This research report was published in December 2021 by the Centre for the Research of Ethnicity and Culture and focuses on the experiences of migrants living and integrating in Slovakia, from their own perspective. The research was designed with the objective of making migrants´ voices heard in both policy making processes and public discussion on migration and integration, wherein they are often absent.
The research methodology consists of both qualitative and quantitative parts. Quantitatively, a questionnaire was distributed by Focus Agency in June 2021 to 312 respondents. The qualitative research involved 50 interviewees from 23 countries, and was conducted between June and September 2021. In both parts, the questionnaire covered several dimensions: perception of Slovakia regarding growing cultural diversity, importance of cultural identity, social life in Slovakia, mutual interconnections with majority population in Slovakia, effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, perception of the disadvantaged position of migrants in Slovakia, familiarity with institutions related to integration and experience with integration services.
Key research findings include:
- 60% of those interviewed consider Slovakia to be insufficiently prepared for the promotion of cultural diversity;
- feelings of acceptance were expressed by those foreigners who had good, stable relations with their neighbours and colleagues;
- language proficiency and skin colour are important factors affecting the social acceptance of migrants;
- migrants tend to find the Slovak majority population introverted, making the development of relationships with individuals difficult;
- while migrants usually work in environments dominated by native Slovaks, they primarily socialise with other foreigners.
Preserving their own cultural identity was found to be important for foreigners: 85% of those interviewed said that maintaining customs and traditions is very important to them, and 65% said it is important to them that they are able to practise their religion. The research also found that foreigners try to respect rules and do not question the customs and traditions in Slovakia: they generally expressed the belief that to be part of society they need to find a balance between the place they came from and the culture they have immigrated to.
Despite this, many foreigners feel that the integration conditions in Slovakia do not allow them to participate in society fully. They felt secondary compared with the majority population (28.8% of respondents). Several respondents said they feel certainly or partially disadvantaged, especially in the field of work (37.1%), in communications with authorities (35%), in the field of health care (26.6%), and in the area of legalisation of residence (25.6%).
- Gallová Kriglerová Elena, Holka Chudžíková Alena, Kadlečíková Jana and Píšová Michaela
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