Migration is a process in which individuals and groups of people leave their homes for various reasons. The current mobility of people is higher than ever before in modern history1 and continues to increase sharply, becoming one of the determining global issues of 21st century. Almost all of the approximately 200 world states are countries of origin, transit or destination for the migrants.


258 million: The estimated number of international migrants in the world2

  • The overall number of international migrants has increased in the last few years from the estimated 152 million in 1990 to 173 million in 2000 and to 258 million in the present.3
  • The number of persons migrated to foreign countries surged by 49% (85 million) in the last 17 years (2000-2017).

5.: The migrants would constitute the fifth most populous country in the world

  • If international migrants lived in one state, they would constitute the fifth most populous country in the world, after China, India, the United States and Indonesia.

3.4%: The percentage of migrants in the global population4

  • In other words, one out of 29 persons in the world is currently a migrant who lives abroad; in 1990, one out of every 35 persons was considered a migrant.
  • The percentage of migrants in the global population increased from 2.9% in 1990 to 3.4% in 2017.
  • The percentage of migrants in each country varies considerably. The countries with the highest percentage are the United Arab Emirates (88.4%), Kuwait (75.5%), Qatar (65.2%), Liechtenstein (65%), Monaco (54.9%), Bahrain 46%) and Luxembourg (45.3%).
  • Countries with the lowest percentage of migrants are represented by India, Afghanistan, Brazil and Haiti (0.4% each), Eritrea, Somalia and Peru (0.3% each), the Philippines, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea and Sri Lanka (0.2% each), Madagascar and Viet Nam (0.1%each), from the European Union Slovakia (3.4%), Bulgaria (2.2%), Romania (1.9%) and Poland (1.7%).5

1/7: Every seventh person in the world is a migrant

  • The estimated number of internal migrants (migrants inside of their country of origin) is 763 million.6 Together with the international migrants there is more than a billion of migrants in the world – every seventh person in the world is a migrant.

10: More than one half of the international migrants live in ten countries of the world7

  • In 2017, two-thirds (67%) of all international migrants were living in just 20 countries.
  • The majority of all international migrants live in the United States of America (49.8 million, or 19% of the world’s total), followed by Saudi Arabia and Germany with 12.2 million of migrants (each), the Russian Federation (11.7 million), the United Kingdom (8.8 million), the United Arab Emirates (8.3 million), France and Canada (7.9 million each), Australia (7 million), and Spain with 5.9 million of migrants.8

79.5 million: Asia is the most attractive destination for migrants

  • In 2017, almost one third of the total number of international migrants lived here.
  • Asia is followed by Europe (77.8 million) and North America (57.6 million, of which 49.8 million resides in the United States of America).9
  • The region of Asia represents a destination with the highest increase of international migrants since 2000. Their number has increased by 30 million until 2017. This increase in Asia has been fuelled in part by the strong demand for migrant workers in the oil-producing countries in Southwestern Asia.10

38.5 million: The number of migrants in the countries of the EU in 201611

  • Migrants made up 7.5% of persons living in the EU Member States.
  • From the overall number of migrants, 16.9 million migrants were residents of another EU country and the remaining 21.6 million were people with citizenship of a non-member country.  
  • Three-quarters (76%) of non-nationals living in the EU Member States were found in 5 EU Member States: Germany, the United Kingdom, Italy, France and Spain.

48.4%: Percentage of women in the world migration12

  • In total, 124.6 million female migrants were in the world in 2017.
  • Women accounted for more than one half of the international migrants in 101 countries of the world.
  • Among the countries with the highest representation of women was Nepal, Moldova, Montenegro, Latvia and Hong Kong, SAR of China.

39.2: The median age of all international migrants – compared with 29.6 years in the general world population13

  • One out of every seven international migrants (14% or 36 million of the global migrant stock) was under the age of 20.
  • Three-quarters of the total population of migrants (191 million) were of working age between 20 and 64 years.
  • The world hosted 11.7 percent (30 million) of international migrants of the global migrant stock aged 65 or over.14

613 billion $: Estimated volume of remittances (financial resources) sent to home countries by migrants in 201715

  • The remittances have increased from 132 billion USD in 2000 to 440 billion USD in 2010 and 613 billion USD in the present.
  • In 2017, the recipient countries with the highest volume of documented remittances were India, China, the Philippines, Mexico, France and Nigeria.16
  • It is estimated that the real volume of remittances, including undocumented formal and informal remittance flows is significantly higher.
  • Until 2019, the estimated volume of remittances is supposed to increase to 667 billion USD.

