Su, 1.10.2023
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Non-citizens in Estonia complain about accessibility of information - study

BNS
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Photo: Tairo Lutter / Virumaa Teataja

Third-country nationals and people with undefined citizenship in Estonia highlight poor accessibility of information as one of the biggest problems, it appears from a study by the independent think tank Praxis Center for Policy Studies and the Institute of Baltic Studies published on Wednesday.

All topics of discussion showed that accessibility of information is a problem for both Russian-speakers who have lived here for a long time and recent immigrants, Kristina Kallas from the Institute of Baltic Studies said. «If in the case of the Russian-speaking population there has been much talk about them living in a different media space than ethnic Estonians, now it turned out that also English-speaking new immigrants are not very well informed about life in Estonia.»

Besides information non-citizens expressed concern about the variable quality of language teaching, language practice and inadequate availability of language courses, particularly outside the major cities Tallinn and Tartu. Participants in the study embracing new immigrants and Russian-speakers also noted the Estonian society's rejection of aliens which is often expressed in direct and indirect discrimination.

Similarly to previous studies, both Russian- and English-speaking participants in the discussions considered it important for Estonian legislation to be accessible in a language they know. The report highlights among other things that the said target group has high expectations of reduction of bureaucracy and their proposals concern also the quality of service provision by citizenship and migration offices.

The report of Praxis and the Institute of Baltic Studies presents the findings of public discussions to involve resident third-country nationals and people with undefined citizenship in the integration process that were held at the beginning of this year, bringing together the recommendations made by nearly 170 participants.

The proposals of nationals of 25 different countries cover themes such as employment, education, availability of public services, participation in community and decision-making processes, cultural diversity and studying the Estonian language.

The objective of the discussions was to engage non-citizens in decision-making and get input for a new integration strategy and its implementation plan.

The open forum was moderated and the report drawn up by Praxis and the Institute of Baltic Studies. The project was supported by the European Fund for the Integration of Third-Country Nationals, the Ministry of Culture and the Integration and Migration Foundation Our People (MISA).

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