• Rank: 27 out of 38
  • MIPEX Score: 44
  • HEALTH 18

Key Findings

Changes in context

  • Very sharp decline in employment rates and immigration rates since the economic crisis
  • Nearly all immigrants still coming from Western Balkan neighours, with hardly any from developing countries
  • Compared to other countries, very few non-EU citizens in SI have university degrees
  • Public opinion improved on immigrants from 2007-2012, though only 61% think SI is a welcoming country

Key Common Statistics

Country of net migration since:% Non-EU citizens% Foreign-born% Non-EU of foreign-born% Non-EU university-educated % from low or medium-developed (HDI) country
UN 2010 data in 2013Eurostat 2013Eurostat 2013Eurostat 2013Note: Adults aged 18-64, Eurostat 2013Eurostat 2013

Changes in policy

During the economic crisis, many migrant workers were the first ones fired and left the country. By 2010 SI transformed from a country of largely seasonal migration to a country of family migration and settlement. This story is similar to other new labour migration destinations in Southern Europe (IT, PT, ES). During this time, SI cut several targeted employment programmes and scholarships for non-EU citizens, improved general procedures to recognise work-related skills and briefly facilitated family reunion for recent arrivals. The 2008 Decree on Integration of Foreigners has provided for more continuous support for basic language/integration courses and info points/websites. Other than that, SI's new policies since 2007, whether quickly implementing EU law or producing general strategy documents, are unlikely to improve the integration situation on the ground. Migration and integration is rarely a topic of public or policy debate.

Conclusions and recommendations

Slovenia's integration policies still create slightly more obstacles than opportunities for immigrants to fully participate in society. While its policies are more favourable than most Central European countries, the country has fallen in the MIPEX international ranking as other new countries of immigration passed liberal reforms, some major (CZ), some minor (GR, HU, RO). The country's integration policy clearly has its strengths and weaknesses. Non-EU families are likely to reunite in SI through its clear and quick procedure, but without the immediate right to work, which can create economic dependency. The equally clear path to permanent residence has enabled most immigrants after 5 years' stay to enjoy a secure residence and more equal rights in most areas of life. Compared to most other MIPEX countries, SI significantly delays labour market integration and naturalisation for eligible non-EU citizens, which can produce negative side-effects for their long-term integration in several areas of life. Like other countries with rather new and small settled communities, SI has made little effort to open up health services, schools, civic life or anti-discrimination support–four key missing areas in SI's integration policies.

Policy Recommendations

  • Open up access to labour market for family migrants and new measures to decrease overqualification among migrant workers 
  • Increase access and targeted support within the education system for all immigrant pupils, students and adults
  • Guarantee universal healthcare for all migrants and SI citizens and increase support measures for migrant patients
  • Enable dual citizenship and speed up naturalisation for migrants meeting the requirements after 5-7 years
  • Increase reporting rates of discrimination cases and provide adequate victim support system


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Labour Market Mobility

Key Findings

SI, with some of Europe's longest delays for labour market access, services, benefits and trainings, keeps many immigrant women inactive and permanently wastes the skills of educated residents

Potential Beneficiaries

How many immigrants could be employed?

Just 1/3 of working-age non-EU citizens are not in employment, education and training in SI as well as in most European countries, according to 2011/2 estimates. Internationally, this is less common among men (1/4) than women (40%). In SI, the difference is 10% for men and 60% for women. This discrepancy reflects the highly gendered immigration flows in SI, with 2/3 of newcomer men arriving as migrant workers and 3/4 of newcomer women arriving as family members.

Policy Indicators

Do immigrants have equal rights and opportunities to access jobs and improve their skills?

Labour market mobility policies may be slightly unfavourable for labour migrants and their families. SI's 1st economic migration strategy (2010-2020) stated the strengths and weaknesses in the current approach. Non-EU workers and SI citizens should enjoy equal working conditions and discrimination protections. They can be informed about their rights and access procedures to validate their foreign skills, thanks to minor improvements since 2009 (+5 points). However, all non-EU workers do not enjoy targeted support or the same labour market access, benefits, grants or training. Non-EU citizens enjoy more equal labour market access and rights in most other countries, with SI only ranking 33rd out of 38 on par with IE and PL and above only CY, SK, TU.

