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International Organization for Migration (IOM) is an international, intergovernmental organization established in 1951 with the aim to assist displaced persons, refugees and migrants in Europe. At present, with 173 member states and a further 8 States holding observer status, IOM as a leading international organization in the field of migration acts with governments and migrants in order to manage humane and orderly migration.
IOM is committed to the principle that humane and orderly migration benefits migrants and society. To do so, IOM closely cooperates with intergovernmental and non-governmental partners, state institutions, civil society and migrants in every region of the world, promotes dialogue and cooperation on migration issues, develops research of the migration phenomenon as well as supports governments in understanding the complexity of modern migration.
IOM Global Website: www.iom.int
IOM in Slovakia
IOM has been present in Slovakia since 1996 when an Agreement between IOM and the Government of the Slovak Republic was signed, based on which the IOM office in Bratislava was established. In 2000 an IOM sub-office was opened in Kosice.
The main areas of IOM activity in Slovakia include assisted voluntary returns of migrants and their reintegration in countries of origin, prevention of trafficking in human beings and assistance to trafficked persons, and integration of migrants. IOM implements various types of activities within these areas, including provision of services to migrants, research, information campaigns, education and capacity building of key actors as well as increasing public awareness about migration issues.
Since 2006 IOM has operated the IOM Migration Information Centre (MIC) where legal, labour and social counselling is provided to migrants in order to facilitate their integration into the labour market and into the society as such. Since 2009 IOM has also served as the National Contact Point of the European Migration Network in Slovakia.
During more than 20 years of its presence in the Slovak republic IOM has assisted 1,500 migrants to return to their home countries. More than 18,000 clients and their families have been provided with complex integration counselling regarding the main areas of their stay and integration in Slovakia by the means of MIC, and nearly 140 victims of trafficking in human beings have been helped to return and reintegrate back to their lives.
IOM Slovakia activities are funded exclusively by projects.
IOM Slovakia Website: www.iom.sk
Other IOM Slovakia websites about its projects and activities:
IOM Migration Information Centre
IOM Assisted Voluntary Return and Reintegration Programme
European Migration Network – National Contact Point for the Slovak Republic
Safe Travel & Work Abroad – Mobile Application
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IOM is committed to the principle that humane and orderly migration benefits migrants and society. As the leading international organization for migration, IOM acts with its partners in the international community to:
- Assist in meeting the growing operational challenges of migration management.
- Advance understanding of migration issues.
- Encourage social and economic development through migration.
- Uphold the human dignity and well-being of migrants.
IOM’s Strategic Focus
- To provide secure, reliable, flexible and cost-effective services for persons who require international migration assistance.
- To enhance the humane and orderly management of migration and the effective respect for the human rights of migrants in accordance with international law.
- To offer expert advice, research, technical cooperation and operational assistance to States, intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations and other stakeholders, in order to build national capacities and facilitate international, regional and bilateral cooperation on migration matters.
- To contribute to the economic and social development of States through research, dialogue, design and implementation of migration-related programmes aimed at maximizing migration’s benefits.
- To support States, migrants and communities in addressing the challenges of irregular migration, including through research and analysis into root causes, sharing information and spreading best practices, as well as facilitating development-focused solutions.
- To be a primary reference point for migration information, research, best practices, data collection, compatibility and sharing.
- To promote, facilitate and support regional and global debate and dialogue on migration, including through the International Dialogue on Migration, so as to advance understanding of the opportunities and challenges it presents, the identification and development of effective policies for addressing those challenges and to identify comprehensive approaches and measures for advancing international cooperation.
- To assist States to facilitate the integration of migrants in their new environment and to engage diasporas, including as development partners.
- To participate in coordinated humanitarian responses in the context of inter-agency arrangements in this field and to provide migration services in other emergency or post-crisis situations as appropriate and as relates to the needs of individuals, thereby contributing to their protection. Although IOM has no legal protection mandate, the fact remains that its activities contribute to protecting human rights, having the effect, or consequence, of protecting persons involved in migration.
