In 2021, IOM Slovakia trained additional 56 experts in the prevention of trafficking in human beings, developed a Labour Mobility Scheme for Slovakia for the Ministry of Labour, Social Affairs and Family of the Slovak Republic, created a new series of podcasts, and the IOM Migration Information Centre provided more than 1,000 more consultations than in 2020. Read more about IOM's achievements in Slovakia.
Migrant Integration – IOM Migration Information Centre (MIC)
In 2021, the IOM Migration Information Centre (MIC) provided 14,660 personal, telephone or e-mail consultations in Bratislava and Košice with a focus on residence, family, employment, business, education or citizenship in the Slovak Republic. The number of provided consultations increased by more than 1,000 year-over-year.
MIC's consulting services were used by a total of 7,572 beneficiaries, mainly from Ukraine, the Russian Federation, Serbia, India, the USA and Iran.
“In 2021, even due to the ongoing pandemic, the MIC used forms that allowed clients to receive counselling and other services remotely via the 0850 211 478 info line and e-mail consultations. The www.mic.iom.sk website was visited by over 55,000 people per month. Courses of Slovak language for foreigners were also provided online this year. We continue organising informative webinars and preparing useful video tutorials for those interested,” explains Zuzana Vatráľová, Head of the IOM Office in Slovakia.
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 2021, a record number of 678,974 visitors searched for information on the MIC website and the site recorded 1,713,226 views.
MIC provides on its website up-to-date information on the measures taken by the Slovak Republic against the spread of the coronavirus and the impact of these measures on the residence, work and other areas of the life of foreign nationals in Slovakia. The information is available in English, Russian and Slovak.
Also in 2021, the MIC responded to the interest in online webinars to inform and answer questions about family benefits that foreigners can apply for, reunification of families and education of children of foreigners in Slovakia, and legislation, rights and obligations when foreigners are employed in Slovakia.
In 2021, the Visa Check web application service was used by 4,854 beneficiaries from 152 countries and further 2,291 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 look for information on a visa needed to enter the country and permit needed for studying, working or doing business in Slovakia.
Among the most popular with clients and the public have been the new video guides on how to apply for temporary residence for employment purposes and how to apply for a PCR test when having symptoms of the disease, after contact with a positive person or when entering Slovakia.
The MIC continues to support migrants in their integration into the labour market in Slovakia. 565 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 38 beneficiaries received financial support from the MIC for retraining courses, which will increase their chances of finding a job.
In 2021, the Centre continued to provide counselling for unaccompanied minors (UAMs) in the centres for children and families. A total of 152 youth people received services, which included mainly Slovak language courses, individual legal counselling and the involvement of a MIC cultural mediator in integration measures and social and cultural orientation for UAMs.
In 2021, the MIC also organized free open Slovak language courses for non-EU nationals, which were attended by 1,309 participants in Bratislava, Košice, Žilina, Banská Bystrica and Medzilaborce. Another 923 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 six Welcoming Slovakia meetings for 124 participants were organized in 2021. At the meetings, participants gained practical and useful information about life in Slovakia.
In 2021, a new series of podcasts We Are At Home Here was introduced, which you can listen to on the IOM Slovakia Podcasts page. In the podcasts, you can get to know different countries of the world directly through people who were born and grew up there, and later decided to live in Slovakia. For teachers, IOM Slovakia has created recommendations for activities with podcasts that can be used, for example, in global education for secondary school students.
15 years of the IOM Migration Information Centre
Since April 2006, in its 15 years of operation, the IOM Migration Information Centre has assisted over 53 thousand foreigners. More information.
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 2021, IOM assisted a total of nine individuals with their voluntary return from Slovakia to six countries of origin.
Most returnees headed to Serbia (3), Turkey (2) and to China, Moldova, Nigeria and Ukraine (one returnee each country).
IOM provided reintegration assistance to cover basic needs and provide livelihoods after returning home to 28 individuals and families in two countries – Serbia and Ukraine. In particular, migrants used the assistance to arrange temporary accommodation, to reconstruct their houses, for the health care 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 2021, IOM operated its information phone line on trafficking in human beings and safe travel. Its staff responded to inquires via phone and e-mails 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 referred victims of human trafficking to the Slovak Catholic Charity, which operates a reintegration assistance program for victims of trafficking. In one case, IOM referred a potential victim to the Information Centre for Combating Trafficking in Human Beings and for Crime Prevention of the Ministry of the Interior of the Slovak Republic.
In coordination with the Slovak Catholic Charity, IOM started providing reintegration assistance to two victims of human trafficking upon their return to Slovakia. IOM will continue providing its reintegration assistance to victims in 2022.
In cooperation with La Strada organisations in the Czech Republic and Poland, IOM Slovakia organised in January 2021 an expert roundtable for professionals from Slovakia, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Poland and the United Kingdom (UK) who work in the field of prevention and combating trafficking in human beings. The roundtable focused on responsible shopping of food and clothes and ways of preventing exploitation of workers in these fields abroad. The roundtable also addressed a topic on how the UK's departure from the European Union will affect the counter-trafficking efforts.
In September 2021 in Bratislava and Piešt'any, IOM trained in human trafficking prevention another 56 professionals who work with vulnerable populations.
Trained professionals are able to inform individuals and groups about the risks of human trafficking, how to avoid it and what to do in a crisis situation. IOM trainings raised awareness of participants about current trends in human trafficking, the topic of responsible shopping, and new methods of human trafficking education using interactive activities and the SAFE Travel & Work Abroad mobile app.
In 2021, IOM published an updated training manual Prevention of Trafficking in Human Beings. In March, IOM updated the mobile application SAFE Travel & Work Abroad with new information related to the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland's withdrawal from the European Union. It also expanded the number of languages of the app by four additional versions. The app is now available for free in eleven language versions on Google Play and App Store and on the website www.safe.iom.sk.
In the summer 2021, IOM also updated tips and activities for professionals on how to use the SAFE Travel & Work Abroad app in education of young people about human trafficking and how to inform them about safe travelling principles.
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.
In 2021, IOM operated its information phone line on trafficking in human beings and safe travel. The trainings, the update of the mobile application SAFE, the update of the manual for the use of the application and the round table of experts were organised by IOM Slovakia within the framework of the regional project SAFE Work and Travel – Prevention of Trafficking in Human Beings in SK, CZ and PL, which was funded by the International Visegrad Fund.
Activities of the European Migration Network (EMN)
In 2021, EMN in the Slovak Republic published the Annual Report on Migration and Asylum in the Slovak Republic in 2020 and prepared the outputs on behalf the Slovak Republic which were published in the following EMN Synthesis Reports:
- Responses to long-term irregularly staying migrants: practices and challenges in the EU and Norway
- Accurate, timely and interoperable? Data management in the asylum procedure
In 2021, the EMN worked on other studies which will be compiled into summary reports and are planned to be published in 2022:
- Detention and alternatives to detention in the international protection and return procedures
- Third-country national victims of trafficking in human beings: detection, identification and protection
- Integration of migrant women
EMN in Slovakia organised two expert meetings on the care and protection of unaccompanied minors in Slovakia in 2021.
In June 2021, EMN and the Migration Office of the Ministry of Interior of the Slovak Republic in cooperation with the Representation of the European Commission in Slovakia organised an online expert discussion Refugees among us – How does it work in Slovakia? on the global challenges of migration, refugees and the provision of international protection in the Slovak Republic.
In August 2021, the EMN held its 8th EMN Educational Seminar on Migration: Migration in a Multilateral World. Over three days in a virtual studio, experts from 15 countries addressed topics such as how the pandemic has affected migration, what is the role of multilateralism in migration management, what is life like in refugee camps in Greece, what is the migration situation in Afghanistan, and what are the opportunities for legal migration and labour mobility to the EU for over 120 participants from 25 countries. You can listen to the lectures as podcasts on the EMN Slovakia Podcasts page.
In 2021, EMN Slovakia responded to 72 Ad-Hoc Queries and launched one Ad-Hoc Query 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 prepared the following Informs on different areas of migration in 2021:
- The impact of COVID-19 in the migration area in EU and OECD countries
- Impact of COVID-19 pandemic on voluntary and forced return procedures and policy responses
- Separated and missing migrants: Member States approaches to prevent family separation and search mechanisms for missing migrants
- Exploring Legal Pathways to Fulfil Labour Needs
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 the European Union, its Member States and public. The EMN has its National Contact Point in each EU Member State and Norway, Moldova and Georgia. 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.
Labour mobility scheme for Slovakia
IOM Slovakia, in cooperation with the European Commission, has developed a Labour Mobility Scheme for Slovakia (hereinafter referred to as the Scheme) for the Ministry of Labour, Social Affairs and Family of the Slovak Republic. Its aim is to make the employment of non-EU and non-EEA nationals in Slovakia more efficient, especially in jobs with labour shortages.
As part of the preparation of the Scheme, the IOM has conducted an online survey on labour mobility in Slovakia and elaborated other supporting outputs with the aim to facilitate the implementation of the measures suggested in the Scheme and to provide additional information for labour mobility policy makers and other relevant stakeholders implementing the labour mobility policies:
- Labour Mobility Scheme for Slovakia – Summary of Measures
- Communication strategy of the Labour Mobility Scheme for Slovakia
- Proposal for Legislative Changes
- Main Findings from the Research Reports Compendium
The project Technical Support for the Development of a Labour Mobility Scheme for Slovakia was funded by the European Union through the Structural Reform Support Programme and implemented by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) in cooperation with the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Structural Reform Support (DG REFORM).
Support for UK Nationals and their Family Members in Slovakia
From January to June 2021, 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 783 consultations via e-mail and telephone. IOM counselling services within this programme were used by 229 UK nationals and their family members.
Beside the consultations, the IOM held three online information sessions, prepared leaflets and distribution of postcards with the most important information for the UK nationals in Slovakia.
All necessary information was publicly available and updated in English on the website www.uknationals.iom.sk. The website recorded 13,513 unique visits during this period.
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 was 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 2021, 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 December 2021 were attended by 24 employees from 19 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.