Syrian family arrives in Estonia from Turkey under EU plan

By Aili Vahtla

An apartment in Vägeva renovated for use by refugee families

A ten-member family originally from Syria and consisting of two parents, their seven children and one aunt, arrived in Estonia under the EU refugee distribution plan last week.

The family that arrived in Estonia from Turkey on Oct. 24 is made up of two parents, their seven children and the children's aunt, spokespeople for the Ministry of Social Affairs told BNS. One of the children has reached adulthood.

The parents primarily have basic education and work experience in various sectors.

The family is temporarily being housed at an accommodation center in Vägeva as a permanent place of residence is prepared for them.

Prior to this family's arrival, the last time a refugee family relocated under the EU migrant distribution plan arrived in Estonia was in the first half of July, and before that, in June.

Thus far, a total of 171 people have been relocated to and resettled in Estonia in the framework of the EU migration plan, including 30 from Turkey.

All 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. Should anyone exceed this limit, they will no longer be paid support by the Estonian government, and also be unable to work or receive benefits in other EU member states. Upon their return to Estonia, however, they will retain their right to a support person and have the opportunity to continue with language studies.

As of the second half of October, 79 people in 17 families have exceeded the limit for the amount of time one is permitted to be away from Estonia. An additional family of six is also currently not in Estonia, but their absence has not surpassed the 90-day mark.

Estonia has pledged to accept 550 asylum-seekers from Italy, Greece and Turkey over a period of two years under the EU migrant relocation and resettlement plan, including up to 160 asylum-seekers from Turkey.

Source: BNSrefugeesministry of social affairs