- To undertake programmes which facilitate the voluntary return and reintegration of refugees, displaced persons, migrants and other individuals in need of international migration services, in cooperation with other relevant international organizations as appropriate, and taking into account the needs and concerns of local communities.
- To assist States in the development and delivery of programmes, studies and technical expertise on combating migrant smuggling and trafficking in persons, in particular women and children, in a manner consistent with international law.
- To support the efforts of States in the area of labour migration, in particular short term movements, and other types of circular migration.
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Established in 1951, IOM is the leading inter-governmental organization in the field of migration. The Organization has experienced a dynamic growth over the last decades - with 173 member states, a further 8 states holding observer status and offices in over 150 countries, IOM activities cover a wide range of migration issues all over the world. IOM's programme budget for 2017 exceeded USD 1.552 billion funding over 2,270 active programmes with more than 12,600 staff members serving in more than 400 field offices in different parts of the world.
IOM is dedicated to promoting humane and orderly migration for the benefit of all. It does so by providing services and advice to governments and migrants while closely cooperating with governmental, intergovernmental and non-governmental partners.
IOM works in the following areas of migration management:
Migration and development
Migration is considered one of the defining global issues of the early twenty-first century, as more and more people are on the move today than at any other point in human history. If properly managed, the international migration can contribute to the growth and prosperity of countries of origin and of destination, as well as benefit migrants themselves. IOM, therefore, aims at harnessing the development potential of migration for the benefit of individual migrants and societies.
The programme activities in this area include: promoting policy establishment in the field of migration, strengthening the capacity of governments and partners to involve migrant populations in development processes in their countries of origin, fostering economic and community development in areas prone to economically induced outward migration, support of human capital development through labour migration programmes, enhancing the development impact of remittances on both sender and recipient countries and facilitating the return and reintegration of qualified nationals.
Migration and health
Migrants in each country benefit from an improved standard of physical, mental and social wellbeing, which enables them to substantially contribute to the development of their home communities as well as host societies. IOM seeks to promote comprehensive preventive and curative health programmes and services which are beneficial and accessible for migrants and meet the needs of States in managing the migration. IOM assists in the health policy development and in capacity building in order to strengthen health of migrants and to provide them with a health care.
Mobility is an essential feature of today’s world. Integrated world markets, the emergence of transnational networks and the rapid growth of communication technologies all contribute to the increasing movement of both high and low-skilled workers, students, trainees, families and tourists. The changing demographic and social structure in the industrialized world has created the need for workers and professionals from other countries. Large-scale migration represents potentially difficult adjustments, but economies that desire to remain competitive cannot ignore the need for change. Legal labour migration can thus be a so called “win-win” solution.
Apart from providing policy and technical advice on the regulation of migrant labour and other migratory movements, IOM carries out programmes to assist governments and migrants with recruitment, language training, pre-departure cultural orientation, pre-consular support services, arrival reception, and integration as well as their return. These services, tailored to each programme, are provided seamlessly during all stages of the process from providing information and accepting applications, through document verification, conducting interviews, health assessment, and logistics management, to integration support which can help ease the difficulty of adjustment to a new culture, while ensuring social harmony between new and old members of the community.
Movement, Emergency & Post-Conflict Migration Management
Programmes in this area include resettlement assistance, repatriation assistance, emergency and post-emergency operations assistance. IOM assists refugees during and after crisis, it provides a permanent solution for some of these refugees through refugee resettlement schemes. Moreover, it develops activities to assist internally displaced persons, ex-soldiers, victims of ethnic conflicts, and communities which are in the transition and recovery process. With its expertise, IOM runs extensive compensation programmes in the post-conflict areas.
