Slovakia is not one of the traditional final destinations for migrants. It is a culturally homogeneous country, which was not affected by the dramatic increase of migration during the twentieth century. Until recently, Slovakia was almost exclusively country of origin of the migrants, in other words a country whose residents used to migrate abroad for various reasons.
It was the accession of the Slovak Republic (SR) to the European Union (EU) and the Schengen Area that caused more significant changes. During the period since 2004, the illegal and asylum migration has decreased and the legal migration has increased more than four times. Although the increase of foreign population in Slovakia in years 2004 – 2008 was the second highest among the EU states, the representation of foreigners in population remains low. Today the foreigners make up 2.2 percent of population and their number is slowly, yet continuously increasing: in 2018, there were about 16,813 more foreigners living in Slovakia than the year before, which means an increase of 16%.1
In addition to migration based on social reasons, such as family reunification or marriage to a Slovak citizen, the most significant component of legal migration to Slovakia is currently migration for work, business purposes and study.
(Unless otherwise stated, the following statistics were updated as of 31 December 2018.)
FACTS & FIGURES ON MIGRATION IN SLOVAKIA
121,264: The number of foreigners with residence permits in Slovakia in 20182
- They represent 2.22% of the total population of Slovakia.3
- Since the accession of SR into the EU in 2004, the number of legally living foreigners in Slovakia has increased more than six times (from 22,108 migrants in 2004 to 121,264 in 2018).
- If all the foreigners in SR concentrated in one place, they would create a town with population like Prešov and Bardejov together.
6.: Out of all the EU countries, Slovakia has the sixth lowest proportion of foreigners4
- Only Croatia (1.27%), Bulgaria (1.22%), Lithuania (0.97%), Poland (0.63%) and Romania (0.57%) have lower proportion of foreigners in the total population.
- Out of the neighbouring countries, Czech Republic (4.86%) and Austria (15.71%) all have a higher proportion of migrants.
43.4%: The proportion of the Austrian, Czech, Hungarian, Polish and Ukrainian citizens in the total population of foreigners in the SR5
- Traditionally, the most numerous category of foreigners in Slovakia is formed by the citizens of neighbouring countries, who are mostly linked to Slovakia by work, family and social relations.
- Another important group of foreigners is formed by the citizens of the south-eastern European countries (Romania, Bulgaria, Russia, Serbia), who represent 23.2% of all foreigners in Slovakia.
- In the past, the nationals of these countries formed their communities in Slovakia and their compatriots continue to come to Slovakia because of studies, work or family reasons.
- Foreigners from the Asian countries (Vietnam, China, Korean Republic, Thailand), who were dynamically growing group of foreigners in Slovakia in the past and now the increase in their number has slowed, form together 7.1% of all foreigners in Slovakia; their number amounted to 8,626.
46.1%: The citizens of the EU countries account for almost half of all foreigners in Slovakia
- Most EU countries citizens in Slovakia come from the Czech Republic. They form 9% of the total population of foreigners.6
- Apart from the nationals of Hungary (7%) and Poland (4.8%), the citizens of Germany (3.8%), Italy (2.4%) and Austria (2%) are also numerous among the EU countries citizens living in Slovakia.
- An important increase of the number of migrants occurred in the case of Romanian nationals (6.1%), who have been coming to Slovakia as workers since their country’s accession to the European Union. In 2018, 11,072 Romanians were employed in Slovakia, compared to 6,062 Czech citizens and 5,933 Hungarian citizens.7
1/5: The proportion of Ukrainians in the total number of foreigners in Slovakia (20.5%); Ukrainians are the most numerous group of foreigners in Slovakia both from the EU and outside the EU7
- Considering non-EU nationals in Slovakia, Ukrainians are followed by the nationals of Serbia, the Russian federation, Vietnam, China and the Korean Republic.
53.9%: The proportion of non-EU nationals in the overall number of foreigners in Slovakia
- This proportion represents approximately 1.2% of population of the SR.
- If all of non-EU nationals in Slovakia concentrated in one place, with a number of 65,381 people they would form a town as large as Trnava.