Dimension 1: Access to labour market

  • Non-EU newcomers are limited in accessing or changing jobs, with equal access to non-regulated private jobs only granted to certain categories (see box and greater access in 29 other MIPEX countries)
  • Unlike leading new countries of labour migration (GR, IT, PL, PT, ES), non-EU citizens with the right to work are still denied access to the public sector (as in 9 others countries, recently IT required by EU to open to permanent residents) and certain regulated professions (as in hardly any countries)

Dimension 2: Access to general support

  • Many temporary non-EU residents cannot equally access several general measures used by national and EU citizens to improve their jobs and skills
  • Non-EU workers face additional obstacles to access training & higher education, with study grants limited in 2013 to only long-term residents (see instead e.g. GR, IT, LV, PT, SK, ES)
  • Non-EU citizens not guaranteed same right as EU citizens to recognition of academic/professional qualifications (see 9 European countries, e.g. CY, EE, DE, NL, UK)
  • Procedure improved to validate professional skills, with alternatives in cases of missing documentation, but only for humanitarian migrants

Dimension 3: Targeted support

  • Weak targeted measures targeting skills/recognition gaps in SI as in 14 other countries (see instead more new targeted policies in AT, BE, FR, DE, JP, KR, PT) 
  • Following crisis, SI cut its few targeted support measures as part of austerity/migration cuts (as in only IE, NL, UK) 
  • Besides ad hoc projects, non-EU citizens only benefit from information about their general rights as workers in order to prevent their exploitation (a basic policy measure available in most countries)

Dimension 4: Workers' rights

  • Non-EU workers' rights include equal working conditions (as in 29 countries), but do not extend to equal access to social benefits for all (as in only half the other European countries, most of which have few migrant workers, see instead full access in FR, DE, most of Southern Europe)
  • Non-EU workers can only become unemployed with a 3-year or permanent permit

Policy Box

In June 2009, against the backdrop of the economic crisis, the government activated Article 5(7) of the Aliens Act for the first time by implementing, in addition to its usual quotas, the temporary Decree on restrictions and prohibition of employment and work of aliens. Specifically, this measure prohibits seasonal employment of aliens in all areas except farming and forestry, as well as employment from certain regions. The Decree was amended twice in 2010 and these temporary measures have been prolonged until the end of 2010. The 2011 Amendments to the Employment and Work of Aliens Act did little to improve access for recently arrived non-EU residents and their families. Instead, the amendments abolished seasonal work in several sectors (down from 6125 in 2008 to ≈360 per year from 2010-2013) and implemented the EU Blue Card for high-skilled (only 12 issued in 2012/3). Under the law, labour market access is facilitated for workers with 3-year work permits, permanent residents and family, humanitarian migrants, workers with SI-descent and SI-trained/educated workers after 20 months.

Real beneficiaries

Are immigrants acquiring new skills?

Hardly any non-EU citizen adults have recently received adult education or training, only an estimated 4% in SI compared to 17% on average in European countries in the 2011/2 period. Non-EU adults were least likely to access training in SI and other Central and Southeast European countries (CY, HU, IT, EE, GR, LV), though these lifelong learning rates were more average in other new destination countrie, such as CZ, LT, PL, PT, ES. Furthermore across Europe, most unemployed non-EU citizens must find a new job without the support of unemployment benefits. Though data is missing on SI, access to unemployment benefits was comparatively low (<25%) in similar countries as above (CY, EE, HR, LV, IT).

Contextual factors

What other factors explain whether immigrants find skilled and well-paid jobs?

  • Average employment rates for EU but negative growth since 2010 in Southern Europe
  • Highly rigid employment protection legislation in SI and other Southern European countries 
  • Most newcomer men with jobs through temporary work permits but newcomer women through family reunion with limited labour market access
  • Large numbers coming with some exposure to the language prior to migration

Outcome indicators

Are immigrants employed in qualified and well-paid jobs?

