The Office of the IOM International Organization for Migration has opened its Migration Information Centre again. Its branches in Bratislava and in Košice offer migrants, who live or plan to live and work in Slovakia, individual legal and labour counselling.

The Migration Information Centre (MIC) was for the first time opened in March 2006 in Bratislava and in May 2006 in Košice. The main services that the MIC had been and is now again offering its clients, are individual counselling, support of requalification courses and labour counselling and support of migrant community life. During its 2.5-year operation the MIC provided 2 500 consultations to more than 700 clients, nationals of third countries. „Clients needed assistance and advice regarding the issues of residence, family reunification, citizenship, employment, business and health care. The counselling experience of the Centre showed that what migrants need for their integration is quality information that they can obtain in one place according to their individual needs,“ said the Head of the IOM Office in Bratislava, Zuzana Vatráľová.

Apart from legal counselling the MIC provided clients financial support to attend requalification courses in accredited training institutions in order to improve their chances on the labour market. In total 60 migrants obtained the grant for various types of courses, such as Slovak language courses, various vocational courses, computer, accounting, language courses and similar etc. „This type of assistance proved to be very effective. The financial grant of 12 000 SKK (398 EUR) on average helped clients acquire or keep their job thus enabling them to actively contribute to the Slovak economy. It has never happened that the client would not complete the course,” Vatráľová said.

To support the migrant communities living in Slovakia, MIC created a network of cultural mediators, which currently comprises approximately 20 cultural mediators representing various migrant communities. In co-operation with IOM, cultural mediators organized information meetings in the form of various cultural and sports events. The aim of these events was to present the communities’ culture to the public and to support the social life of the community. Altogether approximately 25 such meetings took place with more than 1 000 participants from the communities and majority society.

At the end of October 2008 the Migration Information Centre had to interrupt its operation and the provision of services due to a lack of funding after the completion of the project financed by the Community Initiative Equal. Its re-opening was made possible by the project funded by the European Fund for the Integration of Third-Country Nationals (Solidarity and Management of Migration Flows). The Centre now offers the clients the same services as in the past. The clients can make use of the services of the MIC free of charge either in the Bratislava (Grosslingova 4) or in the Košice branch (Hlavná 68). In addition, MIC can be contacted through the discount-charge information hotline 0850 211 478 or by e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . Analytically processed information about the main aspects of migrants’ life can also be accessed through the website www.mic.iom.sk.

„The economic crisis has slowed down or even completely stopped the increasing labour migration flows, which Slovakia has witnessed in recent years. Nevertheless, more foreign nationals live in Slovakia now than ever before. We are convinced that from the long-term perspective the Slovak Republic will not only be passively admitting migration flows, but will need to actively attract migrants to fill free places on the labour market. It is therefore necessary to ensure continuous operation of this type of services.” The press conference on the occasion of the MIC re-opening took place on 29 May 2009 in the Migration Information Centre in Bratislava.