Integration measure

Priority axis 2 “Increasing social inclusion”

Measure 2.6 “Creating opportunities for less integrated permanent residents living in the Estonian society for increasing active participation and social activity as well as for supporting the adaptation and integration of new arrivals” (integration activities).

About integration

Integration aims to promote a situation, where the representatives of other ethnic groups who reside in Estonia and Estonians have been ensured a cohesive and tolerant society in order to ensure that it would be a good and safe place to live in – to work, study, promote culture, and be a part of the society and its fully-fledged member. In Estonia, both the Ministry of the Interior and the Ministry of Culture are responsible for the functioning of the domains that concern integration. These domains are also under the responsibility of the Ministry of Education and Research and the Ministry of Social Affairs. Most of integration activities are carried out by the Integration and Migration Foundation Our People (MISA).

Integration and the European Union

Europe’s aging population is one of the biggest challenges for the EU. One of the five EU objectives for 2020 is to increase employment by 75% among 20–64-year-olds across the European Union. Consequently, to maintain and increase the competitiveness of the economy, it is necessary to further involve various groups in the labour market, while also focusing on less integrated permanent residents and foreign labour force. “Monitoring of Integration in the Estonian Society in 2011”, which was compiled by the researchers of the University of Tartu, has highlighted the fact that the unemployment rate among new arrivals and less integrated population is higher than among other residents of Estonia. Employment problems often include low proficiency in Estonian, few social contacts, and incomplete or scarcely accessible information about the labour market and other options concerning the society. 

About the integration measure and its implementation

The implementing unit of the measure is Foundation Innove, which carries out project monitoring and control. With regard to the integration measure, the beneficiary is MISA on the basis of the directive of the Minister of Culture. Although all activities are nationwide, it should be taken into account that the representatives of the target group (less integrated permanent residents) mainly reside in cities, namely in three major regions: Ida-Virumaa, Harjumaa and Tallinn, and Tartu. 


One of the key objectives of the implementation of this measure is to create opportunities for less integrated permanent residents to participate in the Estonian society, including employment, life-long learning, and civil society.

This includes:

  •  providing relevant and updated information in practical matters;
  • enabling the improvement of Estonian language proficiency;
  • ensuring opportunities for acquiring competence to cope and actively participate in the society, including the labour market, life-long learning, and civil society;
  • creating a background of values that support social activeness.

Target groups


  • Less integrated residents of Estonia – Less integrated citizens at birth and persons who have stayed in the Republic of Estonia on legal grounds over five years, who have acquired Estonian citizenship or are undefined or have citizenship of another country. The majority of those non-Estonian permanent residents live in Tallinn (43%), followed by Virumaa (35%). The smallest number of non-Estonians reside in South-Estonia (3%).
  • Wider public.

The implementation of the measure is based on sectoral development plan titled “Integrating Estonia 2020” and its implementation plan.


Activities supported

Four major groups of activities are supported from the measures:
  • Providing information – contributes to faster adaptation of less integrated permanent residents to the Estonian society and keeps them updated with regard to the labour market. This includes, for example, the establishment of a common web environment concerning integration; the compilation of questions-answers into a common forum; consultation; the preparation and distribution of learning and information materials. The established information and consultation centres provide less integrated permanent residents with information related to studying and working in Estonia, services concerning social welfare, etc.
  • Providing language courses – helps less integrated permanent residents to better cope in daily life and ensures that they have better conditions for participating in or entering the labour market. Various language courses are offered within this framework – both for passing the citizenship test and for additional language courses on the levels of A2, B1, and B2. In addition, it is possible to participate in language immersion training sessions in order to practise Estonian in language immersion clubs and get acquainted with the cultural life of Estonia through the so-called culture clubs.
  • Supporting the emergence of social competencies – in addition to language courses, the provision of integration training and the development of support networks are also supported. Integration training help less integrated permanent residents to prepare for the citizenship test. The integration programme is carried out by MISA.
  • Shaping attitudes – support is provided for those media and outreach activities, which increase tolerance in Estonian society. Attitudes are also shaped by means of cooperation activities, which take place at the level of ministries, local governments, and civil society. This helps to increase the awareness of people residing in Estonia about various cultures, traditions, and values, which in turn improves attitudes towards other ethnic groups.



Aleksander Aidarov
Adviser of Cultural Diversity Department

Phone 628 2226


Last updated: 14 May 2019