In SI, many long-settled non-EU-born (10+ years' stay) are as, if not more, likely to work than non-immigrants, though the gaps are greater for the high-educated. Low-educated non-EU-born men and women are actually more likely to work than low-educated SI-born people. Employment rates are also roughly the same for non-EU-born and SI-born high-educated women. The problems emerge for non-EU-born men with university degrees, who are 25% less likely to work than SI-born high-educated men. Moreover, high-educated non-EU men and women are more often in worse jobs below their qualifications, with over-qualification rates 50% higher for women and twice as high for men. SI's current labour market access and integration policies may be wasting immigrants' skills and full potential.

Family Reunion

Key Findings

Thanks to SI's respect for family life in law and in practice, most sponsors with a regular basic income can easily reunite with their family, though their ability to work is still limited, unlike in most other countries

Potential Beneficiaries

How many immigrants are potentially living in transnational couples?

Transnational couples are one of the main potential beneficiaries for family reunion, but they are rarely identified through statistics and assisted to reunite. According to 2011/2 estimates, 12% of non-EU citizen adults were not living with their spouse or partner, a much higher level of "living apart together" than for national citizens. These non-EU citizens are likely living in internationally separated couples and thus potential sponsors for family reunion. This rate is one of the highest in the 17 European countries with data (on average 5-7%).

Policy Indicators

How easily can immigrants reunite with family?

Non-EU citizens enjoy favourable conditions to secure family life as a starting point for integration, with the 3rd most favourable policies among MIPEX countries, alongside CA, ES, PT, SE and not far from IT and HR. Non-EU families can live together in the same types of families and under the same conditions as SI families. Access for newcomers was facilitated in 2011 (+5 points) but then delayed again in 2014 (-4 points). The other major weakness in the procedure is the limited labour market access for the adult family of temporary residents, going against international reform trends. These restrictions not only delay their labour market integration, but make them even more dependent on their 'breadwinner' sponsor.

Dimension 1: Eligibility

  • 7th most favourable eligibility rules for sponsors and families (similar to ES/IT,PT)
  • Only from 2011-2014 could all temporary residents in SI (as in 17 MIPEX countries) apply immediately (also in 14 countries, e.g. HR, HU)
  • Now reunion delayed again for 1-year's stay and permit (as in only 10 countries)
  • They can join dependent adult children/relatives with no extra requirements (as in 6 other countries)
  • 2011 Aliens Act treats registered partners, long-term partners and spouses equally for family reunion, as in near-majority of countries

Dimension 2: Conditions

  • Out of respect for family life, non-EU families must meet minimum conditions required and needed for families to live in SI (similar in HR, PT, ES)
  • Sponsors must pay a basic fee and prove that they have any basic legal source of income, health insurance and a clean criminal record, though conditions differ for beneficiaries of international protection 

Dimension 3: Security of status

  • The procedure should not be too discretionary or uncertain for families (similar to DE and ES/IT/PT)
  • Families should experience a short and law-based procedure
  • Their status is not necessary as secure as their sponsor's
  • They can lose their permit if original conditions no longer apply but personal circumstances are considered

Dimension 4: Rights associated

  • All reunited families enjoy the same rights to settle and participate as their sponsor, with the major exception of the labour market (unlike 25 MIPEX countries e.g. recently AT, GR, ES and recommended in guidance by European Commission)
  • A clear path to autonomous residence is offered to spouses/children, including for most vulnerable groups (as in just 10 other countries, e.g. IT, ES)

Real beneficiaries

Are families reuniting?

2987 family members reunited with a non-EU sponsor in SI in 2013. These numbers have remained stable in recent years between 2000-3000 since 2009. Around 2/3 are women/girls. The vast majority come from neighbouring Western Balkan countries, reflecting SI's major countries of origin. 

Contextual factors

What other factors explain whether immigrants reunite with family?

  • Many newcomers recently settling down with family 
  • Most with eligible/permanent permits to sponsor
  • Many from developed/neighbouring countries and thus less likely to reunite in SI

Outcome indicators

How often do immigrants reunite with family?

