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Foreign-born population – 2018

0.2 million, 49% women

3% of the population

Evolution since 2007: -48%

Main countries of birth:

Czech Republic (46%), Hungary (9%), Ukraine (6%)

In 2017, 9 800 new immigrants obtained a residence permit longer than 12 months in the Slovak Republic (excluding EU citizens), 33.1% more than in 2016. This figure comprises 47.7% labour migrants, 21.2% family members (including accompanying family), 15.2% who came for educational reasons and 15.8% other migrants.

Around 500 short-term permits were issued to tertiary-level international students and 2 700 to temporary and seasonal labour migrants (excluding intra-EU migration). In addition, 14 000 intra-EU postings were recorded in 2017, an increase of 40% compared to 2016. These posted workers were generally on short-term contracts.

The Czech Republic, Hungary and Romania were the top three nationalities of newcomers in 2017. Among the top 15 countries of origin, Ukraine registered the strongest increase (48) and Romania the largest decrease (-200) in flows to the Slovak Republic compared to the previous year.

In 2018, the number of first asylum applicants was the same as for the previous year: 200. The largest contingents of applicants come from Afghanistan (30), Yemen (20) and Azerbaijan (15). The largest increase since 2017 concerned nationals of Yemen (20) and the largest decrease nationals of Viet Nam (-10). Of the 80 decisions taken in 2018, 56.3% were positive.

Emigration of Slovaks to OECD countries decreased by 3.6% to 33 000. Approximately 36.9% of this group migrated to Germany, 19.1% to the Czech Republic and 15.2% to Austria.

In October 2018, the Slovak government adopted a Strategy for the Labour Mobility of Foreigners in the Slovak Republic. The strategy, which encompasses both short- and medium-term measures, aims at addressing the current shortage of qualified labour in the Slovak labour market. Its objectives are to: ensure sustainable economic growth and improve the quality of life of citizens as well as immigrants living in the country; respond to new technologies and changes in the labour market; react to changes in demographic developments and the related implications for the social security and pension scheme; combat illegal forms of work, detrimental working conditions and labour abuses; and promote the integration of immigrants at the local level.

In the context of this new Strategy, legislative changes to the Employment Service law and the Law on Stay of Foreign Nationals took effect in January 2019. All vacancies – and not only labour market tested vacancies – must now be reported. The process for recruiting foreign workers for shortage occupations in districts with unemployment below 5% has been reformed. These occupations are exempt from the 20-day labour market test and the processing time limit for deciding on temporary stay applications for shortage occupations was reduced from 90 to 30 days from the time the police receive the approval of the work permit from the labour office. Employers on a Ministry of Economy list of Technological Centers will also have their work permit applications processed within 30 days, rather than 90. The shortage occupation list will also be updated quarterly instead of annually. For companies employing fewer than 30% of third-country nationals, an expedited procedure allows vacancies to be filled rapidly by recruiting a temporary foreign worker. The labour market test requirement has been reduced for certain employers and for certain renewals. A work permit for a third-country national may be granted on the condition that the employer did not break the prohibition on illegal employment during the preceding five years.

Certain categories of foreign workers may now start job training after submitting an application during the initial 90-day stay. Job training is limited to six consecutive weeks in one calendar year and employers must notify the labour office of job training within seven business days.

In 2018, the Slovak Republic also transposed the Directive 2013/32/EU of the European Parliament and Council on common procedures for granting and withdrawing international protection. This involved amendments to the Slovak Act on asylum, particularly setting a six-month period for deciding on asylum cases and regulating the conditions for its extension, or, indeed, the suspension of the procedure. The new amendment also includes conditions for termination of asylum or subsidiary protection, in cases where, for example, the person under protection acquires the nationality of another EU member State.

Finally, new regulations effective in 2018 have aimed at simplifying administrative procedures, in particular, by requesting public authorities to use information and documents already registered in administrative information systems instead of asking individuals to provide them again. Foreign nationals are included in the scope of this law.

For further information:

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Key figures on immigration and emigration - Slovak Republic
Key figures on immigration and emigration - Slovak Republic

Notes and sources are at the end of the chapter.


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