New policies to control foreign labour in response to the financial crisis have affected inward labour migration to Slovenia, which had been growing since EU accession. The only changes registered since 2007 relate to labour market mobility, as targeted measures for migrants were abolished and information on rights improved.

Newcomers still enjoy more favourable integration possibilities than other Central European countries. Slovenia stands apart by granting family members and long-term residents a secure status and generally accessible conditions. However, NGOs and the equality body have weak powers to help victims access the broad anti-discrimination principles in law.

As with other Central European countries, access to nationality and political participation are areas of weakness. Slovenia still does not accept jus soli and full dual nationality (see GR, LU). Exclusion of migrants from democratic life was reinforced in 2008 when the National Council for Integration of Aliens was established without any formal immigrant representation. Integration policies are starting to emerge in education but are not systematic, and migrants cannot equally access education beyond what is compulsory.

Timeline - What's Changed

+12 July 2008
Labour Market Mobility - Rights
Regulation on the Integration of Aliens (65/2008): State must actively inform migrants of their rights
0 July 2008
Political participation
National Council for Integration of Aliens, but without dedicated immigrant representation
-12 June 2009
Labour market mobility targeted support
Decree 44/2009 restricting and prohibiting employment and work of aliens. Targeted measures no longer apply
0 2009
Labour market mobility
Amendment to Employment of Aliens Act
0 2009
Access to nationality
Decree on citizenship clarifies interruption of residence no more than 60 days/year
0 2009
Guidelines for the education of children of aliens in kindergartens and schools

Key Findings

  • Slovenia ranks 18th , above all other Central European countries. 
  • Scoring 5th after SE, CA, PT and ES, securing family life is a strength for integration, but may create economic dependency. 
  • Economic crisis means fewer migrants can improve skills if they lose their jobs but are better informed on their rights. 
  • Wide definitions and application of antidiscrimination principles undermined by weak equality body. 
  • Access to nationality still lacks key principles for countries of immigration. 
  • Conditions for accessing long-term residence and security best promote integration through settlement. 

Score Changes

Areas of Integration

  • Show Labour Market Mobility

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    Migrants feel the crisis

    In June 2009, against the backdrop of the economic crisis, the government activated Article 5(7) of the Aliens Act for the first time by implementing, in addition to its usual quotas, the temporary Decree on restrictions and prohibition of employment and work of aliens. Specifically, this measure prohibits seasonal employment of aliens in all areas except farming and forestry, as well as employment from certain regions. The Decree was amended twice in 2010 and these temporary measures have been prolonged until the end of 2010.


    Labour market mobility is restricted and Slovenia, at 44 points, scores around the Central European average. While migrant workers have largely equal rights when in jobs, their temporary status may prevent any long-term economic integration. They are limited in accessing or changing jobs, while fewer measures target their specific circumstances.

    Only certain temporary migrants can immediately access the labour market, with additional restrictions to enter the country in place since 2009 (see box). Unlike leading new countries of labour migration (ES, PT), those who have a right to work are still denied access to the public sector (as in 10 countries, including IT) and can only set up their own business after 1 year (unlike in 10). Certain professions, such as the legal sector, are completely closed off.

    If migrant workers become unemployed, they can only be entered on the register of unemployed persons if they have a personal work permit that is valid for 3 years or for an indefinite period of time. Their possibilities for employment have been further affected by the crisis, which has shifted focus from promoting their integration and tackling immigrant unemployment to reducing the unemployment of nationals. Slovenia was alone (with IE) in reducing its commitment to migrantspecific measures, unlike other countries (AT, DE, LU, PT, ES, EE), where these were maintained. As a result, workers already in Slovenia may no longer benefit from targeted measures to encourage further training. Not only will this affect their ability to advance in the labour market, but those that lose their jobs will have less chance to be employed, despite their contribution to the economy in periods of growth.

    On the other hand, they are now better informed of their workers’ rights through the employment service of Slovenia in an effort to protect them against exploitation. These rights include equal working conditions (as in 29 countries), but do not extend to equal access to social benefits for all (as in only half MIPEX countries, most of which have few migrant workers).