Non-EU families are slightly more likely to reunite in SI than in the average country in Europe but similar to others in Central Europe (e.g, BG, CZ, HU, SK). Since 2011, around 3-4 have been arriving every year for every 100 non-EU citizens in the country. Family reunion seems more common for immigrants from distant countries (e.g. IQ, RU, US) than for neighbours (e.g. BH, RS). SI's policies are a major factor  influencing the family reunion rate, as most have the right in law and in practice to reunite with their family if they can meet the general basic conditions for family life in SI. In contrast, families are much less likely to reunite in countries with restrictive, selective and discretionary policies, such as AT and DE. 


Key Findings

Immigrant pupils are an important minority in SI schools, which receive little support to address their specific skills and needs

Potential Beneficiaries

How many pupils have immigrant parents?

A large number of pupils and parents were schooled outside SI (similar to HR but much higher than most in Central Europe). This data comes from the OECD's 2012 PISA study. 2.2% of pupils aged 15 were born outside SI, while another 6.5% have parents born abroad. While these immigrant pupils were often schooled in similar neighouring school systems, only an estimated 42% speak Slovene at home (similar language needs in CY, CZ, IT, CH). In total, an estimated 4.6% of all pupils in SI are immigrant pupils who speak a foreign language at home.

Policy Indicators

Is the education system responsive to the needs of the children of immigrants?

The SI school system has been slow to respond to the specific needs and opportunities that all immigrant pupils bring to the classroom. Its targeted policies are slightly weak, scoring only 26/100 and ranking 26th out of 38. SI does as much as other new destination countries, some also with growing needs and limited responses (CY, IE, IT) but others with smaller immigrant populations and needs (PL, SK).

Dimension 1: Access

  • All migrant pupils have basic right and support to access pre-primary and compulsory school in SI, as in most MIPEX countries
  • No expert centre to assess newcomer pupils and orient their parents (see FR, LU)
  • Extra support to learn the language starting in pre-primary, but little for late-comers heading to higher education (see also AT, EE, GR, Nordics)
  • The costs are much greater for non-EU pupils to advance on to a higher degree in SI if their country of origin has not signed an agreement on equal access to vocational and university education (greater access in 15 other countries, e.g. FR, GR, NL, ES)

Dimension 2: Targeting needs

  • Weak support for SI schools to address immigrant pupils' specific needs, much weaker than in most countries in MIPEX (34th out of 38) or in Central Europe (see instead AT, CZ, EE, IT, RO)
  • New teachers are supposed to be trained to work with immigrant pupils and help learn basic Slovene
  • The quality standards are low and schools receive little guidance or other financial and technical support (stronger support in 12 other countries)

Dimension 3: New opportunities

  • SI hardly seizing the opportunities for integration through school, a weakness across Europe, esp. Central Europe
  • All pupils can learn immigrants' languages as one of their foreign languages, but depending on agreements with countries of origin (see other practices in 21 MIPEX countries)
  • Schools and migrant families receive little support to further promote social integration

Dimension 4: Intercultural education

  • Few actions taken to implement intercultural education in schools in SI and in most Central European countries
  • Intercultural education appears as an official aim in the curriculum, as in nearly all countries
  • Ad hoc funding and some guidance and trainings on how to adapt the curricula

Real beneficiaries

Are pupils with limited literacy getting remedial courses?

Extra after-school literacy courses seem to barely exist in SI for 15-year-olds with low-literacy scores (around 14% for both immigrants and non-immigrants). This is the lowest level of uptake of after-school literacy courses among all MIPEX countries (on average 40% for native-born and 50% for foreign pupils with limited literacy). Further investigation is required, as this one indicator is a potentially worrying sign for the uptake of targeted support for the important number of immigrant pupils who do not speak Slovene at home.

Contextual factors

What other factors explain whether the children of immigrants excel at school?

  • Vast majority of immigrant pupils with low-educated mothers are concentrated in disadvantaged schools
  • 56% come from families that do not speak Slovene at home 
  • Large share (1/3) of foreign-born pupils arrive after age 12
  • Important % of GDP spent on education
  • Relatively high student-teacher ratios & shorter period of compulsory education

Outcome indicators

How well are the children of immigrants achieving at school?

