The Renewal Plan counts on foreigners, but only chosen ones 

Similarly to other European countries, Slovakia is facing the challlenge of significant population ageing. Demographs have been calling on the government to start dealing with the issue for a long time. And, even though the voices calling for support of higher birth rate and pro-family policies(1) are currently stronger in Slovakia, such measures alone have not resolved the demographic crisis in any country(2). Experts have been pointing out the fact that without support of regulated foreign migration, it will not happen. The Slovak government was obviously aware of that when they were preparing the Plan for Renewal(3) and dedicated one of its components to „attracting and retaining talent“ (Component 10).

One of the aims of the measures and investment defined within this component is to meet the demand for shortage of high skilled positions. However, according to IOM(4), Slovakia will need additional 335,000 employees in different sectors, particularly in manufacturing, engineering, construction, trade, transport, IT, social services and health care by 2025. So obviously, it is not only about high skilled employees, but also employees in various positions and sectors who are important for the economy. Therefore, it is unclear why such a fundamental part of the Renewal Plan is dedicated only to making migration easier for high skilled foreigners.

Excellent integration measures, but …

In this component, the Renewal Plan includes a lot of excellent measures important for integration of foreigners – programmes promoting adaptation, language courses (for foreigners and for civil servants), social and cultural orientation courses, counselling, a simplified procedure of education and qualifications certificates and diplomas recognition or one-stop-shops. If these measures were a part of integration policies in Slovakia and were actually implemented, they would contribute considerably to successful integration of foreigners living in Slovakia.

Nonetheless, the Renewal Plan proposes the measures only for high skilled foreigners, who, we daresay, represent a smaller proportion of the total number of foreigners in Slovakia (currently over 150,000). The authors of the Renewal Plan claim that integration of specialists is relatively easier, which seems to be the reason why they propose to give preference to this group of foreigners. However, all foreigners need some integration support. Some groups of foreigners may need it even more than others – for example those whose mother tongue is significantly different from Slovak language, which means that learning the language can be much more difficult, or those having less social capital becuase it may be harder for them to find their way around a new environment, etc.

The Renewal Plan also aims to improve services and data collection to contribute to better protection of third country nationals in labour market. This aim is also connected to the group of high skilled foreigners. If we put aside this aspect for a moment, the intention itself can be considered positive. We, as well as other NGOs, have been raising concerns about the issue of unfair labour market conditions and exploitation of foreigners for a long time(5). However, all foreigners need protection from exploitation, not only the high skilled ones. It is mainly foreigners in low skilled jobs who are most often victims of exploitation. Better protection of third country nationals in labour market should have been a priority long ago. We can only hope that the measure will positively affect all groups of foreigners, not only the high skilled ones.  

The committment to set up one-stop-shops, a sort of client centers for foreigners, deserves special focus. There are such centres in Western European countries and they are viewed as good practice examples. It is high time Slovakia took this step. If set up well, such centres can make life of foreigners significantly easier. But, it will only happen if they are available to all foreigners, not only to the high skilled ones.

If all the above measures were available to all foreigners and would be actually implemented, we would consider it a big step towards better integration of foreigners. The way they are framed in the Renewal Plan, however, it seems the government perceives migration in the same way as general public – in Slovakia – we only accept foreigners who we can benefit from(6). Foreigners come to Slovakia and they are a diverse population. Integration support should be open and available to them all.


  1. Gallová Kriglerová, E. et al (2021), We refuse what‘s foreign and won‘t give up what‘s ours. Attitudes of majority population to foreigners in Slovakia. Analysis from a quantitative and qualitative research, Bratislava, CVEK, available at
  2. Baláž, V. – Karasová, K. (2016), ´Who, where from and where to: Slovak people in Europe, Europe in Slovakia´, in: Mesežnikov, G. – Hlinčíková, M. (eds.), An open country or a an impregnable fortress? Slovakia, migrants and refugees, Bratislava, IVO and Heinrich Böll Stifftung.
  3. Government of the Slovak Republic (2021), Recovery and resilience plan for the Slovak Republic, adopted by the Government resolution of 28.4.2021, available at:
  4. The information was given during webinar on „Work mobility scheme“, organized by IOM – International Organization for Migration on 17.9.2021.
  5. Chudžíková, A.H., Bargerová, Z. (2017), Victims of labour exploitation or „illegal“ migrants? Ukrainian workers´ labour rights protection in Slovakia, Bratislava, CVEK, available at
  6. Gallová Kriglerová, E. et al (2021), We refuse what‘s foreign and won‘t give up what‘s ours. Attitudes of majority population to foreigners in Slovakia. Analysis from a quantitative and qualitative research, Bratislava, CVEK, available at

Picture: Convertkit,

This article was written thanks to a financial support of the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada represented by Canadian Embassy in Bratislava.