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However, Estonia is also cautious in its efforts to bring back highly skilled individuals: Bringing Talent Home, a 2010-12 return migration initiative, failed to reach its goals, and was instead perceived as highly offensive by members of the diaspora who did not meet the program’s requirements.
Instead, the Estonian government has partnered with several nongovernmental initiatives to attract talented foreign workers and encourage their settlement.
In the Baltic states—Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania—high emigration rates and shrinking, aging populations are leading to an impending demographic crisis.
The region is one of the most rapidly depopulating in the world, and according to United Nations estimates, by 2050 Latvia’s population could shrink by 22 percent, while those in Lithuania and Estonia could decline by 17 percent and 13 percent, respectively.
Under a 2015 EU plan to allocate asylum seekers more equitably across the bloc, Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania were obliged to accept 1,679 refugees in total.
High Emigration Rates and a Reluctance to Accept Non-EU Migrants The Baltic states have been very sensitive to immigration from outside the European Union and stringent about maintaining their ethnic balance, as well as protecting their languages and cultures.
This sensitivity reflects the region’s contentious history with the Soviet Union, including population transfers and enduring effects of Russification policies—which sought to impose Russian language and culture in an effort to eradicate the Baltic languages and heritage through cultural assimilation.
Population shrinkage in nothing new in the already sparsely populated Baltics: during periods of Nazi and Soviet occupations, the region suffered from tremendous loss of residents.
After the collapse of the Soviet Union and opening of the borders to the West, the Baltics experienced significant emigration.