Questionnaires for immigrants and experts
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In early 2011, questionnaires and interviews were conducted among immigrants and related groups (policy-shapers, officials, experts, non-profit organisations et al.) in the four pilot states taking part in the ImmigrationPolicy2.0 project – Estonia, Germany, Italy and Greece. Experts and immigrants from Spain were also involved in the questionnaires to a lesser extent. The questionnaire was designed to identify the respondents’ needs and expectations in regard to the procedure for the submission and processing of migration and labour market documents.
A total of 298 immigrants and 73 representatives of migration interest groups were surveyed in five countries, including 51 immigrants and 16 experts from Estonia. A detailed analysis of the questionnaires can be found here. Summaries for both groups surveyed can be found below.

                    - Immigrants in Estonia

                    - Interest groups in Estonia

Summary of results of questionnaire for immigrants
The immigrants surveyed were highly educated: almost 40% had tertiary education, and a further 10% were in the process of acquiring it. Around two-thirds of the immigrants were employed. There were more working immigrants in Estonia and Greece, whereas in Italy for example unemployment is a major problem (with just 43% of respondents in work). The jobs the immigrants do are varied, from cleaners and postal workers to company directors and university professors. Many of the respondents run their own businesses, which is indicative of the generally enterprising attitude of immigrants.
On average, half of the immigrants considered the work they were currently doing to be in line with their qualifications, although once again there were major differences between the Member States: while the number who answered in this way was as high as 70% in Germany and Estonia, it was lower than 30% in Italy. The scales were slightly higher (albeit proportionally the same between countries) for answers to the question as to whether the immigrants felt that their working conditions were on par with those of locals.
In all of the pilot states, immigrants primarily seek work through personal contacts; public labour market services and the media are less commonly used. Migrants need more information about work and business opportunities, legislation and procedures. They seek this first and foremost from public departments, but also via electronic channels and from other immigrants.
Dealing with public departments is felt to be complicated: more than half of those surveyed claimed that they were unable to give the agencies any feedback. Communication is mostly hindered by lack of language skills, but also by access problems (e.g. too few channels or their being expensive) and social/cultural differences. The immigrants would like to obtain more information via electronic channels and be able to talk to people in public departments in their own languages.
Despite (or rather because of) the existing problems, the majority of those surveyed plan to remain in their current country of residence and do not wish to move to another Member State of the European Union.
Immigrants in Estonia
The immigrants who completed the questionnaire in Estonia are also highly educated (47% with tertiary education), although they consider both their language (Estonian and English) and computer skills to be fairly poor. As a result, language is a problem when dealing with public departments, and they would like to be able to do so in their mother tongues.
72% of those surveyed were in work in Estonia and were generally satisfied with their jobs and the conditions of them, considering them to be in line with their qualifications and on a par with those of locals. The majority of migrants look for work through people they know, although they also use the media and public job mediation services. In obtaining work, the main problems identified were language skills and the fact that residence permits are associated with a specific workplace. The majority of immigrants plan to remain in Estonia and are not interested in moving to another EU Member State.
In dealing with public departments, language problems were again highlighted, along with cultural/social differences and lack of access (e.g. too few communication channels or the cost of using them). Communication with such agencies is primarily over the phone or in writing. While there is generally little awareness of electronic services and computer skills are considered to be poor, migrants would still very much like to obtain information via electronic channels (i.e. the Internet). Migrants would also like more information about options and conditions related to work, business and training, primarily obtaining this via the Internet and other electronic channels. They likewise await the opportunity to submit and have applications and documents processed electronically.
Summary of results of questionnaire for representatives of related groups
Representatives of migration-related interest groups expressed the need for a more strategic i.e. better planned migration policy, including improved monitoring of migration and forecasting of the need for labour migration.
Both international cooperation and cooperation with national organisations in the field of migration are considered very important in all countries, where new technological solutions for the promotion of such cooperation are awaited. The most interesting areas of cooperation are labour migration and exchange of best practice. Cooperation is being hindered by a lack of information and the fact that little importance is attributed to the field of migration politically. More information is sought on legislation, statistics, best practice and public opinion.
Interest groups in Estonia
13 experts from Estonia completed the questionnaire, and in-depth interviews were conducted with three experts. In summary, compared to the other pilot states, migration is a less important issue in Estonia. Labour migration is not a high-priority issue in political debates. The need for labour migration is being neither sufficiently forecast nor analysed and there are no migration projects or programmes with other countries; instead, support is being given to repatriate Estonians living and working abroad. The same measures are offered to immigrants for integration on the labour market as are extended to locals, with no special attention being paid to them.
Cooperation with EU and international organisations in the field of migration is nevertheless considered to be very important by officials and experts in Estonia. In addition to a number of European Union bodies, key partners are the International Organisation for Migration (IOM), the International Labour Organisation (ILO) and the Council of Europe. Their cooperation is primarily in the areas of sharing best practice, legislation, harmonising procedures and analysing data. The main means of communication with international organisations are e-mail, websites and telephone. At the European Union level they participate in joint events designed to harmonise migration procedures, keep in touch with their peer departments in other countries and work together on partnership projects.
In terms of the work that is done in Estonia, the experts surveyed consider cooperation with other agencies, political priorities and extending cooperation to the third sector and other interest groups most important. In their own work the representatives of related groups mostly use statistics and legislation, although the ability to obtain high-quality, comparable information is considered to be a problem. Immigrants are mainly informed via websites, consultation and brochures, while their feedback is obtained via e-mail, ordinary post and telephone.
Estonian experts consider the poor language skills of immigrants, the limited (and overly bureaucratic) information available to immigrants and complex processing procedures to be problematic. Key areas of concern highlighted were the recognition of qualifications and the fact that residence permits are associated with specific workplaces. More attention needs to be turned to the simplification of procedures and the integration and education of immigrants. Information should be presented via a variety of channels and in more languages.

Please note: The online questionnaire resource available on the ImmigrationPolicy2.0 project platform freeware that can be adapted or expanded and used for future questionnaires in pilot states and other countries.