Croatian Demographic Crisis: Half a Million Workers Now Gone

Lauren Simmonds

Croatia has lost half a million workers in the last decade alone. Without foreign workers and with the state of the Croatian demographic crisis, at least according to the Croatian Chamber of Commerce (HGK), we simply cannot go on.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 15th of January, 2020, half a million workers have left Croatian territory in the last ten years. We knew that the shortage of workers in Croatia was a dire and alarming situation, but the rally at the Croatian Chamber of Commerce in Rijeka was now backed up by extremely worriyng figures, writes local Rijeka portal

Measures to curb the negative trend were also presented, and one of the most important economic measures was the total abolition of quotas for foreign workers.

Despite the chronic shortage of workers, this will not be felt here in season. Aware of the situation, the owner of an Opatija restaurant, Stipe Dunatov, prepared himself on time.

“Recently I was in Dubai, interviewing twenty people, they are mostly from Pakistan and India and they’re ready to come to Croatia. They’re ready to come to the EU to work. Nine people are coming here to work for me, I’m opening a new Japanese restaurant and fourteen people will work there,” Dunatov says, clearly doing all he can to avoid the effects of the ongoing Croatian demographic crisis.

“In the past ten years, from 2008 to 2018, Croatia has lost 500,000 people in the working contingent, 200,000 naturally, meaning the aging of the population, leaving the working contingent and inflow of children into the working contingent, and about 300,000 have been lost to migration,” emphasised Davorko Vidović, a counse;lor for Labour Policy and Employment at CCE.

The plan is to include people in the labour market and prevent emigration, and the Croatian Employment Service is also involved in funding through the European Social Fund.

“We expect about 25,000 new people to be included in 2020. Looking at the three-year period, we can say that a total of over 126,000 people have gone through the system of active employment policy measures,” says Ante Lončar, Director of the Croatian Employment Service.

About 40,000 foreigners (non-EU) worked in Croatia last year, and 65,000 permits were issued for that purpose. From the middle of this year, there will be no more quotas. However, the tourist season has to be prepared for, because the paperwork takes about two months to process owing to the unutterably slow system and the ever-lagging MUP.

The shortage of workers, according to the Croatian Chamber of Commerce, is not a temporary problem that will disappear. Foreign labour is what awaits Croatia in the future.

Make sure to follow our dedicated lifestyle page for more on the Croatian demographic crisis.


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