Unregulated migration can involve social, financial and political costs for the individuals, society and governments alike. Comprehensive, transparent and coherent approaches to migration management can help address irregular migration, including migrant smuggling and trafficking in human beings, minimize the negative impact of migration and preserve its integrity as a natural social process. Good governance in migration matters at national, regional and international levels is increasingly recognized as key to ensure orderly and humane population movements. IOM assists governments in the development and implementation of migration policy, legislation and administrative mechanisms that enhance migration management such as replacing irregular migration flows with orderly, organized migration what serves the interests of all governments. IOM in this aspect implements programmes to facilitate the voluntary return of unsuccessful asylum seekers, stranded persons and other migrants, and their reintegration in countries of origin, taking into account the needs and concerns of local communities. Besides, IOM takes a rights-based approach to implementing a wide range of activities in support of the victims of trafficking in persons, providing technical assistance and training for governmental migration managers on border management, visa systems, regulating entry and stay and collecting and using biometric information etc.
The challenges of migration in the twenty-first century increasingly demand actions by IOM beyond its traditional services. Post-emergency and post-crisis situations, for example, are unpredictable and likely to occur in any part of the world, in particular as a consequence of ecological degradations and disasters. Similarly, as more and more governments are called upon to return and/or compensate persons dispersed worldwide who have suffered displacement, dispossession, persecution or other forms of personal harm under former regimes, IOM is being called upon to assist through its global network.
Some activities undertaken by the Organization are of a general nature and support a wide range of programmes cutting across specific areas of migration management. Among these are Migration Policy and Research, and Stranded Migrant Facility.
Research and analysis are key to understanding migration, developing effective new policies and designing sustainable practical approaches. Providing public information on migration trends, challenges and opportunities is a key function of the Organization. The regularly-published World Migration Report provides an overview of major migration trends and policy issues around the globe.
IOM seeks to strengthen its role in spreading, understanding, and implementing IML (International Migration Law). Along with governments and other partners in this area, IOM carries out training and capacity building activities on IML. Regular consultations among governments facing common migration challenges have become particularly important. With IOM’s substantive and logistic support regional consultation processes exist in the Americas, Europe, Africa and the Asia-Pacific region. At the global level, the IOM Council’s International Dialogue on Migration is the principal international forum for intergovernmental migration policy debate, fostering enhanced understanding and cooperation on migration.
Migration, Climate Change and the Environment
Environmental factors have long had an impact on global migration flows, as people have historically left places with harsh or deteriorating conditions. Migration caused by climate change is expected to grow as it can be a survival strategy in the event of climate change and environmental degradation.
Migration, climate change and the environment are interrelated. Just as environmental degradation and disasters can cause migration, movement of people can also entail significant effects on surrounding ecosystems. Migration often seems to be misperceived as a failure to adapt to a changing environment. Instead, migration can also be an adaptation strategy to climate and environmental change and is an essential component of the socio-environmental interactions that needs to be managed because migration can have significant environmental repercussions for areas of origin, areas of destination, and the migratory routes in between and contribute to further environmental degradation.
Among long-term objectives of environmental migration is to support responsible government of individual countries in order to reduce environmentally induced migration. IOM aims at reducing vulnerability of populations exposed to environmental risk factors; assisting populations on the move as a result of environmental causes; and building the capacities of governments and other actors to face the challenge of environmental migration.
You can find more information on IOM world wide activities on the global website www.iom.int.