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    Newcomers enjoy favourable conditions to secure family life as a starting point for integration. They can join dependent adult children/relatives with no extra requirements (as in 6 other countries) and show only minimum income. A major weakness is that family members do not have the same possibilities as their sponsor to work (unlike 22 countries, including GR, ES), which forces financial dependence under the breadwinner model. Still, they can become independent faster; Slovenia being one of 8 countries offering autonomous status for spouses/children after 3 years. They can also equally access education and social security. Family members can lose their permit if original conditions no longer apply but personal circumstances are considered.

  • Show Education

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    All migrant pupils may not advance as well through the education system, without equal access to non-compulsory and pre-school education except under reciprocity principles. They are supported in learning their own language and Slovenian, while teachers have some training on their needs. Positive developments in school might not extend beyond the classroom without monitoring or systematic policies to encourage parental involvement (see CA, FI, SE). Intercultural education appears as an official aim and, with 33 points, Slovenia scores above the low Central European average (see HU, PL, CZ). There is ad hoc funding and some possibilities to adapt curricula but no concrete measures to implement intercultural education in all schools, e.g. recruiting migrant teachers (DE, NO, UK).

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    No room for immigrant voice

    The Council for the Integration of Aliens was established in 2008 and reports to the government. It issues recommendations, participates in drafting laws and is responsible for implementing and monitoring integration measures. Members are appointed by the government from ministries and NGOs but not from immigrant associations. As such, the Council is not representative, democratic or autonomous, unlike the recently reinforced National Council for Foreigners in LU (see also DE, FI, NO and the new local body in GR. For cities, see Rome, DE, AT).

    Slovenia sets some best practices in Central Europe but, at 28 points, the concrete opportunities for migrants to participate remain limited. Permanent residents have local voting rights (as EE, HU, LT, SK) and there is some funding for national immigrant organisations. Migrants were also informed of their rights during another ad hoc information campaign launched by the Ministry of Interior in 2009. Like many Central European countries, migrants cannot stand in elections and are restricted in joining political parties, although they can form their own associations. They have no meaningful consultative role in the recently established Council for the Integration of Aliens (see box). 

  • Show Long Term Residence

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    Migrants face initial restrictions in applying for long-term residence since some temporary permits are excluded (as 15 countries) and not all student time is counted. But, once eligible, they need only prove basic minimum income and pay a basic fee, as Slovenia sets accessible conditions and facilitates integration, as with family reunion. With permanent permits, long-term residents are more secure than other Central European countries and closer to established countries of immigration (DE, NL, FR) and PT. Minors cannot be expelled and some personal circumstances are considered in cases of withdrawal. They have equal access to employment and social security as in most countries.

  • Show Access to Nationality

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    Migrants face a long uncertain path to citizenship, unlike established and reforming countries of immigration. Their descendants are not considered Slovenian at birth (see GR and 14 others) and there is limited dual nationality only for first generation migrants. Applicants wait 10 years in total and cannot leave Slovenia beyond 60 days/year, which is one of the longest residence requirements in Europe. They fulfil more accessible conditions than average in Central Europe. Applicants are helped pass the language requirement with free support, independent testing, exemptions and low level (also BG). Their status can be lost on wide grounds regardless of time but with some consideration of statelessness and full legal protections.

  • Show Anti-discrimination

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    Victims will see broad anti-discrimination laws weakly enforced by courts because of limited support from the equality body. Residents are protected against some forms of discrimination on all grounds and in all areas of life. Potential victims can access all legal proceedings with aid, wide sanctions and sharing of the burden of proof, but they receive little external support with no class actions (unlike in BG, PT, SK) or help from NGOs in pursuing their claim (24 countries). The Advocate of the Principle of Equality is one of the weakest equality bodies with no legal standing, power to issue binding decisions or lead investigations (unlike BG, HU, RO). The State promotes equality through social dialogue and in its daily work.