Better availability of information will help foreigners to adapt quicker - study

04.04.2014, 15:29

In order to facilitate the adaptation of foreigners staying in Estonia it is necessary to ensure better availability of information and existence of an effective adaptation program, finds the study on foreigner adaption to Estonian society.

This week Estonian Ministry of the Interior presented a new study “Adaptation of new immigrants in Estonia: choices and political proposals to form a comprehensive and sustainable system”. In this study the interviewed foreigners and the organizations recruiting them were drawing attention to the difficulties in obtaining important practical information and information regarding functioning of the state as well as to the currently modest role of the state in facilitating adaptation.

According to Ruth Annus, Head of Migration and Border Policy Department at the Ministry of the Interior, the study has confirmed the necessity of several measures already being worked on and showed that the state is moving in the right direction with regard to facilitating the adaptation of foreigners.

“This year we will develop a new adaptation program for new immigrants, which will allow foreigners who settle in Estonia to receive information on local employment, entrepreneurship and study opportunities as well as to get some basic Estonian language training. We also plan a special information gateway aimed at foreigners”, says Annus. “We are acting in order to create a comprehensive and efficient system that would support immigration, to make the adaptation of new immigrants as comfortable as possible and to attract highly educated workers in Estonia”.

The study showed that it is necessary to improve the quality of information exchange and cooperation on both local (universities, employers, local municipalities, Migration and Citizenship Bureaus of the Police and Border Guard Board, etc.) and state (umbrella organizations, ministries, etc.) levels. It is also necessary to improve awareness of employers and their preparedness to recruit foreigners who obtain their higher education in Estonia, have already adapted in Estonia and offer additional value on the labor market.

“Today services facilitating adaptation are considered to be an investment that allows new immigrants to be an active part of the new society and to start making their contribution immediately upon arriving to the country”, comments Annus. “The practice of other countries that was analyzed in the study allows us to learn how to better organize migration and adaptation, thus improving the image of Estonia even further”.

The study has revealed that in order to maintain a good image of Estonia attention should be paid to avoiding any expressions that foreigners may consider to be insulting or even hateful. Although examples of hate speech are rare and they do not constitute the reason not to come to Estonia, they may well become the reason to leave the country.

According to Annus, it is noteworthy that some Estonian employers and scientific institutions already offer support services aimed at the adaptation of foreigners. “The central role in the adaptation of foreigners will continue to belong to recruiting organizations, although we plan to increase the role of the state, too”, adds Annus. “The study has indicated several examples of areas where the state could contribute – for instance, the need to focus on improving availability of information, making services more convenient and developing a comprehensive talent attraction policy”.

A new immigrant is any foreigner who has legally moved to Estonia and has been staying in the country for less than five years.

The study was carried out by the Institute of Baltic Studies in cooperation with HeiVäl Consulting. The study was initiated by the Ministry of the Interior, the Ministry of Economics and Communications and the Ministry of Justice. The Ministry of Education and Research along with the Ministry of Culture were also participating in the managing commission for the study. The study was supported by the Wise Decisions Foundation of the Government Office that is funded from the European Social Fund.