466 billion $: The estimated volume of remittances, which were sent by migrants to developing countries in 201717

40 million: The number of internally displaced persons in the world in 201718

  • The number of internally displaced persons that had been forced to flee their homes by armed conflict and generalised violence, and were living in displacement within the borders of their own country, increased from 21 million in 2000 to 40 million at the end of 2017.
  • 76% of the world’s internally displaced people as a result of conflict and violence live in just 10 countries: Syria (6.78 million), Colombia (6.5 m), Democratic Republic of Congo (4.48 m), Iraq (2.6 m), Sudan (2 m), Yemen (2 m) South Sudan (1.9 m), Nigeria (1.7 m), Afghanistan (1.28 m) and Turkey (1.11 m).
  • In 2017, 30.6 million new displacements associated with conflict and disasters were recorded across 143 countries and territories – that is 1 person forced to flee every 1 second.
  • Of all new displacement in 2017, 11.8 million was triggered by conflict and violence, and 18.8 million was affected by natural disasters.
  • Nearly half of newly displaced people come from only five countries: China, the Philippines, Syria, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Cuba.19

25.4 million: Estimated number of refugees in the world in 201720

  • Together with 40 million internally displaced persons and 3.1 million asylum seekers there are 68.5 million refugees, asylum seekers and internally displaced persons.
  • More than two-thirds (68%) of all refugees worldwide come from just five countries: Syria (6.3 million), Afghanistan (2.6 m), South Sudan (2.4 m), Myanmar (1.2 m), and Somalia (0.98 m).
  • For several consecutive years Turkey hosted the largest number of refugees and with 3.5 million refugees it became the largest refugee-hosting country worldwide. It was followed by Pakistan (1.4 m), Uganda (1.4 m), Lebanon (998,900), the Islamic Republic of Iran (979,400), Germany (970,400), Bangladesh (932,200) and Sudan (906,600).
  • The largest number of refugees in proportion to the national population is in Lebanon, where 1 in 6 people was a refugee under the responsibility of UNHCR.21
  • Developing regions hosted 85% (16.9 m) of the world’s refugees under UNHCR’s mandate.
  • In 2017, 650 thousand first-time asylum seekers applied for international protection in the Member States of the EU. The EU Member States granted protection status to 538 000 asylum seekers.
  • The largest group (1 out of 7) of applicants came from Syria (102,000 or 15.8%). Iraqis and Afghanis accounted for 7% of the total number of first-time asylum applicants, while Nigerians and Pakistanis accounted for 6% and 5% respectively.
  • One third of the refugees who apply for asylum in Europe submit their application in Germany (31% or 198,000 first-time applicants in 2017). It was followed by Italy (127 thousand), France (91 thousand), Greece (57 thousand), the United Kingdom (33 thousand) and Spain (30 thousand).22

