Did you know that Estonia has an engaging welcoming programme for the newly arrived people?
This article is commercial content, paid for by the European Social Fund and the Ministry of the Interior.
In the recent years, thousands of people from all corners of the world have chosen Estonia as their destination for work and study. Increasingly, more of them settle in the country, and for this to be as smooth as possible, in 2015, the Estonian interior ministry initiated the Welcoming Programme.
Through the free programme, the country offers people from other countries an overview of the main topics they need to know when settling in Estonia. The initiative is meant for foreign nationals who have recently arrived in Estonia or have legally resided in the country for less than five years on the basis of residence permit or right of residence.
What is the programme really about?
The programme is a fun yet very practical introductory crash course to the Estonian way of life. Besides the practical information, participating in the course is an excellent way to socialise and build a social network. The Welcoming Programme offers different training courses and covers most of the topics non-natives who have relocated to Estonia need. There are also courses for learning the basic level of the Estonian language.
All the trainings, which are completely free of charge, are carried out by Expat Relocation Estonia. “All our courses are practical, helping non-natives to get answers to their most burning questions about services provided by the state or the documentation needed for settling in Estonia,” Martin Lään, the project manager of the Welcoming Programme, said. “Plus, it’s a great opportunity for finding new friends in Estonia or sharing similar experiences with other foreigners who may face similar situations.”
“Once there was a young man at the Estonian language course who told us he was learning the language in order to ask his girlfriend’s parents for their blessing on their engagement. As far as I know, he finally did propose to his girlfriend and everybody said ‘yes’ to the happy occasion,” Lään added.
One of the participants, Leonardo Ortega, who relocated to Estonia from Mexico, was full of praise for the programme. “I participated in the Welcoming Programme after already having been in Estonia for three years, and I wished that such thing would have existed when I arrived,” he said. “The information is precise, interesting and really helpful – and is presented in a cool and interactive way. Moreover, I made a couple of friends there – so it is also a good place for networking. I completely recommend it.”
Estonia welcomes new people
The Welcoming Programme came to life thanks to real life needs. Already back in 2012, it was clear that Estonia was competing for qualified workforce not only on the European Union level but also on the global scale. Therefore, the country’s interior ministry initiated and launched the new programme three years ago as part of a larger set of measures to attract and welcome non-natives who are willing to contribute to Estonian state and society.
“On the one hand, the programme functions as an attraction measure; on the other, it has a very practical nature – simply to support people who come to Estonia to work, to study or for research, for family reasons or to conduct business and make their adaptation hassle free,” Martin Tulit, an adviser at the interior ministry, said. “Supporting the migration process and the subsequent adaptation is a win-win situation for both – for the state as well as for the newcomer.”
Since 2015, more than 3,000 attendances at various training courses of the Welcoming Programme have taken place. In a way, the initiative brings the state and its public institutions closer to the newcomer and vice versa. On the one hand, the country receives the necessary feedback on the possible bottlenecks and hurdles foreigners face when moving to Estonia and starting their life here. On the other, to non-natives who have chosen Estonia as their second home, the programme tries to offer the best introductory support possible.
The Welcoming Programme is funded by the European Union via the European Social Fund and by the Estonian ministry of the interior.
Cover: Participants at the Welcoming Programme (photo by Siim Kumpas).