In 2020, International Organization for Migration (IOM) expanded its services by providing support to UK citizens in Slovakia following the United Kingdom's departure from the European Union. The IOM Migration Information Centre provided over 3,150 consultations more than in 2019. Read more about results of IOM key activities in Slovakia.
Migrant Integration – IOM Migration Information Centre (MIC)
In 2020, the IOM Migration Information Centre (MIC) provided 13,556 personal, telephone or e-mail consultations in Bratislava and Košice on residence, family, employment, business, education or citizenship in the Slovak Republic.
MIC's consulting services were used by a total of 8,237 beneficiaries, mainly from Ukraine, the Russian Federation, Serbia, India, the USA and Iran.
“The number of provided consultations has been growing since the Centre´s opening 14 years ago. The pandemic year 2020 had an unfortunate impact also on migrants living in the Slovak Republic. Some migrants' residence permits expired during an emergency situation, they could not return home due to travel restrictions, many lost their jobs – all this and many other situations needed to be addressed immediately," explains Zuzana Vatráľová, the Head of the IOM Office in Slovakia.
The number of MIC beneficiaries in 2020 increased by more than 2000 compared to the previous year.
"In 2020 IOM had to take measures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. We provide personal consultations only upon prior appointment, we strengthened the telephone line 0850 211 478, the number of e-mail consultations increased, our website www.mic.iom.sk was visited by more than 34,000 persons per month. Slovak language courses were offered online, information webinars were organized for those interested and we produced useful video tutorials for them," adds Zuzana Vatráľová.
The MIC website www.mic.iom.sk is a unique source of legal and practical information for migrants about important areas of life in Slovakia. Information is available in Slovak, English and Russian. In 2020, 408,852 visitors searched the information on the MIC website and the site recorded 1,230,087 views.
The MIC created the Covid-19 information section on its website about the measures of the Slovak Republic against the spread of the coronavirus and the impact of these measures on the stay, work and other areas of life of foreign nationals in Slovakia. Information on anti-pandemic measures is regularly updated and is available in English, Russian and Slovak.
The MIC also expanded its services and introduced popular online webinars, during which MIC staff provided information and answered questions from the webinars’ participants. The issues discussed included the impact of anti-pandemic measures on their stay in Slovakia, family benefits, first steps for foreign students or conditions for marriage and reunification of families in Slovakia.
In 2020, the Visa Check web application service were used by 3,905 beneficiaries from 137 countries and further 2,190 beneficiaries used the Work Permit Check web application service. The innovative MIC applications offer information for migrants from any country in the world who want to come to Slovakia and want to find out if they need a visa to enter country and what kind of permit is needed for studying, working or doing business in Slovakia.
New video tutorials on how to fill in applications for temporary and permanent residence in Slovakia were met with great interest of the clients and general public. The tutorials offer detailed information on how to proceed with the applications’ submission and what obligations the applicants have in relation to the various types of residence.
The MIC continues to support migrants in their integration into the labour market in Slovakia. 698 beneficiaries received assistance with orientation in the labour market - with preparing their CV, preparing for an interview, communicating with employers, finding job offers or arranging employment. Another 44 beneficiaries received financial support from the MIC for retraining courses, which will increase their chances of finding a job.
In 2020, the Centre continued to provide counselling to unaccompanied migrant children in the centres for children and families. In total, MIC provided services to 75 beneficiaries, which included Slovak language courses, individual legal advice and the involvement of the MIC cultural mediator in the integration and cultural orientation.
In 2020, the MIC also organized free open Slovak language courses for non-EU nationals, which were attended by 1,328 participants in Bratislava, Košice, Žilina, Banská Bystrica and Medzilaborce. 327 beneficiaries took part in social and cultural orientation courses that help participants learn about important areas of culture and life in Slovakia.
The Centre cooperates with six cultural mediators – representatives of communities of migrants in Slovakia, with whom 16 Welcoming Slovakia meetings for more than 370 participants were organized in 2020. At the meetings, participants gain practical and useful information about life in Slovakia.
The MIC is the counselling centre of the International Organization for Migration (IOM). Since 2006, it has been providing foreigners with services helping them with social, economic and cultural integration in Slovakia. It provides comprehensive integration, social and vocational counselling to foreigners, promotes their inclusion into the labour market, organizes Open Slovak Language Courses and courses of social and cultural orientation, provides them with important information about life in Slovakia, and supports the community life of foreigners.
For more information visit: www.mic.iom.sk.
Migration Information Centre to Support Integration of Migrants in Slovakia (phase X, Individual Project). This project is co-funded by the European Union from the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund (AMIF). Home Affairs Funds.
Assisted Voluntary Returns and Reintegrations
In 2020 IOM assisted a total of 80 individuals with their voluntary return from Slovakia to 9 countries of origin.
Most returnees headed to Serbia (38), Ukraine (25), Georgia (6), Macedonia (3) and Morocco (3).
IOM provided reintegration assistance to cover basic needs and provide livelihoods after returning home to 25 individuals and families in 7 countries – Georgia, Iran, Macedonia, Morocco, Serbia, Turkey and Ukraine. In particular, migrants used the assistance to arrange temporary accommodation, to reconstruct their houses, to set up small business activities or to combine several types of assistance.
Read more: Statistics of AVRR programme since 2004.
Within the framework of the Assisted Voluntary Returns and Reintegrations Programme (AVRR), IOM helps foreigners who are not allowed to reside in Slovakia and who cannot or do not want to stay here.
