Ján Liďák – Radoslav Štefančík

Reflections on the Gap Hypothesis in the Immigration Policy of the Slovak Republic

(Uvažovanie o gap hypotéze v slovenskej imigračnej politike)

Politické vedy, Volume 23, Number 4/2020, pages 8-27



Recommended form for quotation of the article / Odporúčaná forma citácie článku:

Ján Liďák – Radoslav Štefančík. 2020. Reflections on the Gap Hypothesis in the Immigration Policy of the Slovak Republic. In Politické Vedy. [online]. Vol. 23, No. 4, 2020. ISSN 1335 – 2741, pp. 8-27. Available at: DOI:


The aim of the article is to explain why, despite the negative attitude of the Slovak political elite to international migration and the stated interest in restrictive migration policy, the number of migrants with the permission to stay in Slovakia is increasing from year to year. We explain this phenomenon by using the gap hypothesis, which describes the discrepancy between the goal of achieving a reduction in the number of foreign citizens through a restrictive immigration policy and between the real, growing number of migrants with a residence permission. That contradiction generally occurs because of the economic interests of employers, which may be at risk of labour shortages. However, this discrepancy may also occur due to the negative demographic trend and the interest of the state to create favourable conditions for the reproduction of the population. Thus, in the text we draw attention to the fact that although political actors articulate their negative relationship to migration, the existing migration policy shows liberal features. In this paper, we analyse the Slovak immigration policy. We believe that these are primarily the economic interests of large employers under the pressure of Slovak institutions, which are responsible for immigration policy making. We conclude that some political elites use the anti-migration appeal as a means of mobilizing voters. From the analysis of immigration policy, however, we identify a positive approach to tackling labour shortages in some sectors of the national economy, as well as the demographic deficit, by removing barriers to the employment of foreigners.

Key words: Slovakia, Gap Hypothesis, Demography, Economics, Migration, Public Policy, Immigration Policy.

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