The service is provided in Estonian, English and Russian languages.
Where currently it is possible to turn to PPA employee for advice only by telephone or with a written request, the new service will allow to register for personal consultation, receive advice via Skype and use the feature of preliminary control of documents related to migration process. It is also to be ensured that up-to-date and relevant information is available on the Internet. It is thus planned to expand PPA website and make the information there easier to understand and present it in a more user-friendly fashion.
The advisory service is financed by the European Social Fund. The total budget of the project for five years (2017-2021) is 750,000 euros.
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