Among 15-year-olds with low-educated mothers in SI, around 1/3 of non-immigrant pupils and half of foreign-born pupils lack the basic math skills to succeed in today's society, according to the 2012 OECD PISA study. That means foreign-born pupils are 50% more likely to be math low-achievers. While significant progress is made from the 1st to the 2nd generation, 2nd generation pupils are still 25% more likely to be math low-achievers than non-immigrants. This pattern is similar across Europe, although parity is achieved or surpassed in a few countries. While SI's targeted policies are under-developed, the general quality and structure of its education system also likely impact on these outcomes for migrant and other disadvantaged pupils.


Key Findings

More obstacles and fewer facilities to integrate newcomers into health system in SI & HR than elsewhere

Policy Indicators

Is the health system responsive to immigrants' needs?

SI does almost nothing to integrate and orient newcomer patients into the health system and to address any of their specific health needs. Its targeted health policies are the 2nd weakest of all 38 MIPEX countries, alongside only HR and LV and far below average even for Central Europe. Health services are only made accessible and responsive to newcomer patients by providing information on their legal entitlements and, if they're lucky, an interpreter. Even these rather favourable legal entitlements can be blocked in practice by providers making discretionary decisions and requests for documentation. Research on these issues for patients has not led to action by policymakers or providers.

Click here to learn more about how MIPEX health was developed with IOM and EU’s COST/ADAPT network through ‘Equi-Health’ project and co-funded by European Commission’s DG SANTE. 

Dimension 1: Entitlements

  • Entitlements undermined more in SI than in most countries
  • Equal healthcare coverage is covered for temporary residents under certain conditions and for permanent residents 
  • Apart from some special exemptions, asylum seekers are only entitled to "urgent medical care" and undocumented migrants to "emergency care"
  • Both groups have access to non-urgent care only if they live in reception or detention centres.  However, all groups of migrants encounter serious barriers to exercising these rights

Dimension 2: Access policies

  • Newcomer patients facing problems with access can turn to few policies for help.  Weak policies discourage access in SI & HR more than in all MIPEX countries
  • Ad hoc multilingual projects and brochures are published on migrants' legal entitlements 
  • Nothing more on health education, promotion or intercultural mediators
  • One of few countries demanding that providers report undocumented migrants and pay for treating 'non-urgent cases', which pressures them to choose not to treat migrants (see instead tolerant policies CZ, DK, FR, IT, NO, PT, ES)

Dimension 3: Responsive services

  • Services non-responsive to migrants' specific needs, weakest of several Central and Southern European countries (see instead AT, CZ, HU, IT, MT, PT, ES)
  • Though patients have the right to be informed and not discriminated against, only a few health services respond with informal untrained interpreters for a few languages
  • Providers do little else to respond to migrants' specific health needs, which are often (mis)perceived as little different from Sl citizens

Dimension 4: Mechanisms for change

  • Migrant patients are not a priority in health policy and health is not a priority in integration policy
  • Migrant health stakeholders are not consulted and policymakers assume that the health system serves all patients equally 
  • While systematic data and research is missing, research has pointed to the problems of migrant patients in the system

Political Participation

Key Findings

Voting rights is likely essential but alone not sufficient to promote immigrants' political participation

Potential Beneficiaries

Who are disenfranchised from voting?

Non-EU adults with temporary permits are disenfranchised in elections. As an approximation, temporary residents make up 37% of all SI's non-EU citizens (adults and children). 

Policy Indicators

Do immigrants have comparable rights and opportunities to participate in political life?

While permanent residents can vote in local elections, their small numbers within the electorate give them a very small voice in public debate. Voting rights are the beginnings of a policy that must also address other areas of democratic life. Under SI's current incoherent approach to political participation, immigrants are able to vote for local candidates, but not to be consulted by them when they become elected officials. They do not have the right to join their political parties or to run as local candidates themselves. SI can follow in the footsteps of other new immigration countries active on political inclusion (e.g. IE, KR, PT).

