Today, Estonia received the first war refugees from Greece relocated on the basis of the European Agenda on Migration: one five-member Iraqi family, one man from Syria, and one man from Yemen. They will reside in Tallinn and Tartu.
The man from Syria was successfully working in the catering sector. In addition to his native language he also speaks English. The man from Yemen is an English philologist with a higher education. The man from Iraq worked in the field of construction and transport. The mother of the family was at home with the children. The children of school age previously participated in school work. The family speaks Arabic. The war refugees that arrived in Estonia have passed through background checks, and interviews with them were conducted in Greece, which included, among others, an introduction to Estonia and local customs.
“I have a request to everyone who meets our new residents – do not forget that these people escaped a country where war is happening, and that they had to overcome a lot of hardship to reach Estonia,” explains Raivo Küüt, Deputy Secretary General for Public Order and Migration at the Ministry of the Interior. “Their hope is to find a safe home here. It is important to let them adapt peacefully and to treat them like we would treat any of our other neighbours, colleagues and acquaintances”.
Kaisa Üprus-Tali, international protection policy advisor at the Ministry of Social Affairs said that the people arriving in Estonia will start to live in their new homes. “Just like all other Estonian people, they will need to register a place of residence, find employment possibilities for themselves and school places for their children, open a bank account and register with a family physician. With regard to these and other necessary activities they will be assisted and advised by support persons.”
The Police and Border Guard Board will direct individuals who have received international protection to the welcoming programme. The welcoming programme includes a separate training module for individuals who have received international protection. Its content was prepared specifically taking into account the needs of those under international protection, and the goal of the module is to let the participants get a good understanding of the processes of Estonian society and quickly achieve contact with the local community. Studying the Estonian language has an important role in the process of settling in, and these arrivals will start to learn it at the first opportunity. The language course is free for those under protection, and the goal for them is to obtain at least A2 level.