Ireland, Germany Who? Croatian Emigrants Have Another Favourite Country…

Lauren Simmonds

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 3rd of January, 2020, the minimum wage is 1,200 euros, and workers also get a thirteenth and fourteenth wage in June and again in January. One addition to hot spots for Croatian emigrants such as Ireland and Germany is Austria, which recently announced that it would remove its barriers for Croatian nationals to enter the Austrian labour market. It has now secured its place among the favourites.

”I’m satisfied with the salary, the employer provided me with accommodation, and even paid my bills and for my food,” says the Dubrovnik native. After working as a waiter for fifteen years and two more years in a shop, Alen Sofić from Dubrovnik has been working in Austria for seven months now.

The waiter is currently in the town of Bludenz, on the border of Austria, Germany and Switzerland. Within fifty kilometres lies the Principality of Liechtenstein, in less than two hours you can get to Zurich, St. Galena, Innsbruck…, writes local paper Dubrovacki vjesnik of this Croatian emigrant.

”It’s never a problem to get used to something better. Austria is removing the need for work permits for Croatian emigrants next year, and many will look for a new job in Austria,” stated Alen.

”I left Dubrovnik because I couldn’t live off my salary working in a shop. When I got to Austria, I thought: I’ll work the season, pay off my debts, and then I’ll go home. After six months, not only did I repay my debts, I was left with twice as much,” said Alen, who recommends that when choosing between Ireland, Britain, Germany and the rest of the EU, that Croatian emigrants give Austria a go.

”Whoever wants to go, try to perfect the German language this winter. Most guests in Western Austria are from German speaking and English is hardly spoken, although it’s welcome. For anyone with a basic knowledge of the language, employers pay for training, and the course is included in working hours!

That’s how they invest in their workers who, if they do their best, will not fail. The job offers are vast and the easiest to find are in industry and the hospitality industry. The summer season is from May to September and then everyone is out in nature. This is followed by a collective annual break until November the 15th, when the winter season begins.

With me are two Slavonians and a girl from Viš, and many workers from Croatia’s neighbouring countries. They’ve been granted work visas for six months, after which they must pause for three months to obtain a new half-year permit. We respect each other and help each other, and if necessary, jump in as substitutes.

We’re protected by good laws and the Privileg Association was founded in Vienna: for an annual membership fee of fifty euros, seven top lawyers provide legal assistance and represent you in front of your employers. For example, at a neighbouring hotel, a shift manager banned a worker from talking with a colleague in his native language. Privileg responded and resolved it with a single letter with the argument: Croatian is one of the 24 equal languages ​​of the EU and anyone can speak it without freely if they want to. Outside the hall, German is of course spoken among the guests.

The worker is guaranteed a day off each week and five overtimes a week brings two days off in the following week. It’s not like in Croatia, where you work from morning to tomorrow, ”as long as the guests are there”.

Overtime is paid double, and a day off is no problem to get: it just needs to be announced the day before. If you’re on sick leave, the insurance sends a controller to your apartment, and they also ask you what the doctor’s attitude to you has been like,” says this satisfied Croatian emigrant in Austria.

He also notes that accommodation, utilities and food in the hospitality industry are paid by the employer.

”If you’re fired, you can stay in the same accommodation until you find a new job or return home! In addition, local governments in Austria set rent limits for each type of accommodation and if the owners ask for more, their tax is automatically increased by fifty percent!” added Softić.

”Austrians aren’t cold, they just need time to accept you. They’re skeptical until they’re convinced that you’re human and then only the sky is the limit! I greeted my neighbour for days but he kept quiet. After about twenty days he started to answer and even waved to me across the street! They are closed off to strangers, and they only appreciate you when they’re convinced that you are contributing to the well-being of the country. Patriotism proves tax deductible.

Thus, the state receives about 200 million euros annually, which it allocates to municipal infrastructure and renewable energy sources. And in our country, hospitality workers wave flags and cheer, but they don’t fiscalise the bills! This doesn’t even enter the heads of the Austrians. They are workaholics, and after dinner they always do something. For example, they cut grass not only in their gardens but also for more than 100 metres around the house, thus contributing to the community. If we were like that, imagine where we could be now?” concludes Alen, and his words are more than likely to tempt other Croatian emigrants to Austria.

Make sure to follow our dedicated lifestyle page for more on Croatian emigrants.


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