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Foreign-born population – 2018

0.4 million, 44% women

17% of the population

Main countries of birth:

Bosnia and Herzegovina (36%), Croatia (17%), Serbia (10%)

In 2017, 11 000 new immigrants obtained a residence permit longer than 12 months in Slovenia (excluding EU citizens), 54.7% more than in 2016. This figure comprises 60.9% labour migrants, 36.4% family members (including accompanying family), 0.9% who came for education reasons and 1.8% other migrants.

Around 1 700 short-term permits were issued to tertiary-level international students and 5 200 to temporary and seasonal labour migrants (excluding intra-EU migration). In addition, 6 200 intra-EU postings were recorded in 2017, an increase of 21% compared to 2016. These posted workers were generally on short-term contracts.

Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia and North Macedonia were the top three nationalities of newcomers in 2017. Among the top 15 countries of origin, Bosnia and Herzegovina registered the strongest increase (4 800) and Croatia the largest decrease (- 100) in flows to Slovenia compared to the previous year.

In 2018, the number of first asylum applicants nearly doubled (+94.4%), to reach around 2 800. The majority of applicants come from Pakistan (800), Algeria (500) and Afghanistan (500). The largest increase since 2017 concerned nationals of Pakistan (600) and the largest decrease nationals of Afghanistan (-100). Of the 200 decisions taken in 2018, 42.6% were positive.

Emigration of Slovenes to OECD countries decreased by 4.8% to 8 300. Approximately 37.2% of this group migrated to Germany, 30.2% to Austria and 10.1% to Switzerland.

In April 2018, amendments to the Employment, Self-Employment and Work of Aliens Act (ZZSDT) were implemented as a result of the adoption of the Investment Promotion Act. A “fast-track” procedure was established to allow registered employers of high-value-added or start-up companies to speed up the recruitment of foreigners. Slovenia also transposed the EU intracompany transferee (ICT) directive (2014/66/EU).

In September 2017, and followed by updates in January and June 2018, Slovenia revised its occupation shortages list. Access to the labour market for foreign workers became easier for these professions, since a prior labour market test is not necessary for them to complete.

The Cross-border Provision of Services Act, which entered into force in January 2018, involved new developments for cross-border provision of services and the posting of workers to other EU and EFTA countries. The Act regulates the implementation of European regulations for the coordination of social security systems so that abuse and violation of posted workers’ rights may be prevented. Accordingly, the Act focuses on preventing the posting of workers by so-called “letter-box companies” and companies that do not comply with the relevant provisions of labour law relating to workers’ rights. The main focus of the Act is to stipulate certain mandatory terms and working conditions to be applied by foreign service providers (e.g. maximum work and minimum rest periods; minimum hourly wages, including for overtime work; minimum paid annual holidays; minimum health, safety and hygiene conditions at work; protective measures in favour of pregnant women, young mothers, children and young workers; equality of treatment between genders; and other provisions of non-discrimination).

In 2017, the Act on Amendments to the Agreement on the Employment of Citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina in Slovenia began to apply. This Act facilitates the employment of citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina by eliminating the previous 30-day application period and by simplifying any change of employer after the end of a contract in the first year of employment. The amended Agreement now makes it clear that the obligation to suspend legal residence for a six-month period applies only when the migrant worker voluntarily returns to the country of origin after the expiry of the permit, due to the ending of the period for which the permit was issued (three years). In February 2018, a new Bilateral Agreement on the Employment of Citizens of the Republic of Serbia in the Republic of Slovenia was signed, setting new conditions facilitating the labour market integration of Serbian and Slovenian workers in the other country and their reintegration on return.

In April 2018, Slovenia committed to implementing its first ever refugee resettlement programme, resettling 60 Syrian refugees from Turkey to Slovenia. The programme, with the support of IOM, brought the first group in July 2018.

For further information:

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Key figures on immigration and emigration - Slovenia
Key figures on immigration and emigration - Slovenia

Notes and sources are at the end of the chapter.


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