The Influence of Migration on the Demographic Development of Slovakia (Excerpt)

immigrants in Lampedusa

Since an effective pro-natality policy is considered too expensive, immigration is often put forward as a possible solution or co-solution of the unfavorable regressive structural development of the population (e. g. Vašečka, 2009; Vaňo et al., 2002).

We explore the broader context of this approach, including possible risks of immigration. We also outline some consequences of internal migration in as well as emigration from Slovakia.

The full text of the article is available in Slovak.


The analyses pertaining to work emigration of Slovak citizens show that this trend has a negative impact on the structural development of Slovak society. The people in whom society has invested resources are handing over their potential (social lhuman capital) abroad in the period of life when they are productive. Moreover, the potential frequently goes unused, because the emigrants often work on positions with lower qualifications than they really have.

Among the few positive aspects of migration of Slovak citizens abroad are the skills and experience of those who return, among them the command of a foreign language.

The Slovak immigration policy is relatively resistant to tendencies of Third World immigration. This policy, also inspired by the negative experiences of Western states, has a quite consensual support across the political spectrum. We are of the opinion that this attitude is right, mainly due to the following reasons:

  • The Slovak work market has trouble creating jobs for the local population, which is forced to travel abroad in search of work.
  • The position of Slovakia is relatively specific due to the Roma minority – a major part of the Roma in productive age is not integrated in the formal work market, which is a long-term trend.
  • The higher fertility of immigrants from Third World countries would in several decades influence the population of Slovakia in its ethnic, religious, racial and cultural composition, which could lead to conflict and would tend to weaken social cohesion.

„We can assume that the better the situation in Slovakia will become, the higher the life standard will be, the less citizens will be leaving the country, and the more foreigners will be interested in moving in.“ (Vaňo et al., 2002)

Migration for work reasons, when the most skilled are drawn to the highest salaries, has its share on deepening the regional bipolarity of the world, and the differences in prosperity are more and more pronounced.

Since Slovakia, together with the other former Eastern Bloc EU member states, is generally less attractive for immigrants (the so-called pull factors are less intense), it is at least naive to expect that Slovakia will be systematically and stably attractive for highly qualified professionals who are desired in almost all populations. We should rather rethink our strategies to ensure that highly qualified professionals will not want to permanently leave Slovakia.


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