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International Organization for Migration (IOM) has been active in Slovakia since 1996. Among its main activity areas are: assisted voluntary returns, migrant integration, prevention of human trafficking and assistance to trafficked persons, resettlement of refugees and coordination of the European Migration Network. Within these areas IOM implements the following activities:
Assisted Voluntary Returns and Reintegration in the country of origin
- Assistance to illegal migrants and unsuccessful asylum applicants to their country of origin including return counselling, assistance with facilitating travel documentation, travel arrangements, facilitating return, assistance at the departure from the Slovak Republic and assistance in the transit countries (since 2009)
- Reintegration assistance to returning migrants based on individual reintegration plans (since 2008)
- Capacity building and networking of experts participating in the process of voluntary return, including the promotion of cooperation among embassies of the main countries of migrants’ origin
- Information dissemination and campaigns aimed at professionals working with potential or actual returnees as well as migrants themselves who are interested in voluntary return
- Exchange of experience with other EU countries implementing assisted voluntary returns programmes
More information on: www.avr.iom.sk
- Provision of practical integration assistance to migrants including legal counselling and labour/social counselling (since 2006 through the IOM Migration Information Centre)
- Promotion of language education, retraining and professional skills of migrants enhancing their possibility to participate in the labour market
- Providing free of charge and open Slovak language coursed and Courses of socio-cultural orientation for migrants
- Promotion of the community life of foreigners in Slovakia, cooperation with representatives of individual communities of migrants and capacity building
- Raising awareness about migrants in Slovakia through organization, promotion and granting auspices for intercultural activities between communities and the majority
- Capacity building of professionals working in the field of migration/integration at the national and regional levels
- Exchange of experience and sharing of best practices among key actors and experts in Slovakia and the representatives of other EU countries; their implementation into practice in order to improve the accessibility of services to migrants and to enhance the efficiency of integration measures
- Research into various aspects of migrant integration in Slovakia
- Policy guidance – sharing of knowledge and practical experience in relation to the creation of integration policies in Slovakia (e.g. the Concept of Foreigner Integration in the Slovak Republic adopted in May 2009)
Further information on: www.mic.iom.sk
Counter-Trafficking in Human Beings
- Prevention of human trafficking aimed at specific vulnerable groups, e.g. secondary school students, disadvantaged Roma populations, young people in foster care facilities, etc. (since 2003)
- Return and reintegration assistance to victims of trafficking (return assistance in 2006–2017, reintegration assistance in 2006–2014)
- National Counter Trafficking Hotline (in 2008–2014)
- Education and capacity building of experts in the area of prevention of human trafficking, and identification and assistance to the trafficked persons (as a partner of the Ministry of Interior of the Slovak Republic since 2008)
- Policy guidance in human trafficking, especially with the design of the national counter trafficking strategy and the National Referral Mechanism
Safe Travel – Website: www.bezpecnecestovanie.iom.sk
SAFE Travel & Work Abroad – Mobile Application: www.safe.iom.sk
Resettlement of refugees
- Provision of transportation of refugees from refugee camps to Slovakia (Emergency Transit Center in Humenne), medical services, cultural orientation, language trainings and transport of refugees from Slovakia to the country of resettlement - based on the tripartite agreement among the Government of the Slovak Republic, UN High Commissioner for Refugees and IOM about the humanitarian transfer of refugees in need of international protection (since 2009)
European Migration Network
- Coordinator of the National Contact Point for European Migration Network in Slovakia (since 2009)
- Implementation of the EMN National Contact Point activities in the Slovak Republic aimed at fulfilling information needs of the EU institutions and Member States organs through the provision of up-to-date, objective, reliable and comparable information on migration and asylum
Further information on: www.emn.sk
Other types of activities implemented over the last couple of years included:
- Research and capacity building in the field of labour migration and migration and health
- Projects aimed at stabilization of vulnerable communities in Eastern Slovakia (in cooperation with partner intergovernmental organizations)
- Humanitarian and social programmes (in cooperation with selected partner intergovernmental organizations)
In case of need, IOM is ready and able to provide services in crisis (e.g. natural disasters, conflicts) through its missions and offices in affected countries - in 2008 IOM Slovakia provided assistance to internally displaced persons in Georgia in the aftermath of the conflict with Russia.
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Unless otherwise stated, the following statistics of IOM Slovakia were updated on 31 December 2018.
Assisted Voluntary Returns and Reintegrations
Since 2004, IOM assisted 1,497 foreigners with their return back to 66 countries all over the world. Most of them returned to Moldavia, China, Vietnam, Iraq, and Serbia – Kosovo.
Since 2007, IOM has provided reintegration assistance to 259 foreigners worth of 387,534.69 EUR. It was mostly used for starting small business start-ups, for covering their basic needs, providing dignified living conditions and medical assistance. So far, IOM Slovakia has assisted individuals and families in 35 countries in the world this way.
