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 in migration during the twentieth century. Until recently, Slovakia was almost exclusively the 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, illegal and asylum migration has decreased and legal migration has increased eight times. Although the increase in foreign population in Slovakia in the years 2004 – 2008 was the second highest among the EU states, the representation of foreigners in the population remains low. Today foreigners make up 5.13 per cent of the population and their number is slowly, yet continuously increasing: in December 2022, there were about 111 076 more foreigners living in Slovakia than the year before, which means an increase of 66.3 %.1 which has been caused mainly by the influx of people from Ukraine.
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 business purposes, work and study.
(Unless otherwise stated, the following statistics were updated as of 31 December 2022.)
FACTS & FIGURES ON MIGRATION IN SLOVAKIA
278,595: The number of foreigners with residence permits in Slovakia in December 20222
- They represent 5.13 % 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 almost twelve times (from 22,108 migrants in 2004 to 278,595 in December 2022).
- If all the foreigners in SR concentrated in one place, they would create a town with populations like Košice and Poprad together.
3.: Out of all the EU countries, Slovakia has the third lowest proportion of foreigners4
- Only Poland (1.21 %) and Romania (0.75 %) have a lower proportion of foreigners in the total population.
- Out of the neighbouring countries, the Czech Republic (5.96 %) and Austria (16.99 %) all have a higher proportion of migrants.
- Millions of people have been forced to leave their homes and Ukraine because of the war in Ukraine. The current situation of migration from Ukraine to neighbouring states and other European countries, as well as migration flows to Ukraine, is reported by UNHCR.5
67.5 %: The proportion of Austrian, Czech, Hungarian, Polish and Ukrainian citizens in the total population of foreigners in the SR6
- 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 southeastern European countries (Romania, Bulgaria, Russia, Serbia), who represent 12.3 % 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 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 4.6 % of all foreigners in Slovakia; their number amounted to 12,866.
20 %: The citizens of the EU countries account for one-fifth of all foreigners in Slovakia
- Most EU countries citizens in Slovakia come from the Czech Republic (12,755). They form 4.6 % of the total population of foreigners.7
- Apart from the nationals of Hungary (3.5 %) Romania (2.5 %), and Poland (2.2 %), the citizens of Germany (1.6 %) and Italy (1.1 %) are also numerous among the EU countries citizens living in Slovakia.
1/2: The proportion of Ukrainians in the total number of foreigners in Slovakia (56.3 %); Ukrainians are the most numerous group of foreigners in Slovakia both from the EU and outside the EU8
- Considering non-EU nationals in Slovakia, Ukrainians (156,881) are followed by the nationals of Serbia (18,215), Vietnam (8,039), the Russian Federation (7,436) and North Macedonia (2,842).
- There has been a significant increase in the group of citizens from Ukraine who came to Slovakia as a result of the war in their native country.
79.9 %: The proportion of non-EU nationals in the overall number of foreigners in Slovakia
- This proportion represents approximately 4.1 % of the population of the SR.
- If all non-EU nationals in Slovakia concentrated in one place, with a number of 222,525 people they would form a town almost as large as Košice.
87,998: The number of foreign employees in the SR in December 20229
- Currently, there is one foreign employee per 28 national employees.10
- Since Slovakia’s accession to the European Union, the number of foreign employees has increased more than twenty-six times – from 3,351 persons in 2004 to 87,998 in December 2022, including 56,876 non-EU nationals.
- In 2022, foreigners from ca 140 countries were employed in Slovakia, most of them from Ukraine (33,419), Serbia (9,798), Romania (7,025), Czech Republic (6,514) and Hungary (5,574).11
- Among the foreign workers, men constitute a substantial majority; they form 62 % of all employed foreigners.12
11 791: The number of foreigners who in 2022 illegally crossed the borders or illegally resided in the territory of the Slovak Republic13
- Since the accession of the SR into the EU in 2014, the illegal migration to SR has decreased eight times: from 10,946 illegal migrants in 2004 to 1,304 in 2014.
- In 2020, the number of foreigners who illegally crossed the border or illegally stayed on the territory of the Slovak Republic was 1,295, in 2021 it increased to 1,769 and in 2022 it increased to 11,791.14 One of the reasons for the increase was the increased flow of transit migration from the Western Balkans.
547: The number of applications for asylum in the SR in 202215
- In 2021, citizens of Ukraine, Turkey, Morocco, Bangladesh, and the Russian Federation applied for asylum in the Slovak Republic most often.
- From January to December 2022, the Slovak Republic granted asylum to 23 people.
- By comparison, in 2004 11,395 persons applied for asylum in the SR; in the last years, the number of applications has stabilized at several hundred per year.16
- From the overall number of 60,242 applications since 1993, the asylum was granted to 926 people, whereas 853 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 2021 and 2022 (http://www.minv.sk/?rocenky)
2 BBAP P PF – Overview of Legal and Illegal Migration in the Slovak Republic 2022 (https://www.minv.sk/swift_data/source/policia/hranicna_a_cudzinecka_policia/rocenky/rok_2021/2021-rocenka-UHCP-SK.pdf)
3 Statistical Office of the Slovak Republic – Stock of the population in the SR on 31st December 2022 (5,428,792) (https://slovak.statistics.sk/LinkComposer/lc?l=SK_INF&c=05493527-5302-4b03-b766-a30e20902800)
4 Eurostat – Population by citizenship and residence – Foreigners (Statistics as of 1 January 2021) (https://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/databrowser/view/tps00001/default/table?lang=en, https://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/databrowser/view/tps00157/default/table?lang=en and https://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/databrowser/view/tps00178/default/table?lang=en)
5 UNHCR - Operational Data Portal: Ukraine Refugee Situation (https://data.unhcr.org/en/situations/ukraine)
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9 Central Office of Labour, Social Affairs and Family - Employment of foreigners in the Slovak Republic for the year 2022, December 2022 (https://www.upsvr.gov.sk/buxus/docs/statistic/cudzinci/2022/cudzinci_2212.xlsx)
10 Statistical Office of the SR – Employment in 2022 (2,488,000, after deducting people working abroad) (https://www.susr.sk/LinkComposer/lc?l=SK_INF&c=1110dcef-9bde-4c43-bce9-1ea2cd55a7c2).
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14 BBAP P PF – Statistical Overview of Legal and Illegal Migration in the Slovak Republic (from 2000 – 2021) (http://www.minv.sk/?rocenky)
15 Migration Office of the Ministry of Interior of the SR – Statistical overview of asylum seekers as of December 2021 (https://www.minv.sk/?statistiky-20&subor=433405) and Statistical report for 2022 (https://www.minv.sk/?statistiky-20&subor=468036)
16 Statistics of the Migration Office of the Ministry of Interior of the SR (http://www.minv.sk/?statistiky-20)
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Last updated on 27 March 2023.