Dimension 1: Electoral rights

  • All permanent residents have the right to vote in local elections since 2002, which makes SI a leader in Central Europe (see also EE, HU, LT, SK and 17 other MIPEX countries outside the region)
  • Non-EU citizens cannot yet to stand as candidates in elections (see instead 14 countries, e.g. LT, SK, CH)

Dimension 2: Political liberties

  • Only in Central Europe can non-EU citizens not join political parties
  • SI parties face sanctions if they give non-EU citizens any other role than as honorary members 
  • The only other option is for non-EU citizens to form or join political associations 

Dimension 3: Consultative bodies

  • Immigrants' associations and leaders have not been formally consulted on the policies affecting them daily, neither at local nor national level
  • 3 immigrant leaders were allowed (in March 2015) to join the Council for the Integration of Aliens, which was founded in 2008 
  • This choice will only create a meaningful opportunity for dialogue if these leaders are (s)elected through an open process, representing men and women with diverse origins and given an equal role as co-chairs to set the agenda (see national examples in DK, FI, LU, PT, ES)
  • Ljubljana and 15 other EU's capitals lack a local immigrant consultative body (see CZ, FR, DE, IE, LU, PT)

Dimension 4: Implementation policies

  • Ad hoc information campaigns on political rights
  • Some national funding available for immigrant organisations

Real beneficiaries

How many non-EU immigrants are eligible to vote?

52575 permanent residents are old enough to vote in local elections, according to 2014 national statistics. These permanent residents represent 3% of the electorate. These voters reflect the general composition of SI's immigration population, mostly from other Western Balkan countries. No data is available on their turnout in elections.

Contextual factors

What other factors explain whether immigrants become politically active?

  • Most from developed countries with similar levels of civic engagement as SI
  • Generally low levels of civic engagement in SI
  • Most long-settled in SI

Outcome indicators

Are immigrants participating in political life?

The gaps in SI's political participation and naturalisation policies are likely partly responsible for non-EU immigrants' lower levels of political participation. Data collected over the 2000s (European Social Survey) suggests that long-settled non-EU-born adults (10+ years' stay) are a third likely to participate politically than the SI-born, despite the many similarities between the two. Around 16% of the non-EU-born reported recently taking part in a political party, association, petition, demonstration or contacting a politician, compared to around 24% for the SI-born (35%). This gap still emerges when comparing high-educated non-EU and SI-born.

Permanent Residence

Key Findings

After 5 years in SI, most non-EU immigrants are able to benefit from the security of permanent residence and more equal opportunities to participate and invest in their integration

Potential Beneficiaries

Who can become long-term residents?

An estimated 71% of non-EU citizens have lived in SI the required 5+ years to be permanent residents, according to 2011/2 data. This is a similar share as on average in Europe. These estimates suggest that more men (80%) are long-settled, as the primary labour migrant, than are women (60%) who tend to follow later as reuniting family migrants.

Policy Indicators

How easily can immigrants become long-term residents?

Like the average European country, SI provides eligible temporary residents with basic and clear conditions to become permanent residents and benefit from more equal rights.

Dimension 1: Eligibility

  • A few immigrants may be ineligible due to their permit (the list of ineligible permits is shorter the majority of other countries)
  • Long-term residence can now be extended to beneficiaries of international protection, thanks to EU law
  • Former students can only count half of their time studying towards the 5-year requirement (see instead DK, JP, KR, SE, CH, TU)

Dimension 2: Conditions

  • Once eligible, immigrants must pay a basic fee and prove they meet the general basic minimum income level, as SI sets equitable conditions for permanent residence as for family reunion 
  • Conditions are similar to several Western European countries, EE, HU, ES

Dimension 3: Security of status

  • Immigrants becoming permanent residents are more secure than in other Central European countries (see also BE, FR, IT, PT, ES)
  • The procedure should be short, objective and suject to judicial review
  • Applicants can acquire a status allowing for longer periods of circulation to other countries
  • Minors cannot be expelled and some personal circumstances are considered in cases of withdrawal

Dimension 4: Rights Associated

  • Permanent residents have much better opportunities to integrate with equal rights to access employment, training and social security as in nearly all countries
  • They may face gaps in the law, such as access to social housing reserved for SI & EU nationals (Article 87, Housing Act)

Real beneficiaries

How many immigrants are long-term residents?