More information on: www.avr.iom.sk
The Integration of Migrants
Since 2006, IOM Migration Information Centre (MIC) has provided complex integration counselling to 22,193 foreigners from more than 160 countries.
MIC provided its clients with 38,443 personal, e-mail or phone consultations in the principal areas of life in Slovakia, such as residence permit, family, employment, entrepreneurship, education, citizenship, etc.
Since 2006, the information and advice on different areas of foreigners' life and residence on the MIC web site has been looked up by 1,118,930 users.
Since 2006, MIC has published 9 multilingual information brochures and 15 Residence Fact Sheets, which help foreigners to navigate in the basic areas of foreigners' life in the Slovak Republic, such as residence permit, family, employment, entrepreneurship, education, citizenship, etc.
Since 2017 information for migrants on visa entry requirements to Slovakia and further information on type of residence needed for study, work or doing business in Slovakia has been searched in the MIC Visa Check application by 5,352 persons from 181 countries, mostly from Ukraine, India, USA, Russia and Serbia.
Since 2012, MIC has organized 26 One-Stop Shops in Bratislava and Košice. These are days of specialized counselling for foreigners from outside the EU, who can acquire complex and free of charge counselling at one place from the representatives of alien police departments, labour offices, health insurance companies and MIC consultants. The MIC services were used by 416 migrants from more than 30 countries.
Since 2011, the courses of Slovak language organized by MIC in Bratislava and Košice have been attended by 6,749 foreigners and the courses of social and cultural orientation were attended by 1,189 foreigners. Another 647 foreigners received support for education or retraining course. By the implementation of these activities MIC supports foreigners to receive education or retraining, and increase their qualification and thus facilitates their integration into the society.
Since 2006, cultural mediators – representatives of foreigner associations and communities in Slovakia in cooperation with the MIC have carried out 179 multicultural and information meetings, with the participation of more than 13,890 people. By similar events the cultural mediators present the culture of their countries to the public, enhance social life of the communities and create a space for mutual interaction of the communities and the majority.
690 questionnaires of third-countries nationals and dozens of in-depth interviews with foreigners living in Slovakia were processed within the research of the experiences of migrants with violence and abuse in Slovakia, which was carried out by IOM from January 2012 to March 2013. This elaborated analysis served as a basis for the implementation of effective legislative, political and practical measures in order to prevent, detect, and combat the violence and solve its consequences.
Since 2010, more than 510 employees of state and public administration who work with foreigners in Slovakia have participated in the trainings and workshops of IOM on migration, intercultural skills and regional cooperation. The participants receive skills in intercultural communication, knowledge of migration and integration of foreigners in Slovakia, which can be used in their work with foreigners and to strengthen cooperation between institutions.
Since April 2013, the documentary film We Are At Home Here was seen by more than 12,000 viewers on IOM Slovakia YouTube. The film has been presented at the International Documentary Film Festival One World 2013 with more than 400 viewers – students of primary and secondary schools and also further several thousand viewers during the public and school screenings in dozens of cities all over Slovakia. The documentary presents migrants and reality of migration in Slovakia through personal stories of foreigners from different countries and evidence-based data. The document constitutes to be used as a part of the IOM's educational materials on migration.
More information on: www.mic.iom.sk
Counter-trafficking in Human Beings
Since 2006, IOM has identified 213 victims of trafficking in human beings, of which 132 were women and 81 men. 162 victims have accepted IOM's help and entered the Programme of Support and Protection of Victims of Trafficking in Human Beings and 124 received IOM assistance during their return to Slovakia. The victims who joined the Programme were given the opportunity to benefit from crisis intervention and reintegration assistance – services which help them return to everyday life. Until the end of 2014 IOM provided such assistance and support to 139 victims of trafficking.
From 1 July 2008 to 15 December 2014, the IOM staff has provided 7,420 consultations via the National helpline for victims of trafficking in human beings 0800 800 818. Through the helpline, they succeeded in identification and provision of assistance to 37 victims of human trafficking. Since 15 December 2014, the helpline 0800 800 818 is operated by the Slovak Crisis Centre Dotyk.
