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New law means more benefits for expatriate Slovaks

SLOVAK expatriates will get more state aid for education and culture, according to a draft bil approved by the cabinet, the SITA news agency reported.

Under the new legislation, which replaces the legislation from 1997, Slovak expatriates would also be given certificates instead of identity cards for "foreign" Slovaks. Certificate holders will gain access to a number of benefits.

The General Secretariat for Foreign Slovaks in the Government Office will be in charge of the policy.

Another important change is with regard to the law on gaining Slovak citizenship. Applicants will now need to have permanent residence in Slovakia for two, not five years.

Vilma Privarová, the government's plenipotentiary for foreign Slovaks, said she is prepared to push for further benefits for Slovak expats.

There will also be a system of grants for people of Slovak origin living outside Slovakia; however, a separate budget is not considered for the general secretariat.

In 2005, Sk12 million (€306,000) will be distributed among projects for foreign Slovaks, Sk7 million (€179,000) will go through the House of Foreign Slovaks exclusively to support culture.

There are currently estimated to be over 2 million Slovaks or people of Slovak origin living abroad.

Compiled by Beata Balogová from press reports
The Slovak Spectator cannot vouch for the accuracy of the information presented in its Flash News postings.

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