As a part of the AVRR programme, migrants can benefit from various services provided by IOM: counselling and preparation of return, assistance with arranging of travel documents, provision of travel tickets, temporary accommodation, food, clothing and healthcare until the date of departure. During the return procedure, IOM assists foreigners with transportation in Slovakia, at the airport during departure and during transfers and, if necessary, with transportation following return home.
An important part of the programme is reintegration assistance provided to migrants, which they can use to stabilize their situation and improve their living conditions after returning home.
For more information visit: www.avr.iom.sk.
Voluntary Return and Reintegration in Country of Origin (Individual Project). The project is co-funded by the European Union from the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund (AMIF). Home Affairs Funds.
In 2020, IOM operated its information phone line on trafficking in human beings and safe travel. Its staff responded to inquires via phone and emails from people interested in issues concerning trafficking in human beings, requests for verification of job agencies and requests for information on training in the prevention of human trafficking.
IOM assisted three victims of human trafficking with their return to Slovakia. The victims were further referred to the Slovak Catholic Charity, which operates a reintegration assistance programme for victims of trafficking.
IOM in Slovakia conducts various prevention activities and information campaigns on trafficking in human beings, educates and builds the capacities of government experts and helping organizations in the field of prevention, identification of victims and care for victims of trafficking in human beings. IOM also prepares information and educational materials for teachers, lecturers, preventionists and other professionals.
For more information visit:
The mobile application SAFE Travel & Work Abroad is available for free on the Google Play, on the App Store, and at www.safe.iom.sk in seven languages: Slovak, Czech, English, French, German, Hungarian and Polish.
Activities of the European Migration Network (EMN)
In 2020, EMN published Annual Report on Migration and Asylum in the Slovak Republic in 2019 and prepared the outputs on behalf of the Slovak Republic published in the following EMN Synthesis Reports:
- Comparative overview of national protection statuses in the EU and Norway
- Migratory Pathways for Start-Ups and Innovative Entrepreneurs in the European Union
- Pathways to citizenship for third-country nationals in the EU
- Attracting and protecting the rights of seasonal workers in the EU and United Kingdom
In 2020, EMN was also working on other studies that are planned to be published as synthesis reports in 2021:
- Accurate, timely, interoperable? Data management in the asylum procedure
- Responses to long-term irregularly staying migrants: practices and challenges
EMN in Slovakia organized two expert meetings related to the preparation of the migration policy and updating the integration policy in 2020.
In November 2020, an online screening of the documentary One-Way Ticket about the world of refugees after being resettled to a new homeland took place as part of EMN's activities in Slovakia. The film was screened at the One World Film Festival and was watched by 203 spectators.
In 2020, EMN in Slovakia responded to 76 Ad-Hoc Queries and launched three Ad Hoc Queries to other Member States. Through the European EMN Ad-Hoc Queries system the EU Member States and Norway exchange information needed for the policy-making or drafting legislation and strategic documents in the field of migration and asylum.
Based on the replies to Ad-Hoc Queries, including the input from Slovakia, the EMN in cooperation with the OECD prepared a series of Informs on the impact of COVID-19 pandemics on different areas of migration:
- Inform 1: EU and OECD Member States responses to managing residence permits and migrant unemployment during the Covid-19 pandemic
- Inform 2: Impact of COVID-19 on international students in EU and OECD Member States
- Inform 3: Maintaining Labour Migration in Essential Sectors in Times of Pandemic
- Inform 4: The Impact of COVID-19 on Remittances in EU and OECD Countries
European Migration Network – EMN organises working meetings and expert events, prepares responses to ad hoc queries and elaborates publications by which it provides up-to-date, objective, reliable and comparable information on migration and international protection to European Union, its Member States and public. The EMN has its National Contact Point in each EU Member State and Norway. Activities of the EMN in the Slovak Republic are coordinated by the International Organization for Migration (IOM).
For more information visit: www.emn.sk.
EMN activities in Slovakia are funded by the European Union’s Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund and co-funded by the Ministry of Interior of the Slovak Republic.
Support for UK Nationals and their Family Members in Slovakia
From June 2020 till the end of the year, IOM provided counselling and practical support to the nationals of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (UK) and their family members with securing and maintaining their residence in Slovakia. They were also provided with assistance in other areas of their life in Slovakia that may be affected by the UK’s departure from the European Union, such as work, business, study or health insurance.
IOM provided clients with 523 consultations via e-mail and telephone. IOM counselling services within this program were used by 168 UK nationals and their family members.
The English website www.uknationals.iom.sk which contains all important information recorded 13,596 unique visits.
The clients were supported mainly with registering their residence in Slovakia for the first time, with exchanging their EU residence cards for the new non-EU ones, and with filling out their application form as well as collecting all required documents. The comprehensive assistance offered by IOM also included personal assistance to clients at the Foreign Police departments with submitting their application.
The support is financed by the government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland through its UK Nationals Support Fund.
Training and Counselling on the Employment of Foreigners in Slovakia
In 2020 IOM continued with its activity of organizing trainings and providing counselling to employers interested in learning how to employ EU nationals as well as non-EU nationals, students and seasonal workers in Slovakia.
The training sessions that took place from January till May 2020 were attended by 33 employees from 24 companies and various institutions.
Additionally, IOM also provided clients with personal consultations on the employment of foreigners in Slovakia, which were tailor made to the specifics of each case.