1 Divinský, B., Migration Trends in the Slovak Republic after Its Accession to the EU (2004-2008), International Organization for Migration (IOM), 2009, p. 12 (https://iom.sk/sk/publikacie?download=106:migracne-trendy-v-slovenskej-republike-po-vstupe-krajiny-do-eu-2004-2008).
2 United Nations, Population Division, Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN DESA) – Trends in International Migrant Stock: The 2017 revision (United Nations database, POP/DB/MIG/Stock/Rev.2017) (http://www.un.org/en/development/desa/population/migration/data/estimates2/data/UN_MigrantStockTotal_2017.xlsx), UN DESA – International Migration Report 2017. Highlights (http://www.un.org/en/development/desa/population/migration/publications/migrationreport/docs/MigrationReport2017_Highlights.pdf), UN DESA – International Migration Wallchart 2017 (http://www.un.org/en/development/desa/population/migration/publications/wallchart/docs/MigrationWallChart2017.pdf).
3 Look at [2].
4 Look at [2].
5 Look at [2].
6 UN DESA – Technical Paper No. 2013/1 – Cross-national comparisons of internal migration: An update on global patterns and trends (http://www.un.org/en/development/desa/population/publications/pdf/technical/TP2013-1.pdf).
7 Look at [2].
8 Look at [2].
9 Look at [2].
10 UN DESA – International Migration Wallchart 2017 (http://www.un.org/en/development/desa/population/migration/publications/wallchart/docs/MigrationWallChart2017.pdf).
11 Eurostat – Migration and migrant population statistics (2018) (http://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/statistics-explained/index.php/Migration_and_migrant_population_statistics).
12 Look at [2].
13 Look at [2] and UN DESA – World Population Prospects, The 2017 Revision (https://esa.un.org/unpd/wpp/Publications/Files/WPP2017_KeyFindings.pdf).
14 Look at [2] and UN DESA – Trends in International Migrants Stock: The 2017 Revision, Stock by Age (http://www.un.org/en/development/desa/population/migration/data/estimates2/data/UN_MigrantStockByAge_2017.xlsx)
15 The World Bank – Migration and Development Brief 29, April 2018 (http://www.knomad.org/sites/default/files/2018-04/Migration%20and%20Development%20Brief%2029.pdf), Migration and Development Brief 2, November 2006 (http://pubdocs.worldbank.org/en/372901444756856754/MigrationDevelopmentBriefingNov2006.pdf).
16 The World Bank – Migration and Remittances Data. Annual Remittances Data as of April 2018 (http://www.worldbank.org/en/topic/migrationremittancesdiasporaissues/brief/migration-remittances-data).
17 Look at [15].
18 Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC) – Global Picture, 2017 Global Figures (http://www.internal-displacement.org).
19 IDMC – Global Report on Internal Displacement 2018 (http://www.internal-displacement.org/global-report/grid2018).
20 The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) – Global Trends. Forced displacement in 2017 (http://www.unhcr.org/globaltrends2017/). The number includes also 5.4 million Palestinian refugees registered by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA).
21 When Palestine refugees under UNRWA’s mandate are included, the figures rise as follows: 1 in 4 people was a refugee in Lebanon and 1 in 3 people was a refugee in Jordan.
22 Eurostat – Asylum Statistics (http://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/statistics-explained/index.php/Asylum_statistics).

Last updated on 21 June 2018.

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.)


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)
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 2018 (https://www.upsvr.gov.sk/buxus/docs/statistic/cudzinci/2018/cudzinci_1812.xlsx)
8 Look at [2]
9 Look at [7]
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)
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 – 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)
17 Look at [15]

Last updated on 5 April 2019.

International Organization for Migration (IOM) published a set of educational materials on migration: a documentary film, a didactic material and an information poster. The educational materials serve as a wide-range presentation tool to the introduction of migration and migrants to the public. It should help especially teachers and lecturers when introducing migration into multicultural education at all levels of formal education and into trainings in intercultural skills of professionals working with migrants.

Didactic material

The didactic material "We are at home here" is designed to be used by teachers and lecturers. It provides them with flexible, user-friendly material with evidence-based information, activities and references to other resources, which can be easily used in an interesting way to introduce the topic of migration and integration into education.

IOM - Didactic material We Are At Home Here - Educational Material on Migration

The material introduces definitions of basic terminology on migration and integration of migrants in the world and in Slovakia, and it presents the results of representative public opinion research on migration and migrants. The material also provides instructions on how to work  with the film "We are at home here" and it includes interactive activities to be used before and after the film screening which should engage the audience in the topic, raise awareness of migration issues and help to form opinion on migration.

Documentary film

The documentary "We are at home here" reflects the attitudes of the Slovak public towards migrants and through personal stories of a Palestinian doctor, florist from Ukraine and Vietnamese entrepreneur it introduces the life of migrants in Slovakia. Apart from the reality the film also presents interesting facts on migration and migrants living here. The documentary film can be projected directly from this site:

The film is also available in HD quality at the IOM YouTube site.

The Poster

This poster "We are at home here" promotes the topic of migration and migrant integration. It can be printed and displayed on its own or it can be complemented with further information and photos related to migration and integration.

IOM - Poster We Are At Home Here - Educational Material on Migration

All these educational materials can be used freely and disseminated for non-commercial use for the purpose of intercultural education, trainings in intercultural skills and for public presentation as a means of contributing to forming of an informed public opinion on migration and migrants, stimulating discussion on migration and migrants and, thus, contributing to removing stereotypes and myths in society and preventing of bias, intolerance, discrimination and xenophobia. No educational materials or any part of them may be reproduced, stored in a search engine, disseminated or transmitted in any form, or by any means, without the prior written permission of IOM.