What is integration?
Integration is the process of integrating refugees and foreigners into a new country. It is a two-way process - it requires action on the part of refugees and foreigners, but also on the part of the rest of the community, who must create the conditions for integration and accept the foreign individuals into their society.
In Slovakia, the 2014 Integration Policy of the Slovak Republic, adopted by the Government of the Slovak Republic, is the binding document on this issue. The integration policy regulates the rules and objectives of integrating foreigners in Slovakia, as well as recommendations for individual state bodies, organizations, authorities and other subjects on how to carry out the integration of foreigners.
Integration of refugees:
If the asylum procedure is successful, the asylum-seeker will be granted asylum and either permanent residency in Slovakia or subsidiary protection and a one-year temporary stay. The asylum-seeker only has the right to stay in Slovakia, and may travel to other EU countries only for a trip or short visit. Generally, a refugee may travel outside of his or her country of asylum up to three months out of every six months. If he or she wishes to stay longer, find a job or settle in another EU country, he must apply for a residence permit under the laws of that country.
For refugees seeking asylum in a European country, the prospects of building a new life is clearly the most important consideration. Being granted asylum is only the beginning of a challenging journey to integrate into a new society and build a new life. Thus, refugees often examine whether the country of asylum provides an integration program, job opportunities, intensive language courses, and opportunities to go to school.
Asylum-seekers from different countries and faiths have successfully integrated in Slovakia and started a new life here. Due to their lack of social connections and knowledge of the Slovak language, the beginning of this process is particularly challenging. They initially rely on a social worker for almost every aspect of their life, including seeking suitable employment and housing, contacting authorities unfamiliar with foreigners and healthcare workers, enrolling their children into school and more. In many cases, they have no money, not even enough to produce the required documents for residence in Slovakia. They do not have enough money for clothes, furniture or household goods. Thus, adequate financial assistance during this period is essential for refugees to ground the basis to live as full citizens in Slovakia.
Check out our Youtube channel for real stories of individual refugees who had to flee their home countries and start a new life in Slovakia.
Take a look at our eLearning page where you can find out more about refugees and migration!
(Only available in Slovak; please contact us for English assistance)
You can also read this document on recommendations for better integration of those receiving subsidiary protection, including the current state and suggestions for improving their situation in Slovakia.