53,570 permanent residents were living in SI in 2013. 85% were EU long-term residents with the right to freely move and reside in other EU countries under certain conditions. Another 7,786 held national permanent residence permits.

Contextual factors

What other factors explain whether immigrants become long-term residents?

  • Since drop in seasonal migration, very few immigrants arrive with short-term ineligible permits 
  • Since economic crisis most in SI are long-settled
  • Important option to secure residence for long-settled residents and 2nd generation in countries with limited naturalisation opportunities

Outcome indicators

How often do immigrants become long-term residents?

63% of non-EU citizens in SI are EU or national permanent residents, meaning that most settled immigrants (5+ years' stay) benefit from a security of residence and comparable rights to SI/EU citizens. This share of permanent residents is above-average in Europe and similar to a few other new countries of immigration (CZ, SK, IT, ES). Access to permanent residence does not appear to be particular problem for specific nationality, gender or age groups, since permanent residents generally reflect SI's overall immigrant population (similar in CZ, IT, ES). This share of permanent residents strongly reflects both SI's permanent residence and to citizenship policies. Most temporary residents are eligible and able to apply through the straightforward procedure. However, many permanent residents may remain stuck on this status for years as 'second-class citizens' because of the long and limiting path to become a SI citizen, which emerges as a problem in AT, IT, ES, CH and most Central European countries.

Access to Nationality

Key Findings

Naturalisation delayed by long path to citizenship and resistance to dual nationality

Potential Beneficiaries

Who can become a citizen?

According to 2011/2 estimates, only one third of non-EU citizens in SI are able to naturalise as first generation immigrants living there for 10+ years. In SI, another sizeable eligible group (12%) are second generation born and raised in SI, but still without its citizenship.

Policy Indicators

How easily can immigrants become citizens?

Like most Central European countries, SI provides ordinary immigrants with a long path to citizenship and without dual nationality, unlike the more established and reforming countries of immigration (e.g. see CZ, FI, LU, PL, SE). 

Dimension 1: Eligibility

  • Ordinary immigrants in SI must wait through one of the longest and least flexible residence requirements in Europe (10 years, with absences of ≤60 days/year)
  • The wait for spouses (3 years' marriage) is more similar to provisions across Europe
  • SI-born or -raised children have facilitated naturalisation, but no explicit right to citizenship at or after birth (see 18 other countries, i.e. IT, recently CZ, DK, LU, PT) 

Dimension 2: Conditions

  • The requirements to become Slovenian are slightly more favourable
  • Learning the language is already sufficient proof of integration
  • Some applicants get enough free courses and study guide to attain the reasonable A2-level fluency, with exemptions for the Slovene-educated and vulnerable groups
  • Still, the income and criminal record requirements can be quite demanding

Dimension 3: Security of status

  • The procedure to become Slovene should be relatively objective and open for review
  • This new citizenship can be lost on wide grounds with some time limits, consideration of statelessness and full legal protections

Dimension 4: Dual nationality

  • SI is one of the small and shrinking number of countries accepting dual nationality as only an exception and not a role
  • Like the few other countries in its situation, SI finds dual nationality hard to avoid (e.g. minors, refugees, impossibilities, delays)
  • Most other countries are finding it easier to regulate and unrelated to immigrant integration (25 MIPEX countries, recently CZ, DK, LU, PL)

Real beneficiaries

How many immigrants are becoming citizens?

Only 1282 non-EU citizens became Slovene citizens in 2012. The number of naturalisations have remained stable since 2007. 

Contextual factors

What other factors explain why non-EU immigrants become citizens?

  • Vast majority are permanent residents and family migrants likely to stay
  • Most from developed countries and thus less likely to naturalise
  • Only 1/3 from countries allowing dual nationality

Outcome indicators

How often do immigrants become citizens?

