Work in Slovakia | Everything you need to know
Slovakia is well known for its breathtaking landscapes and historical monuments but not that many talks about their constantly growing market-driven economy. With low cost of accommodation and everyday expenses, Slovakia gives a good opportunity for career development accompanied by great and affordable social life.
To see what your experience as an expat in Slovakia can look like, read this article, we did our best so it will solve most of your doubts, but also so you will find out some interesting, funny and odd for internationals aspects.
The Slovak Republic is a country in the center of Europe. It has 5.5 minion inhabitants and an area of 49,034 km², the official language is Slovak. The currency is Euro (€) and Slovakia adopted it in 2009. With a capital city in Bratislava and a continental climate which includes four separate seasons with warm summers and very cold winters, Slovakia has a lot to offer for expats wanting to start living and working abroad.
6 Curiosities about Slovakia
- About 80% of the whole country lies above 800 meters above sea level so Slovakia can boast about beautiful mountains with the highest mountain chain is the Carpathians.
- Borovička is their national drink similar to gin, flavoured with juniper berries.
- Slogan of Slovakia is “Travel in Slovakia – good idea”, simple but meaningful.
- It’s a great destination for those who like to ski! Because of its geographical location there are plenty of slopes available all around the country and prices are low.
- Slovakia has eight UNESCO world heritage sites, and one of them is a charming small town, being one of the 30 most beautiful towns in Europe!
- Slovakia has 180 castles and 425 châteaux making it the country with the world’s highest number of castles and châteaux
Culture in Slovakia
Slovakia counts with a rich, picturesque and dynamic culture, with festivals in each region with music, dances, art and stories and myths still circulating, they have kept their roots and their traditions alive since before Christianism. The rich folklore of Slovakia has originated ages ago from the fear of the unknown, the climate changes and the bond with nature mainly, but there are also references to birth and Live, all of this to ask for health, happiness and beauty. With the arrival of Christianity, new customs and traditions were born adding references to Jesus Christ, The 3 wise men and easter.
Slovaks are very open to foreigners, they take it as a compliment that you want to visit their country, however, don’t expect huge smiles and long conversations since they are very straightforward, in a polite way. If you show them at least a basic knowledge of the language they will be more than enthusiastic to help you spend a great journey in their country.
If you want to enjoy the culture and lifestyle of Slovaks, don’t miss their festivals, visit their thermal and balneo health resort or their many UNESCO spots.
Cuisine in Slovakia
Slovak cuisine is very rich, it’s been influenced by the Hungarian and Austrian, cuisine but it has a unique taste for its own, it’s generally based on soups, stewed and boiled vegetables, stewed fruits, smoked meats (especially sausages), roasted meats, gruels, and dairy dishes; and each region has their special taste.
The main ingredients you can find in the slovaks dishes are pork, poultry, cabbage, wheat and potato flour, cheese from cows and sheep, potatoes, onions and garlic. For companion, they use rice, soup or fruits like apples, plums, apricots, peaches, plums and cherries
Between the traditional dishes in Slovakia we have:
- Bryndzove halushky – potato dumplings with sheep cheese (bryndza) and roasted bacon
- Zemiakové placky – potato pancakes fried in oil with garlic and flour
- Granadír – pasta with potato
- Fried cheese – cheese fried in bread crumbs
- Schnitzel – Wiener schnitzel
- Lokse – potato pancake
Work in Slovakia
Slovakia is a country with a growing economy, which has known how to emerge from the financial crisis and has got some right guess during Covid-19 pandemic. The tourism field is leading the economy in Slovakia, with almost 70% of locals and expats working in this service sector. The main industries are electronic and vehicle manufacturing and Agriculture it’s a big part of the economy with 40% of the land designated to this activity.
Work-life balance is still developing in Slovakia, some companies are not following the government legislation regards working hours, and this affects employees free time in order to provide for their families, however, this is just in some cases, on the other hand, there are companies adopting new work traditions in order to better the work-life balance. The gross wage in Slovakia, depending on the type of job, goes between €780 to €2100 monthly and Working hours are 8hour per day, 40 hours per week. Health insurance is available for everybody, locals and expats
Work in Bratislava
Bratislava have the lowest unemployment rate in the country, and a higher average wage, it has plenty of job vacancies since many industries are located here. You may find jobs in the IT, marketing, business, telecommunications and administrative sectors, so don’t hesitate to add Bratislava to your list for a job abroad. This city is considered a hidden gem of Europe in the job market, because of its low cost of living and reasonable salaries, plus the many vacancies available, it’s a brain leader in the market with many specialized jobs and opportunities. If you want to burst your career or own a start up, this is the starting point for you.
