Diversity and inclusion
Traditionally, Slovakia is a country of emigration rather than immigration. At different stages of our history, people left Slovakia in search of a better life abroad. For example, in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, more than half a million people, 20% of the then population of the present-day territory of Slovakia, left for the United States and Canada. During the communist regime, between 1948 and 1989, around 138,000 people crossed the Iron Curtain and became political refugees in the Western world. Slovakia’s accession to the EU opened up attractive opportunities for movement, study and work, which led to another wave of emigration from our country: it is estimated that up to 300,000 Slovaks currently work abroad, i.e. 5% of the total population.
Although quite a large proportion of minorities (up 20% of the population) live in Slovakia, Slovaks have almost no history of coexistence with people from different cultural and religious backgrounds.
Until 2015 the topic of immigration and integration of migrants was marginal, but this changed considerably during the refugee crisis of 2015 and 2016. As a result of the negative political discourse on refugees and migrants, the social distance towards migrants has been strengthened and public opinion has radicalised. This is confirmed, for example, by the Gallup World Poll, which examined the level of acceptance of migrants (Global Migrant Acceptance Index) in 138 countries ranking Slovakia as the fifth least accepting country.
In view of the above, the European Migration Agency is preparing activities aimed at enhancing the positive impact and positive perception of diversity in Slovakia, as well as activities aimed at enhancing the integration of migrants.