Foreigners arriving in Slovakia most often need help with the first steps in obtaining a residence permit and are looking for ways to orientate themselves in the complex administrative procedures and legislation. This follows from data of the IOM Migration Information Centre (MIC), which was opened by the IOM Slovakia in April 2006.
MIC is the only information centre for foreigners in Slovakia, which provides migrants from countries outside the European Union with free legal, social and employment counselling, support for further education and integration into the labour market. The centre also organizes Slovak language courses for them and supports the life of foreign communities in Slovakia.
The information in the article is accompanied by testimonials of clients of the IOM Migration Information Centre.
"If any of us decides to live in a new country, we want to find accommodation and a job. It will be very helpful if we can speak a language, have accurate information about residence, family reunification, employment and health care, how and where to get various documents and permits, and which authorities to contact. Foreigners in Slovakia are in the same situation. Our centre responds to their most frequent enquires in order to manage their new lives in Slovakia as easily as possible. Their successful integration is also beneficial for the Slovak society," explains Zuzana Vatráľová, Head of the IOM Office in Slovakia.
It is your help and support that enables me to develop the skills of searching for the position, preparing the documents and interview. Such a considerate and timely help is of great value for me.
Slovakia is a destination country for an increasing number of foreigners. In 2006, when the IOM opened the centre, there were 32,153 foreigners living in the Slovak Republic; as of 31 December 2020, according to the statistics of the Border and Foreign Police Bureau, there were 150,000 in Slovakia, which represents a fivefold increase and a 2.75 per cent share in the total population of the Slovak Republic.
"With the growing number of foreigners in Slovakia, the number of beneficiaries and consultations has been increasing every year since the centre opened 15 years ago. In 2020, 8,237 people used the centre's comprehensive consultancy services alone, which is 2,000 more than in 2019,” says Zuzana Vatráľová.
You were very kind and helpful with providing us with the relevant information regarding residency requirements in Slovakia. We would like to offer our thanks for your timely, efficient and professional assistance in the past. It was a welcome breath of fresh air!
The courses of the Slovak language, and courses in cultural and social orientation are among the most requested and highly demand MIC‘s services, and over 13,000 people have already completed them. The results of the IOM MIC from April 2006 to March 2021 are available on the IOM website.
I have learned Slovak language for over 3 months. I really appreciate your opportunity and teacher. I believe that I will communicate easily with Slovak friends and understand Slovak culture. Thank you very much!
The course increased my ability for everyday conversation and my chances to receive a professional job.
"The clients of our centre especially appreciate the fact that in one place they receive useful counselling and other services needed for the lives of foreigners in Slovakia. They also appreciate the comprehensibility and usefulness of the information in several languages, prompt responses, proficiency and helpfulness of the centre's counsellors," describes Zuzana Vatráľová.
According to the experience of the IOM MIC, the current Covid-19 pandemic has an adverse effect not only on domestic residents, but also on foreigners living in the Slovak Republic.
"Many of them had their residence permits expired during an emergency situation, some of them lost their jobs and could not return home due to travel restrictions. All this and many other situations needed to be resolved immediately. We strengthened the MIC IOM information line for clients 0850 211 478, the number of email consultations increased and in the first quarter of 2021 the number of visitors to the website www.mic.iom.sk doubled to 71,000 per month. We have transferred the teaching of the Slovak language to the online format, for those interested we organize information webinars and create useful video tutorials, “adds Zuzana Vatráľová.
I think I would like to continue with online course even after quarantine will be over. It is very convenient, also the big plus of the online course is limited quantity of the students. Many thanks to the IOM Migration Information Center for this opportunity to learn for free from home.
Have a look at what beneficiaries and co-workers of the IOM Migration Information Centre say:
Results of the IOM Migration Information Centre:
Find more information:
Support of the activities of the IOM Migration Information Centre:
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.