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Governance of migrant integration in Slovenia

Slovenia started receiving migrants from other ex-Yugoslavian territories after 1991, the year of the disintegration of Yugoslavia and Slovenia’s independence. These migrants often had families and friends living in the country, and shared languages and cultures similar to those of Slovenians. This facilitated their integration.

Since Slovenia joined the EU in 2004, more third-country citizens (TCNs) have settled in the country. The increasing number of asylum seekers arriving since 2015 further accentuated this trend.

The statistics in the chart above are based on Eurostat's Non-national population by group of citizenship, 1 January 2021, with 147 531 third-country nationals (TCNs) and 21 120 EU citizens living in Slovenia at the time.

National figures from 2017 suggest that most TCNs in Slovenia come from ex-Yugoslavian states Bosnia and Herzegovina (58 355), Kosovo (16 580) and Serbia (13 088). At the time, 34 815 had valid temporary residence permits and 76 034 were permanent residents, according to the national statistical office.

In 2016, out of the 39 748 permits issued, 18,256 were for work, 6 405 - for family reunification and 2 564 - for studies.

No aggregated data on Slovenian citizens with third country background are made available.

Integration strategy

Integration is one of the six pillars of the Strategy on Migration adopted in July 2019. Previously, some aspects of integration were defined in the Resolution on immigration policy of 1999; the government also briefly described its integration policy on the interior ministry website, with objectives based the EU’s Common Basic Principles, placing emphasis on the two-way dynamic of integration.

Slovenia's policy therefore encourages interactions between communities of different cultures and national identities, promotes tolerant and respectful attitude towards cultural differences and raises awareness on the importance of intercultural dialogue.

Integration programme

Slovenia introduced its first and current integration programme called Initial Integration of Immigrants in 2008. The free and optional programme targets both migrants and beneficiaries of international protection.

The programme focuses on Slovene history, culture and constitution, and includes a mutual introduction course between foreigners and Slovene citizens. It provides language courses, civic education, but does not offer vocational training.

Newcomers can follow 180-, 120- or 60-hour courses, depending on the type of permits they hold and the duration of their stay before their enrollment. The classes are provided by a variety of institutions which are selected through a tendering procedure every 2 years.

Evaluation

No official evaluation of Slovenia’s integration programme or the situation of migrants has so far been published.

The 2020 Migrant Integration Policy Index (MIPEX) evaluates that Slovenia as still does not ensure migrants' access to truly equal opportunities.

Legislation

Law on foreigners

The foreigners law adopted in 2011 was last amended in 2017 to restrict foreigners' entry and stay in the country.

In 2021, the law was again amended, resulting into more restrictive policy toward migrants, foreign workers and their families, and students.

Asylum law

The first Slovenian asylum law was adopted in 1999 and repealed in 2006. The new Law on International Protection, which entered into force in 2016, mainly aligns the Slovenian legislation with EU asylum legislation (including the Dublin II Agreement), making rules stricter than before. 

Integration law

Slovenia does not have a self-standing integration law for all migrant groups. There are, however, regulations on the modalities and conditions for ensuring the rights of applicants and beneficiaries of international protection.

Citizenship law

The 1991 citizenship law has often been amended. Its 2017 changes made it possible for applicants who have made an exceptional contribution to the development, reputation or visibility of Slovenia to acquire citizenship, even when they do not fulfill the usual conditions of uninterrupted residence.

Anti-discrimination law

Slovenia’s first anti-discrimination law was only adopted in 2016 and no changes have been introduced so far. The Protection Against Discrimination Act defines the protection of every person against discrimination irrespective of their gender, nationality, race or ethnic origin, language, religion or belief, disability, age, sexual orientation, social status, education level, and any other personal circumstance in their exercise of human rights, fundamental freedoms, rights and obligations.

Public authorities

The Directorate for Administrative Internal Affairs, Migration and Naturalisation within the interior ministry leads on the governance of integration issues. It is also Slovenia's representative at the European Integration Network. However, the Government established an Office for the Support and Integration of Migrants, Urad vlade za oskrbo in integracijo migrantov, in May 2017 for which a director was elected in September 2017. The office ensures the reception and integration of refugees and provides basic integration support to other migrants. It also coordinates the work of relevant state bodies, NGOs and international organisations in the area of integration.

On the regional and local level, the role of municipalities in the integration of migrants is quite unclear, limited to the provision of housing and school education, without any strategic plan.

Civil society

The Council for the Integration of Foreigners, Svet za vključevanje tujcev, is the national consultative body that makes recommendations on national programmes related to the integration of migrants. It also monitors the implementation of integration measures and participates in the preparation of laws and other regulations that affect migrants.

Among the council's members, there are 3 elected foreign citizens (1 to represent citizens of other EU countriews, 1 for former Yugoslavian states, and 1 for all other countries), and 1 non-governmental organisation, Slovene Philanthropy. However, the council is not active in practice.

Funding

EU funds

Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund (AMIF) in Slovenia

  • Details: The allocation for Slovenia under AMIF is €18,327,477 over the 2014-2020 period. 22% of this amount is allocated to asylum and 35% to legal migration and integration. Slovenian AMIF programme.
  • National managing authority: The national managing authority for AMIF in Slovenia is the interior ministry.

European Social Fund (ESF) in Slovenia

Other EU funds for integration available in Slovenia

ERASMUS+, the EU’s programme to support education, training, youth and sport in Europe

National managing authorities:

European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) to strengthen economic and social cohesion in the EU by correcting regional imbalances

National managing authority: Government Office for Development and European Cohesion Policy

Fund for European Aid to the Most Deprived (FEAD), offering material assistance to the most vulnerable or in need

National managing authority: Ministry of Labour, Family, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities

European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD), supporting the development of rural economies and communities

National managing authority: Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Forestry

European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF)

National managing authority: Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Forestry; EMFF supports coastal communities in diversifying their economies and finances projects that create jobs and improve quality of life along European coasts

Other funds

NA

Other stakeholders and useful resources

 Providing integration services

  • Cene Štupar (CILJ)
  • Andragoški zavod Maribor, Ljudska univerza
  • Ljudska univerza Celje
  • Ljudska univerza Škofja Loka
  • Veris d.o.o.
  • Andragoški zavod
  • Ljudska univerza Velenje
  • Ljudska univerza Ajdovščina
  • Center za izobraževanje in kulturo Trebnje
  • Univerza v Ljubljani Filozofska fakulteta
  • Andragoški zavod Ljubljana

Implementing the integration programme

Campaigning

Publishing statistics

Slovenian Statistical Office

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