The Tallinn City Centre government and the Ministry of the Interior entered into a partnership agreement to develop an action plan to support the integration of new immigrants, compile a comprehensive overview on the needs of new immigrants and accessibility of services in the district, and coordinate a support network on a local level.
The Minister of Population Riina Solman explains: ‘Local governments are the first point of contact people turn to with everyday issues. It is important that local governments are able to offer the necessary information and services for new immigrants in the district. The Ministry of the Interior wishes to enable local governments to offer and develop services that support their integration. Statistically, the largest number of new immigrants in Harju County settle in the Tallinn City Centre district, which is the reason why we began cooperation with this district. Hopefully, a successful cooperation will offer input for similar projects with other city district governments in the future.’
According to Anu Aus, the Deputy District Governor of the Tallinn City Centre district, the project will improve the distribution of multilingual information in the district and make the services of the City Centre district government more accessible.
‘For the city district government, the objective of this partnership agreement is to increase the availability of information about services offered by the local government and create better opportunities for new residents to contribute to local discussions. We in the City Centre district believe that it is important to get a comprehensive overview of the current situation and map the needs and obstacles that new immigrants face in the process of integration. It will inform us of the capacities of the local government in offering more support,’ Aus said.
The action plan will guarantee that all relevant information about the district reaches local English-speaking residents in a timely manner. Several important steps have already been taken. For example, an online network was created where English-speaking residents of the City Centre district can offer opinions and contribute to the discussion about local development projects. This network will be expanded and developed within the project. New immigrants will also be assisted in the process of integration by offering information on where to turn to for help, services, and advice.
The integration policy is developed and coordinated by the Civil Society and Adaptation Policy Department of the Ministry of the Interior in cooperation with partner institutions, but a more intensive cooperation needs to be established with local governments to better manage the field and divide activities. The new partnership agreement is an important step forward and a great example of how the ministry can support local governments in addressing the issues of immigration and integration more systematically.
The implementation of the project is funded by the European Union through the European Social Fund (ESF) and by the Ministry of the Interior of the Republic of Estonia. An equivalent project was initiated with the Tartu City Government in the beginning of 2020.