Around 75% of non-EU-born adults in Slovenia have Slovene citizenship. However among newcomers, non-EU citizen men and women have been less likely to naturalise in Slovenia than on average in Europe. Their naturalisation rates have been low for several years (e.g. in 2012, 1.6 naturalisations per 100 non-EU residents), on par with restrictive countries such as AT, CY, DK, GR and IT. These rates are significantly higher for non-EU women and minors than for men or adults in Slovenia compared to other European countries. The long path to citizenship for ordinary immigrants and children are partly responsible for these poor naturalisation outcomes.


Key Findings

Time for enforcement: As in most countries, SI's anti-discrimination laws are slightly favourable on the books but slightly weaker in practice, leading to few cases and resolved complaints. The equality body is a one-person show and victims are left alone in court, without the body or NGOs able to be there in their support or on their behalf

Potential Beneficiaries

Who said they experienced racial/ethnic or religious discrimination last year?

An estimated 2% of people in SI felt that they had been discriminated against or harassed in the previous year because of their race, ethnicity or religion, according to 2012 Eurobarometer data. 

Policy Indicators

Is everyone effectively protected from racial/ethnic, religious, and nationality discrimination in all areas of life?

SI's slightly favourable laws cover most forms of racial, ethnic, religious and nationality discrimination, going beyond the minimums in EU law. These broad laws may be poorly enforced because potential victims must bring forward their case on their own, with limited help in court from NGOs or the equality body.

Dimension 1: Definitions

  • Wide range of actors cannot commit various forms of racial, ethnic, religious or nationality discrimination
  • Gaps emerge when they discriminate against someone based on their 'assumed' characteristics (see stronger legislation in half the MIPEX countries) or based on multiple groups (see 8 countries)

Dimension 2: Fields of application

  • These forms of discrimination are prohibited in all areas of life, as in 15 other MIPEX countries

Dimension 3: Enforcement mechanisms

  • Mechanisms only slightly favourable for enforcing the law in SI and most other MIPEX countries
  • Potential victims can access hey all legal proceedings with aid, wide sanctions and sharing of the burden of proof
  • Little support for victims in court with no class actions or actio popularis (unlike in 21 countries, including BG, GR, PT, SK) or NGOs acting in support or on their behalf (16 countries)
  • Evidence from situation testing and statistics not yet a standard use in court cases (see 13 countries)  

Dimension 4: Equality policies

  • SI's Advocate of the Principle of Equality is one of the weakest equality bodies in Europe, without the mandate, independence and resources they need to help victims
  • No equality body with legal standing in court, power to issue binding decisions or lead investigations (see 20 stronger bodies, e.g. BG, HU, IE, NL, PT, RO)
  • SI state is obliged to promote and coordinate equality through social dialogue and in its daily work

Real beneficiaries

How many racial/ethnic and religious discrimination complaints were made to equality bodies?

11 complaints about racial/ethnic and religious discrimination were actually resolved in 2011 through the quasi-judicial powers of SI's Advocate of the Principle of Equality. The number of resolved cases is so low because the Advocate has only one staff member. Statistics are neither comprehensive nor reliable, as these cases are recorded, but not specifically as discrimination cases. A 2012 government questionnaire reported the number of cases on all grounds: 43 court cases (2006-2011), 61 labour inspectorate cases (2006-2010) and 168 cases by the Human Rights Ombudsman (2010-2012). Few of these case concern racial or ethnic discrimination (e.g. 17 Human Rights Ombudsman cases in 2012, most launched by Roma) though the grounds of each case are not mentioned.

Contextual factors

What other factors explain whether potential victims report discrimination cases

  • Around 50% of people in SI say that they know their rights as victims, which is a relatively high share in Europe
  • Relatively low levels of trust in police and justice system

Outcome indicators

How many complaints were made last year for every person who said they experienced racial/ethnic and religious discrimination?

In SI, few complaints are made compared to the potential number of people reportly experiencing incidents of racial/ethnic or religious discrimination. Hardly any complaints seem to be made across Europe, especially Central European countries, as anti-discrimination laws and equality bodies are often new, weak and/or poorly resourced.