69,116: The number of foreign employees in the SR in 20189
- Currently, there is one foreign employee per 32 national employees.10
- Since the Slovakia’s accession to the European Union, the number of foreign employees has increased more than twenty times – from 3,351 persons in 2004 to 69,116 in 2018, including 32,851 nationals from outside the EU.
- In 2018, foreigners from ca 130 countries were employed in Slovakia, most of Serbia (13,561), Ukraine (11,842; an increase of 7,216 compared to the previous year), Romania (11,072), Czech Republic (6,062) and Hungary (5,933).11
- Among the foreign workers, men constitute a substantial majority; they form more than 75% of all employed foreigners.12
2,819: The number of foreigners that in 2018 illegally crossed the borders or illegally resided in the territory of the Slovak Republic13
- Since the accession of the SR into the EU until 2014, the illegal migration to SR has decreased eight times: from 10,946 illegal migrants in 2004 to 1,304 in 2014.
- In 2016, the number of migrants that illegally crossed the borders or illegally resided in the SR increased to 2,170, in 2017 it increased to 2,706 and in 2018 their number amounted to 2,819.14
178: The number of applications for asylum in the SR in 201815
- In 2018, citizens of Afghanistan, Iraq, Yemen, Azerbaijan and Iran applied for asylum most often.
- From January to December 2018, the Slovak Republic granted asylum to 5 people.
- By comparison, in 2004 11,395 persons applied for asylum in the SR; in last years, the number of applications has stabilized at several hundred per year.16
- From the overall number of 58,811 applications since 1993, asylum was granted to 854 people, whereas 746 people were provided subsidiary protection as another form of international protection.17
1 Bureau of Border and Alien Police of the Presidium of the Police Force (BBAP P PF) – Statistical Overview of Legal and Illegal Migration in the Slovak Republic in 2017 and 2018 (http://www.minv.sk/?rocenky)
2 BBAP P PF – Statistical Overview of Legal and Illegal Migration in the Slovak Republic – 2018 (http://www.minv.sk/swift_data/source/policia/hranicna_a_cudzinecka_policia/rocenky/rok_2018/2018-rocenka-UHCP-EN.pdf)
3 Statistical Office of the Slovak Republic – Stock of population in the SR on 31th December 2018 (5 450 421) (https://www.susr.sk/wps/portal?urile=wcm:path:/obsah-en-inf-akt/informativne-spravy/vsetky/53574f49-236a-4825-9db7-126a97ca429a)
4 Eurostat – Population by citizenship and residence – Foreigners (Statistics as of 1 January 2018) (https://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/tgm/table.do?tab=table&init=1&language=en&pcode=tps00001&plugin=1, https://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/tgm/table.do?tab=table&init=1&language=en&pcode=tps00157&plugin=1 and https://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/tgm/table.do?tab=table&init=1&language=en&pcode=tps00178&plugin=1)
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7 Central Office of Labour, Social Affairs and Family – Employment of foreigners in the Slovak Republic, as of December 2018 (https://www.upsvr.gov.sk/buxus/docs/statistic/cudzinci/2018/cudzinci_1812.xlsx)
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10 Statistical Office of the SR – Employment in the 4th quarter of 2018 (https://www.susr.sk/wps/portal?urile=wcm:path:/obsah-en-inf-akt/informativne-spravy/vsetky/21dc6fb8-9ea7-43b2-bc68-0e300e14361a:path:/obsah-en-inf-akt/informativne-spravy/vsetky/21dc6fb8-9ea7-43b2-bc68-0e300e14361a)
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14 BBAP P PF – Statistical Overview of Legal and Illegal Migration in the Slovak Republic (from 2000 – 2018) (http://www.minv.sk/?rocenky)
15 Migration Office of the Ministry of Interior of the SR – Statistical overview of asylum seekers as of December 2018 (https://www.minv.sk/?statistiky-20&subor=320655)
16 Statistics of the Migration Office of the Ministry of Interior of the SR (http://www.minv.sk/?statistiky-20)
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Last updated on 5 April 2019.