Croatian Job Seekers Won’t Need Work Permits in Austria

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By early July of 2020, it will be much easier for Croatian job seekers to find work in Austria. Their labor market will be significantly liberalized as Barbara Ban/Novac/JutarnjiList reveals on November 22, 2019. Finding employment in Austrian companies will be easier, without the massive present-day paperwork or work permits for certain jobs.

Admittedly, many Croatian tourism and hospitality workers have been finding jobs in Austria for a long time. As in Croatia, their profession is in high demand and finding work is not a problem. Nevertheless, some important rules still apply.Dr. Marie Škof, from the Klagenfurt-based law firm Grilc Vouk Škof, spoke last Friday at the Croatian Chamber of Commerce in Pula. She indicated that the liberalization of the Austrian market will be a great help to workers and entrepreneurs who want to send their employees to work on projects their companies have contracted with Austrian companies.

No More Work Permits

– This will mean that you will no longer need to fill out all the present-day forms nor will work permits will be required. The entire procedure for issuing permits for workers in Austria will be greatly reduced. Presently, it’s practically impossible to obtain a work permit – as Dr. Škof noted. The exception is tourism and hospitality workers who obtain work permits to work in season.

– It’s not a problem to get a work permit in that sector, but it has been a problem to get one for construction trades, because certain quotas may have already been met. And from July 1, 2020; all Croatian citizens will be able to get a job in Austria without a work permit. This means that workers in Austria can be employed in the same way as they can in Croatia. It’s important that they find an employer – the lawyer emphasized.


Large Croatian Worker Wave Expected

Asked about what Austria expects next year, since a portion of the Croatian population can hardly wait for the labor market to be opened; Dr. Škof replied that a large wave of Croatian workers is expected especially since Austria is so close to Croatia.

– While Austria expects a lot of Croatian interest, Croatian workers will also be able to work for Croatian companies in Austria without having to seek an Austrian employer. This means that they will not have to move with their entire families but will only need to work in Austria on a temporary basis, the lawyer explains. When they work for a Croatian company in Austria, that employer is obliged to pay them in accordance with the Austrian collective agreement for that industry. Also, according to Austrian regulations, an employee will have certain rights: including time off and paid time off (13 and 14 days respectively).


Strict Employer Regulations

If Croatian employers in Austria do not comply with these strict regulations, Austrian inspections are not so forgiving. In fact, they are among the most rigorous in Europe, will hand out fines immediately and penalties accumulate on a per offense basis. This means that for one offense, the penalty is multiplied by the number of employees working in Austria and the number of Austrian partners with which the Croatian company works. Those numbers can quickly become quite massive. That is why Dr. Škof warns Croatian companies in Austria to become familiar with the regulations, since they could easily go bankrupt otherwise.

The Brodmont Company is a striking example. In 2015 it was rehabilitating a part of the Poels paper mill. There were 217 employees working there, and the Austrian financial inspectors noticed some irregularities, which resulted in a € 3.2 million fine for Zoran Maksimović, the director of the Croatian company. A prison sentence of four years or more was also handed down in the event of non-payment. Maksimović decided to challenge these massive and disproportionate penalties, and won the dispute at a European court for this case, which has become a precedent and will serve as an example in further jurisprudence.

For more information on the labour market and and trends, follow our Business page here.


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