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One family of quota refugees has officially left Estonia

COMMENT PRINT ARTICLE
PHOTO: Javed Sultan / Rover Images / Sipa

One family of refugees brought to Estonia under the European Union's migrant distribution plan has officially left the country, Estonian officials said on Tuesday.

The Iraqi family of five returned to their country of origin voluntarily under the VARRE program of the International Organization for Migration (IOM), spokespeople for the Estonian Ministry of Social Affairs said.

"On returning to the country of origin, international protection for that family ends. The return to the country of origin happened of the family's own free will and speaks of the absence of danger in their home country," Triin Raag, head of international protection policy at the Estonian ministry, told BNS.

The family consists of two parents and their three children. The father left Estonia in January and the rest of the family followed him last week.

The family arrived in Estonia in March 2016, being the first ever family to be relocated to Estonia under the EU migrant plan. Simultaneously with the family two single men arrived in Estonia then.

31 quota refugees are not in Estonia now

Thirty-one of the refugees who have arrived in Estonia under the European Union's migrant distribution plan are not in Estonia at the moment, but none of the individuals absent has been away from Estonia for more than 90 days, officials said on Tuesday.

Estonia has accepted 120 refugees under the EU migrant allocation plan so far.

Among them is an Iraqi family of five who returned to their country of origin voluntarily under the VARRE program of the International Organization for Migration (IOM), spokespeople for the Estonian Ministry of Social Affairs said on Tuesday.

Six families made up altogether of 31 people are not in Estonia at the moment.

All the refugees who have arrived in Estonia have the right to travel within the Schengen area during no more than 90 days in any 180-day period. Since none of the families that are away from Estonia at the moment has been away for more than 90 days, they cannot be deemed as having left Estonia for good.

The family of five that returned to Iraq consists of two parents and their three children. The father left Estonia in January and the rest of the family followed him last week.

The family arrived here in March 2016, being the first ever family to be relocated to Estonia under the EU migrant plan. Simultaneously with the family two single men arrived in Estonia then.

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