Bratislava, Slovakia – For the first time, the number of non-EU nationals living in Slovakia surpassed the number of EU citizens residing in the country last year, according to the head of the Border and Foreigners Police Ladislav Csémi, who posted a video about the topic on Facebook.
There are currently around 120.000 foreigners living in Slovakia: nearly 65.400 of them (54.5%) come from countries outside the EU, with the nationalities most represented being Ukrainians (24.900 at the end of 2018), Serbians (14.200), Russians (4.700), Vietnamese (4.000), Chinese (2.600), South Koreans (1.600) and Iranians (1.400).
The situation is quite similar to neighboring Czech Republic, where roughly 57% of the over half a million foreigners living in the country come from outside the EU (Ukrainians, Vietnamese and Russians being on top of the list).
Out of the nearly 56.000 EU nationals residing in Slovakia, most of them come from the Czech Republic (11.000), Hungary (8.500), Romania (7.400), Poland (5.900) and Germany (4.600).
Although foreigners still account for a relatively small share of the country’s population (around 2.2% at the end of 2018), their numbers have skyrocketed in recent years and doubled within six years, according to Slovakia’s Foreigners Police. Foreigners and expats emigrating to Slovakia often choose the small landlocked Central European country due to a wide range of factors, including the country’s overall high level of safety, excellent economic outlooks and good employment opportunities.
As the Slovak Spectator reported, the Foreigners Police is introducing new measures to cope with the increased number of foreigners, while also having to deal with the registration of British citizens ahead of Brexit: “Despite the organisational and legislative measures in recent years, the procedures and capacities are still under huge pressure”, Ladislav Csémi pointed out.
And the experiences of foreigners in Slovakia widely vary from one expat to the next: while some have no trouble whatsoever integrating in Slovak society, especially in the vibrant and open-minded young urban class of Bratislava, we’ve also come across many people, usually from outside the EU, for whom integration in Slovakia was a real challenge, who had trouble fitting in and sometimes even suffered from social exclusion and isolation.
Don’t hesitate to contact us if you’d like to share your own story as a foreigner in Slovakia… wherever you come from!