Foreigners’ Police have made huge improvements that people usually don’t see

IOM’s Migration Information Centre, which also offers free Slovak language courses to migrants, celebrates 15 years.

(Source: Sme - Jozef Jakubco)

When the International Organization for Migration Office (IOM) opened its Migration Information Centre in Slovakia in 2006, the country was home to some 32,000 foreigners. The word migrant practically did not exist in the vocabulary of common people nor politicians, and it was hard to gauge the attitudes the citizens of Slovakia had towards migrants back then.

SkryťRemove ad
Article continues after video advertisement
SkryťRemove ad
Article continues after video advertisement

This all changed in 2015.

“There is a saying that everyone is an expert on hockey in Slovakia,” Zuzana Vatráľová, the head of IOM, told The Slovak Spectator. “I have been saying since 2015 that everyone is also an expert on migration here.”

In that year, hundreds of thousands of people fled to Europe to escape war and persecution, an event that has become known as the refugee crisis.

Vatráľová, who has been with IOM since 2003, helped spearhead the efforts to create MIC. At the time, she imagined it as a four-year-long project that would eventually be taken over by the state.

But MIC, which remains one of IOM’s most successful and longest-running projects, celebrated its 15th anniversary this year amidst a global pandemic that has highlighted the need for such a centre in Slovakia.

“We never would have dared think that we would survive for so long,” said Vatráľová.

Risk and reward

The rest of this article is premium content at
Subscribe now for full access

I already have subscription - Sign in

Subscription provides you with:
  • Immediate access to all locked articles (premium content) on
  • Special weekly news summary + an audio recording with a weekly news summary to listen to at your convenience (received on a weekly basis directly to your e-mail)
  • PDF version of the latest issue of our newspaper, The Slovak Spectator, emailed directly to you
  • Access to all premium content on and

Top stories

News digest: Oligarch charged, then discharged, now charged again

President Čaputová to visit Pope Francis. Another UNESCO entry for Slovakia. Learn more in today's digest.

11 h
More than 44,000 sick cases reported.

A surge of sick children and even pneumonia in Slovakia. Two pandemic years to blame

We will be back to normal, but not just yet, paediatrician says.

16 h

Drones will be banned in some places around Slovakia

A fine of up to €500 to be imposed for an offense.

16 h
SkryťClose ad