Croatian Emigration to Germany and Ireland Slows, Grows for Sweden

Lauren Simmonds

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 17th of July, 2019, according to data from Destatis, the German statistical office, 51,197 people who hold Croatian citizenship moved from Croatia to Germany in 2018. This is the first time that a drop in emigration from Croatia to Germany has been recorded, Večernji list writes.

Judging by the data from Germany and Ireland, emigration from Croatian citizens coming from Croatia has actually slowed down. The latest figures from the German and Irish statistics offices show that in the first half of this year, for the first time since Croatia’s EU accession, the number of immigrants from Croatia has decreased.

According to the aforementioned German statistical office, this is the very first time that a drop in emigration from Croatia to Germany has been recorded and this has halted the trend that, according to the same data, has lasted for ten years, long before Croatian membership of the EU.

During 2017, 52,791 Croatian citizens moved to Germany, while in 2016 it was a record, when 57,155 Croatian citizens moved from Croatia to Germany. However, when it comes to this office, it is important to point out that two types of data are being published for Croats, which can cause confusion and different interpretations by media, as well as by experts.

“When we talk about Croatian citizens, we differentiate between emigration actually from Croatia and the emigration of all those who just have Croatian citizenship but are coming from other countries, especially those outside the EU. Of them, 51,197 have moved to Germany since last year, while the total number of those who just have a Croatian passport in Germany numbered 57,724 The difference of 6,527 people means that they came from a third country outside of the EU,” the German office told Vecernji list.

However, historian and political scientist Dr. Tado Jurić of the Croatian Catholic University says it isn’t true that the trend of Croatian emigration to Germany is dropping. In April 2019, when the disinformation began to spread significantly about the drop in emigration to Germany, he warned that the figures that were being put out by the media about emigration were far from real. He has claimed that this may be a deliberate misrepresentation of data, or simply a lack of statistical reading methodology.

”According to data from the Federal Migration Office (BamF), which provides final immigration data and which is always used by the German Parliament, back in 2016, there were 51,163 immigrants from Croatia, in 2017, there were 50,283, and last year, there were 51,197 according to Destatis. Destatis takes all people with Croatian citizenship into consideration, and BamF includes immigrants and returnees from Croatia and is therefore more precise,” according to Jurić. BamFa’s data for 2018 will be announced in October this year.

Jurić believes that the number of Croatian returnees will increase in the next few years.

The jump in Croatian emigration was of course most visible after the country joined the EU and adopted the four fundamental freedoms of the single market, one of which is the free movement of labour.

Back in 2008, 8,418 Croatian citizens moved to Germany, in 2013, the year Croatia joined the EU, 24,845 of them went to Germany, in 2014, 43,843 of them went to Germany, and in 2015, when the German labour market became fully open to Croatian citizens, 57,996 Croatian citizens moved there. The second destination to which Croats tend to emigrate – Ireland – recorded a fall in arrivals from Croatia for the first time in 2018.

The Irish Central Statistical Office estimates the number of immigrants according to the number of Personal Public Service Numbers (PPSN), an identification number similar to the Croatian OIB used for employment and social benefits.

In the first six months of 2019, 1,648 numbers were issued to Croatian citizens, while in the same period last year, as many as 2,119 Croats received a number. The same trend is seen in Ireland as in Germany – in 2009 only 60 PPSN numbers were issued, and a significant jump is seen upon Croatia’s accession to the EU. From 483 to 2,103, the number jumped up to 2,091 in 2014, and doubled a year later to 4,342, and peaked in 2016 with 5,312 issued PPSNs.

By 2017, the number fell slightly to 4,908, and the decline continued last year when 4,346 Croatian citizens received a PPSN number, this year, a reduction of nearly a quarter has already been seen in Ireland. However, in Sweden, the number of immigrants from Croatia is climbing – there are now 1,150 Croatian citizens legally there, there were 1,084 back in 2017, and for years before that the number was always around 1,000.

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