Since 2008, IOM staff in cooperation with the Ministry of Interior of the SR, the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs of the SR and the support of other donors organized and lectured at 141 educational events, where 2,505 professionals took part. These trainings are aimed at implementing trafficking prevention activities and at identifying victims of human trafficking.
Resettlement of Refugees
Since 2009 IOM, in cooperation with its partners, transferred to Slovakia 1,047 refugees from Afghanistan, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Iraq, Somalia and Sudan who had to flee their countries and were stranded in refugee camps in Africa, Asia, and the Middle East. Most the overall number of these refugees are families with children. For them resettlement is the only chance for a life in safe environment. The Slovak Republic provided these refugees with a temporary shelter on its territory, and during this time the refugees are accommodated in the Emergency Transit Centre (ETC) in Humenne. During their stay here they complete the needed preparation; afterwards they are transferred to countries that offer them a new home.
IOM already transferred 1,039 refugees from ETC in Slovakia to the country of final resettlement. Most of them were resettled to the USA, some of them found a new home in Canada, Norway and Sweden.
European Migration Network (EMN) – National Contact Point for the SR
Since 2009, IOM as the coordinator of EMN activities in Slovakia, has published 46 publications including Annual Reports on Migration and Asylum and thematic studies on various topics of migration and international protection.
During the six years of the EMN Educational Seminar on Migration, Slovak and foreign experts have delivered more than 80 lectures on international migration. Since 2012, the seminar has welcomed more than 360 participants mainly from the public administration and civil society.
EMN in Slovakia organised eight public discussion evenings with screenings of documentaries or movies on various migration related topics.
EMN in Slovakia provided answers to 816 Ad Hoc Queries. The EMN Ad-Hoc Queries represent a system on the basis of which the EU Member States and Norway exchange relevant information for the policy making, legislation drafting or for other strategic topics in the field of migration and asylum. Simultaneously, EMN in Slovakia launched 40 Ad Hoc Queries.
More information on: www.emn.sk
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How can IOM help you?
Are you a third country national with legal residence or are you planning to live and work for a long term in the territory of the Slovak Republic? Do you need an advice on residence, work or other questions related to your life in Slovakia?
You will get more information on the website of the IOM Migration Information Centre (MIC).
Are you an asylum applicant, unsuccessful asylum applicant or illegal migrant who is considering return to the country of origin?
You will get more information on the website of the IOM Assisted Voluntary Returns and Reintegrations Programme (AVRR).
Do you need more information on the issues of human trafficking? Do you have a suspicion that someone around you became victim of human trafficking? Do you want to prepare for a safe journey abroad?
Are you an expert, researcher, state administration employee, student or postgraduate student dealing with migration and asylum and looking for studies, publications and other relevant outputs in this area?
Are you a journalist and do you need information about migration? Are you looking for news about IOM activities or press releases?
See the section Press Room.
Do you need more information and data regarding asylum and international protection including contacts of asylum facilities?
Visit the website of the Migration Office of the Ministry of Interior of the Slovak Republic.
Are you interested in information from the area of border control, illegal migration and people smuggling, permitting and control of residence, expulsion of foreigners, visa practice or implementation of the Dublin regulation?
Visit the website of the Bureau of the Border and Alien Police of the Police Corps Presidium.
Are you looking for information related to legal provisions for employment of foreigners in the territory of the Slovak Republic, issuing work permits to foreigners, integration of foreigners and integration policies?
Visit the website of the Ministry of Labour, Social Affairs and Family of the Slovak Republic. For information on the European Employment Services (EURES) and employment of foreigners in the Slovak Republic visit the website of the Central Office of Labour, Social Affairs and Family.
Do you need consular information and data related to issuing visas and permitting residence of foreigners in the territory of the Slovak Republic including contacts of the Slovak consular offices?
Visit the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and European Affairs of the Slovak Republic.