Can Croatia Market Itself to Highly Qualified Internationals?

Lauren Simmonds

croatia highly qualified internationals

March the 18th, 2024 – Croatia needs to more firmly place itself on the map for highly qualified internationals – and not just unskilled labour.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, a recently held conference called “The dynamics of the labour market: Lessons from Ireland and Croatia” was organised by the Croatian Association of Employers (HUP) in cooperation with the Ministry of Labour. It primarily focused on Croatia’s pressing (and dire) demographic issues, and trying to enact EU practices and experiences in ensuring quality and qualified labour strength in order to maintain the high growth rates of the Croatian economy.

The conference, which also hosted the Vice-President of the European Commission, Dubravka Šuica, was organised as part of the visit of Neale Richmond, the Irish Minister of Entrepreneurship, Trade and Employment. It’s worth noting that over the last two decades, Ireland has become a country that has attracted almost 1.3 million new inhabitants by strengthening its economy and offering high quality and well-paid jobs. This resulted in highly qualified internationals moving in.

“The task before Croatia now is to keep hold of our own highly qualified workers, but also to put Croatia on the map of countries attractive for highly qualified internationals from all over the world, as well as for investments in sectors with high added value. The Croatian Employers’ Association has warned that the burden of income tax should be reduced precisely for medium and high income earners, where the tax wedge is higher than 42.5 percent, in order to ensure faster and stronger income growth. Work also needs to be done on the attractiveness of Croatian companies for the local workforce, and for the workforce from countries that are Croatia’s competitors. That’s because this is the basis for the growth of the domestic economy and the standards experienced by society as a whole”, said the CEO of the Croatian Association of Employers, Irena Weber.

The Minister of Labour, Marin Piletić, announced that the government is on track to change the Labour Law in the next mandate. He went on to highlight a series of moves enacted by the current government which have achieved record employment rates across Croatia.

“Croatia currently has more immigrants than it has emigrants, which is proof that our market is competitive and that we’re heading in the right direction, and that the government’s policies were properly directed. The new Law on Foreigners and the extension of the term of work permits for foreign workers will make it easier for employers and their employees to organise their work,” Piletić pointed out.

The experience from Ireland shows that the openness of the market and society towards new investments, technologies and people is crucial for demographic sustainability. Ireland was a country known globally for its seemingly endless emigration. However, over the last 20 years, it has begun to attract labour, including highly skilled internationals, by offering employment in high value-added sectors.

“Irish society depends on high-quality projects, investments and workplaces that create new value and bring growth, therefore, we as the government try to help and accelerate this growth and take great care not to get in the way of things”, revealed Minister Richmond, who emphasised several times that Ireland is a country that welcomes highly qualified internationals and other foreign nationals with open arms.

In her presentation, the Vice-President of the European Commission, Dubravka Šuica, pointed out that the question of demography will remain a key topic in the years ahead. She also clarified the policies on which the EC’s strategy will be based. The demographic toolbox thus relies on four pillars: young families, harmonising education and the needs of the labour market, older people who leave the labour market too early, and legal migration.


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