Slovak Republic

In 2021, 23 000 new immigrants obtained a residence permit longer than 12 months in the Slovak Republic (excluding EU citizens), 52.2% more than in 2020. This figure comprises 75.2% labour migrants, 11.6% family members (including accompanying family), 10.5% who came for education reasons and 2.8% other migrants. In addition, the Slovak Republic received 1 600 immigrants benefitting from free mobility. Around 300 short-term permits were issued to international students and 4 200 to temporary and seasonal labour migrants (excluding intra-EU migration). In addition, 14 000 intra-EU postings were recorded in 2021, a -20% decrease compared to 2020. These posted workers are generally on short-term contracts.

The Czech Republic, Hungary and Ukraine were the top three nationalities of newcomers in 2021. Among the top 15 countries of origin, the Czech Republic registered the largest decrease (-200) in flows to the Slovak Republic compared to the previous year.

In 2022, the number of first asylum applicants increased by 53%, to reach around 500. The majority of applicants came from Ukraine (200, excluding temporary protection recipients), Türkiye (75) and Morocco (70). The largest increase since 2021 concerned nationals of Ukraine (+200) and the largest decrease nationals of Afghanistan (-75). Of the 150 decisions taken in 2022, 47% were positive.

Emigration of Slovak citizens to OECD countries decreased by -9% in 2021, to 27 000. Approximately 26% of this group migrated to the Czech Republic, 20% to Germany and 15% to Austria.

On 1 June 2022, an amendment to Act 480/2002 on Asylum came into force, introducing significant changes to the primary integration of asylum seekers and foreigners granted subsidiary protection. The main changes include a revised hierarchy of protection statuses, giving priority to subsidiary protection, followed by family reunification and humanitarian reasons. In addition, the benefits available to beneficiaries of subsidiary protection have been expanded. The amendment also requires social and psychological counselling as well as cultural orientation courses. To promote integration and facilitate financial independence, the waiting period for access to the labour market has been reduced from nine to six months, while access to the labour market is without the obligation to obtain a work permit. Finally, the amendment introduces a provision for a period of absence from reception centres, the so-called “long-term pass”.

In addition, as of April 2022, highly skilled non-EU nationals can apply for a temporary work permit, known as the National Visa for the purpose of looking for a job for a period of three months or a job for one year. The main objective of the National Visa is to meet the demand for highly skilled professionals in the information technology sector, an industry that has experienced difficulties both nationally and global from April 2022, national visas for selected groups of third country nationals – truck and bus drivers with quotas from selected countries are valid. This visa allows them to work in the country for up to one year, with the possibility of extension. Compared to other types of permits, the National Visa is less administratively complex, allowing both new and relocating employees to start working in the Slovak Republic sooner.

To address shortages in the healthcare sector, changes to the training of third-country healthcare professionals were introduced in October 2022. The reform focuses on improving employment opportunities by streamlining the recognition of qualifications and simplifying language requirements. Migrant health workers with recognised qualifications will now be able to undertake temporary work placements to gain experience and improve their chances of future employment.

New legislative changes came into force on 1 January 2023, affecting both EU and non-EU nationals. Key changes include the abolition of the labour market test for certain categories of workers, such as third-country nationals applying for the renewal of a single permit or blue card without changing job positions. Employers must submit information cards for EU nationals on assignment or secondment to the Labour Office within seven days, thus strengthening administrative compliance. Non-EU nationals can continue working under an expired permit during the renewal process if the renewal application is submitted at least 90 days before the permit expires. In addition, non-EU nationals with a residence permit for family reunification only need to apply for a work permit for the first nine months of their stay, allowing for greater access to the labour market thereafter.

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