Young refugees in Dobova, Slovenia. Photo: Meabh Smith/Trócaire

Migrations to Slovenia

What are migrations? In general, they are movements from one region to another, which is a global occurrence that we all face. The most common reasons of migrations are: education, employment, family, wars (or in general, the desire for a better life).

When Slovenia was still in Yugoslavia (or a part of it), this allowed individuals to move within the country’s borders. Thus, many people moved from other republics, especially Bosna and Hercegovina, to Slovenia. Generally, they worked and still work in jobs with worse/poorer conditions, for example in construction, municipal services, seasonal works or manufacturing. Usually, it is not that we do not have enough workforce, but the problem is that many people are not interested, because they connect such jobs with lower social status.

Probably the nearest town with distinctively detected migration from BIH (Bosna and Hercegovina) is Velenje. It all started after the year 1950, when the demands for coal increased and the need to establish a new town became more and more apparent. They were welcoming and wanted to get as many miners as possible. The statistic shows that in this time around 30 000 people moved into the new developing city.

Many current migrations now are “within” the medical profession. The need for them is huge nowadays, and if we take the situation we are experiencing at the moment, their importance is to be further increased. However, here is the question, why do we need to import doctors from other countries, if we have quite enough of our own?

There are several reasons for this, but the most common are financial income and unsuitable organization of medical stuff and work. If we look at the statistics, the lack of stuff has been present for a long time, but in negligibly small “amounts”. In year 2016, 26 doctors moved abroad, but between years 2017 and 2018 that went up to 36 altogether. This number would not be high if we had more active workers. For that reason, we started to import new stuff, for many that seemed like a good solution, but opinions from Slovenia medical department are different. This is due to the belief that for good working results you need to know about the environment in which you work and the culture of the people around you.

Most people of educated personnel (including health professionals) are migrating from Slovenia to Austria, Germany, Switzerland, the Scandinavian countries, and the UK, while others are moving to Slovenia from Croatia, Serbia, Bosnia and even Macedonia. Everyone is on a search for a better life, but it is not uncommon that there are disagreements between new workers and those who have been working here for a long time. Many of them do not speak our language, so there are minor disagreements there.

Migrations have always been a part of the world, from the distant past up to the present days and will continue to happen in the future. Every human goes into the unknown at some point in search for a better life (a new job, a state without wars – peace, a better education,…). Therefore, we have to acknowledge that we cannot change each other, but we have to be patient, tolerant and accept others and ourselves for who we are.

This video was prepared by Mojca Krajnc & Manca Sverc in the frame of the “The Heart of a City” project funded by ACF Slovenia. Read more about the project.


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Written by Neža Vollmeier