Taxes in Slovakia
Once in Slovakia and you decide which city you’re going to live in, it’s important to register in the relevant tax authority (Daňový úrad Bratislava) for income tax purposes within 30 days, you can check ICI for further information. After this, you’re ready to start making contributions and your salary is registered to pay at the end of the fiscal year between 19% and 25% depending on your income.
Finding accommodation in Slovakia
Finding accommodation when you do it remotely and don’t even have a chance to see the apartment or room might be a very stressful task. Remember that many people did it before you and it’s not impossible. First of all give yourself time, start your searching early, so you won’t have to rush with making decisions which can lead to many inconveniences. Calmly analyse and compare prices and locations as well as the standard of the place you want to rent. You can always ask for more photos if you are not sure about something. Try websites like flatio, to look at different offers available. There are also Facebook groups whose main topic is rental in Slovakia or Bratislava. You can contact the landlord of the property which seems interesting for you directly or make a post that you are looking for a place to stay.
Living close to your workplace will let you save both time and money on transport and since accommodation costs are relatively low you can consider this option even having worked in the city centre. See if there is something available in this certain area. Many apartments are already furnished and ready to move in, you shouldn’t have a problem with finding something appropriate.
Living cost in Slovakia
Costs of living in Slovakia are low compared to other European countries, the most expensive to live is Bratislava. However, even there expats can afford a good life without excessive strain on the budget. E.g. doing everyday grocery shopping you would pay €1.88 for 12 eggs, €0.74 for one litre of milk or €0.77 for one kilogram of potatoes. If you would like to move around the city by taxi, the entrance cost is €3 and then €1 for every kilometre.
Below you can see more examples of everyday expenses you may have while living and working in Slovakia:
|Description||Cost in Euro|
|Logement||350 – 600|
|Food**||8 – 15|
|Mobile rate (per one minute)||0.08|
|Public transport (single ticket)||0.80|
|Ticket de cinéma||7|
|Une pinte de bière||1.50|
|Fitness club pass||29|
*Les prix peuvent varier en fonction du quartier, du nombre de personnes vivant dans l'appartement et des équipements.
**Depends greatly on your diet and which shops you buy food and drinks from.
Expats in Slovakia
Although Slovakia is not a typical destination for tourists, expats can find many interesting perks this country offers to them. Slovakia is open for internationals both from business and nationals point and those willing to work there will be warmly welcomed.
First new friends you will probably make at work, and there is nothing wrong with it! Good contact with your colleagues will make your work environment more casual and guarantee that you will get to work with a big smile everyday!
Join social media groups for expats in Slovakia, see what events are coming up and if by chance next Thursday there is a meeting in a cafe, don’t hesitate to join. You can also look at this website, its concept is very similar to the groups you can find.
The biggest expat communities can be found of course in the capital – Bratislava, but also in bigger cities like Košice or Žilina. Socialize and exchange experiences, people you will meet were or are in a situation similar to yours, so it’s worth to keep in longer touch.
Where to Learn Slovak
Slovak is an official language in Slovakia, and even though majority of the society speaks at least the basics of English and it is used in the business environment, it’s always good to speak the language of the country you are in, even if it is just “please”, “thank you” and “have a nice day”.
Learning online you can start even before departure and there are two ways for doing that. You can find a video course and go through it on your own, there are a lot of videos available, you can also visit websites like this slovake.eu, where the learning plan was already made and you just have to follow it. Most online courses are free, but if you prefer paid ones, there is also a possibility like this.
If you would like to learn on-site, IOM Migration Information Centre in Bratislava and Košice offers free language courses for European foreigners and this course focuses more on the daily usage of Slovakian with elements of culture. There are also courses organised by private teachers where a small group of foreigners is gathered, but this type of activity is paid and prices may vary depending on the institution.
No matter how you decide to learn Slovak, the key is to apply it every day. Speak with nationals while asking for directions or buying a cinema ticket, every possibility is good!
The biggest perk of Slovakia is their many job opportunities for a wide range of jobs, you can definitely burst your career in Slovakia and their people are very welcoming towards expats. Plus you have beautiful mountainous landscapes and many castles and cities to explore during your stay, a short visit won’t ever be enough to appreciate all the beauty hidden in Slovakia and the low cost of living allows you to do that and more. Don’t hesitate to contact us and we can help you in your journey of working abroad.