Newly arrived compatriots value the adaptation programme highly

The report commissioned by the Ministry of Culture, evaluating the Settle in Estonia adaptation programme for new immigrants and the network set up to provide services to the same target group, was completed. During the period 2014–2023, the implementation of the adaptation programme and the creation of the network was financed by the European Social Fund and the state with a total contribution of nearly 9.4 million euros.

According to Eda Silberg, Undersecretary for Cultural Diversity at the Ministry of Culture, the evaluation report highlighted important points of reference for further improvement. ‘The number of new immigrants in Estonia has been steadily increasing, and with it, the demand for an adaptation programme. That is why it is so important to make the programme more effective, so that we can offer more people exactly what they need to support their quick and smooth integration in Estonia. An important contribution to the adaptation of new immigrants will also be made by service providers in the field, who will be able to better target and organise their cooperation and the provision of services based on the experience of the network and the results of the analysis,’ she said.

According to the results of the survey, awareness of the adaptation programme offered by the Estonian state is very good among new immigrants. The referral sent by the Police and Border Guard Board in an e-mail to the person arriving in Estonia is effective and sustainable and the initial information about the adaptation programme is clear; however, the complexity of registering for training courses has earned criticism. Online-only registration leaves people with limited digital skills at a disadvantage. The availability of various training courses is also a concern. This is particularly true of language learning, where beginner groups sometimes fill up in a matter of hours. At the same time, participants’ evaluations of the adaptation programme are consistently positive, with high ratings for the trainers, materials, and structure of the training, indicating that the trainings meet expectations.

The analysis of the support network created for the development and provision of services to new immigrants showed that different parties have different expectations for network-based cooperation, as well as different needs for coordinating with each other and exchanging experiences. Local governments expressed the greatest interest in the network, as they can most easily draw on each other’s knowledge and experience to provide services to new immigrants.

The feasibility of continuing the work of the network was also analysed and practical recommendations for the further development of the adaptation programme were compiled. The recommendations made in the assessment concern the clarification of the objectives of both the adaptation programme and the work of the support network, as well as practical suggestions, such as reorganising the registration for adaptation programme trainings, identifying the motivation of participants in the adaptation programme and reducing the number of drop-outs.

The evaluation was funded by the European Social Fund and carried out by CentAR, the Estonian Center for Applied Research.

Read more about the survey: