Migration in Slovakia

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 1.7 percent of population and their number is slowly, yet continuously increasing: in 2016, there were about 8,460 more foreigners living in Slovakia than the year before, which means an increase of 10%.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 is currently migration for work and study.


93,247: The number of foreigners with residence permits in Slovakia in 20162

  • They represent 1.72% 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 four times (from 22,108 migrants in 2004 to 93,247 in 2016).
  • If all the foreigners in SR concentrated in one place, they would create a town as large as Prešov.

6.: Out of all the EU countries, Slovakia has the sixth lowest proportion of foreigners4

  • Only Bulgaria (0.91%), Croatia (0.87%), Lithuania (0.77%), Romania (0.45%) and Poland (0.28%) have lower proportion of foreigners in the total population.
  • Out of the neighbouring countries, Czech Republic (4.34%) and Austria (13.19%) all have a higher proportion of migrants.

42%: The proportion of the Austrian, Czech, Hungarian, Polish and Ukrainian citizens in the total population of migrants 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 migrants is formed by the citizens of the south-eastern European countries (Romania, Bulgaria, Russia, Serbia), who represent 21.4% of all migrants 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.
  • Migrants from the Asian countries (Vietnam, China, Korean Republic, Thailand), who were dynamically growing group of foreigners in Slovakia in the past, form together less than 7.4% of all foreigners in Slovakia; their number amounted to almost 6,900.

55.8%: The citizens of the EU countries form more than half of all foreigners in Slovakia

  • Most EU countries citizens in Slovakia come from the Czech Republic. They form 11.1% of the total population of foreigners.6
  • Apart from the nationals of Hungary (8.4%) and Poland (6%), the citizens of Germany (4.7%), Italy (3%)  and Austria (2.5%) 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 (7.4%), who have been coming to Slovakia as workers since their country’s accession to the European Union. In 2016, 7,394 Romanians were working in Slovakia, compared to 4,134 working Czech citizens.7

1/7: The proportion of Ukrainians in the total number of foreigners in Slovakia (14%); 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.
  • The nationals of third countries constitute 44.2% of the overall number of foreigners in Slovakia, which represents approximately 0.76% of population. If all of them concentrated in one place with a number of 41,232 people they would form a town as large as Považská Bystrica or Zvoleb.

35,090: The number of foreign workers in the SR in 20169

  • Currently, there is one foreign worker per 71 national employees.10
  • The number of foreign workers has increased more than ten times – from 3,351 persons in 2004 to 35,090 in 2016, including 11,036 nationals from outside the EU.
  • In 2016, foreigners from more than 120 countries were employed in Slovakia, most of Romania (7,394), Serbia (5,140), Czech Republic (4,134), Hungary (3,696) and Poland (3,204).11
  • Among the foreign workers, men constitute a substantial majority; they form almost 75% of all employed foreigners.12

2,170: The number of foreigners that in 2016 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 2015, the number of migrants that illegally crossed the borders or illegally resided in the SR increased to 2,535 and in 2016 this number decreased to 2,170.14

146: The number of applications for asylum in the SR in 201615

  • 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
  • In 2016, the Slovak Republic granted asylum to 167 people (including 159 people who were granted asylum for humanitarian reasons). Citizens of Ukraine, Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and Pakistan applied for asylum most often.
  • From the overall number of 58,467 applications since 1993, asylum was granted to 820 people, whereas 684 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 2014 and 2015 (http://www.minv.sk/?rocenky)
2 BBAP P PF – Statistical Overview of Legal and Illegal Migration in the Slovak Republic in 2016 (http://www.minv.sk/swift_data/source/policia/uhcp/rocenky/rok_2016/2016-rocenka-UHCP-SK.pdf)
3 Statistical Office of the Slovak Republic – Population in the SR as of 30 September 2016 (https://www.susr.sk/wps/portal?urile=wcm:path:/Obsah-SK/informativne-spravy/vsetky/b8a6f653-20f8-448d-a091-4a251680998b)
4 Eurostat – Population by citizenship – Foreigners (Statistics as of 31 December 2014) (http://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/tgm/table.do?tab=table&init=1&language=en&pcode=tps00001&plugin=1, http://epp.eurostat.ec.europa.eu/tgm/table.do?tab=table&init=1&plugin=1&language=en&pcode=tps00157 and http://epp.eurostat.ec.europa.eu/tgm/table.do?tab=table&init=1&plugin=1&language=en&pcode=tps00178)
5 Look at [2]
6 Look at [2]
7 Central Office of Labour, Social Affairs and Family – Employment of foreigners in the Slovak Republic, as of December 2016 (http://www.upsvar.sk/buxus/docs/statistic/cudzinci/2016/cudzinci_1612.xlsx)
8 Look at [2]
9 Look at [7]
10 Statistical Office of the SR – Employment in the third quarter of 2015 (https://www.susr.sk/wps/portal?urile=wcm:path:/Obsah-SK/informativne-spravy/vsetky/991507b7-a5ae-45db-9166-78158444e5d4)
11 Look at [7]
12 Look at [7]
13 Look at [2]
14 BBAP P PF – Statistical Overview of Legal and Illegal Migration in the Slovak Republic (from 2000 – 2016) (http://www.minv.sk/?rocenky)
15 Migration Office of the Ministry of Interior of the SR – Statistical overview of asylum seekers in 2016 (http://www.minv.sk/?statistiky-20&subor=259132)
16 Statistics of the Migration Office of the Ministry of Interior of the SR (http://www.minv.sk/?statistiky-20)
17 Look at [15]