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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. The program places emphasis on Estonian language instruction abroad; preserving culture and a sense of belonging to the Estonian nation; archival work for the preservation of Estonian history; and the return of expatriate Estonians.
As of January 1, 2019, Latvia became one of a handful of countries to implement a separate diaspora law to foster engagement from a wide net of diaspora members: even those individuals who feel some affinity to Latvia while not necessarily tracing their lineage back to the country are considered part of the diaspora.
Further, the Baltic states have been less than successful in managing integration and social cohesion issues.
The Migrant Integration Policy Index (MIPEX) has continuously noted the anti-immigrant sentiment that exists in all three Baltic countries.
For example, International House Estonia is a one-stop agency that helps newcomers settle, while the Career Hunt initiative provides an all-expense paid trip to Estonia for IT specialists looking to move to the country.
The targeted approach to immigration, coupled with the fact that in the past decade Estonia has rebranded itself as the global leader in digitalization—spearheading concepts such as e-Residency, E-Estonia, and digital identification cards (government initiatives to simplify citizen and resident access to the Estonian government’s online services, thus allowing entrepreneurs to invest in and manage digital businesses from anywhere in the world)—has garnered results.