Accommodation Centre for Asylum Seekers

Accommodation Centre

Who We Are:

Accommodation Centre for Asylum Seekers is an agency administered by the AS Hoolekandeteenused, the duty of which is to organize the provision of necessary services to applicants during asylum proceedings. 

The Accommodation Centre operates pursuant to the Constitution, laws and other legislation.

The purpose of the activities of the Accommodation Centre is to render necessary assistance to asylum seekers by arranging essential services for them.



In recent years the number of refugees has multiplied: in 1970 there were 2.5 million refugees in the world. According to UNHCR, the United Nations refugee organization, about 22 million people needed help in the year 2000.

Europe faced the problem of refugees after World War I and World War II, and quite recently after the end of the cold war and in connection with the war in Yugoslavia.

A refugee is a person who has reason to fear persecution in his or her country of nationality or country of permanent residence for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion.

The decision to grant asylum or reject the application shall be based on the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees, the 1967 Protocol and the Refugees Act of the Republic of Estonia

Estonia ratified the convention in 1997, thereby assuming an obligation to provide protection to refugees.

The Refugees Act entered into force in 1997. The first following years were difficult. The Act had entered into force but there was no reception center where to accommodate asylum seekers and the state also lacked funds.

The first asylum seekers were housed in the Social Rehabilitation Center.
In April 1998 the Illuka Reception Center for Asylum Seekers was established by a government regulation. Necessary funds were also allocated but the Reception Center did not have a house of its own where to accommodate all the asylum seekers. As a temporary solution the applicants were housed in the Occupational Diseases Clinic, then in the Kose boarding school. Later the asylum seekers were transferred to hotel “Gabriel” in Maardu. Some time after that the Reception Center entered into an agreement with the Aa nursing home, where it received the rooms vacated by a shelter (safe house). Asylum seekers moved there in August 1998, where they stayed until spring 2000.

In May 2000 the only reception center for asylum seekers in Estonia opened its doors in Jaama village in the rural municipality of Illuka.

In January 2014 the accommodation center for asylum seekers in Estonia opened its doors in the village of Väike-Maarja in Viru County. The work of the accommodation centre is organised by AS Hoolekandeteenused. Pursuant to Subsection 32 (3) of the Act on Granting International Protection to Aliens, an administration contract for the provision of the service of a reception centre for asylum seekers was entered into between the Ministry of Social Affairs and AS Hoolekandeteenused on 11 April 2013.

In June 2016 Accommodation Centre opened its doors also in Vägeva in Jõgeva Parish, Jõgeva County. The Accommodation Centre for Asylum Seekers in Vao is able to house up to 70 and the Centre in Vägeva up to 50 applicants for asylum.

At the moment the Centre in Vao hosts 30 asylum seekers and 9 refugees, Vägeva Centre hosts 16 asylum seekers.