"For the first time, the number of non-EU citizens is higher than those from the EU," Ladislav Csémi, the head of the Office of the Border and Foreigners' Police (ÚHCP) of the Slovak Police Presidium, said in a video published on Facebook.
Out of 120,000 foreigners in Slovakia, 65,381 people residing in the country come from outside the EU. Most of them are Ukrainians, Serbians, Russians and the Vietnamese.
The number of foreigners in Slovakia has doubled within six years, the police reported. Among the new measures, police want to soon introduce an online system to book their appointments. It should be launched "within a few weeks," Csémi said.
High pressure, new measures
The police already introduced several measures in 2018 to deal with the increased number of foreigners, such as shorter decision times about residence permits by redistributing the files between departments around the country.Read also:
"Despite the organisational and legislative measures in recent years, the procedures and capacities are still under huge pressure," Csémi said in a video.
The police had to process more than 47,000 applications for a residence permit in 2018. The figure of the granted residence permits also increases to 15 percent each year, the police said.
Following the reconstructions of departments in Bratislava, Prešov and Michalovce, the Foreigners' Police will continue renovating its departments across Slovakia to create better conditions for police officers as well as for applicants, Csémi promised.
"During the summer season, we will open a new department in Ružomberok," said Csémi on Facebook.
Residence permits for BritsRead also:
It is not clear yet whether the police will be able to fast-track British applications for residence permits before Brexit at this point. In addition, it is not clear whether Brits will need to get their existing residence permits replaced with non-EU ones.
"We are preparing comprehensive information for UK citizens, also in cooperation with the British Embassy," said Csémi.
No further information can be published right now, he added.
12. Feb 2019 at 13:34 | Compiled by Spectator staff