Tens of Thousands of Croats Move to Germany

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According to German statistics, over 30,000 Croats emigrated to Germany last year.

“The trend of emigration from Croatia is still not catastrophic, but it is worrying. When we compare migration from other states after they entered the European Union, such as Poland and Romania, Croatian statistics are still relatively controlled”, said Drago Župarić-Iljić from the Institute for Migrations and Ethnicities, reports Jutarnji List on November 6, 2016.

He relied, in part, on this summer’s data published by the Central Bureau of Statistics, according to which 29,651 people left Croatia in 2015, mostly to Germany (12,264), followed by Serbia (3,235), Austria (3,208), Bosnia and Herzegovina (2,501), Switzerland (1,572), Italy (1,288) and Slovenia (507). At the same time, about 12,000 people moved to Croatia.

However, this numbers probably do not tell the whole story. For example, according to German statistics, the real number of Croats who moved to Germany in 2015 was much higher. The latest official German data show that in recent years the number of Croatian citizens in Germany has grown significantly, which indicates that the immigration from Croatia is far, far greater than that suggested by national statistics. In 2013, the number of Croatian citizens in Germany grew by 15,572, in 2014 by 21,804, and in 2015 by as much as 34,548. The increase is dramatically higher than in 2011 and 2012, when the number of arrivals with Croatian citizenship was only a few thousand people a year.

It is obvious that this increase in the number of immigrants in the last three years cannot be attributed just to potential double registration of same persons, to a greater number of newborn Croatian citizens on the territory of Germany, or to a larger number of migrants who have Croatian citizenship but used to live outside of Croatia (people from Bosnia and Herzegovina or Serbia).

“We can reasonably assume that the increase in the number of registered foreigners with Croatian citizenship in the German statistics is partly due to the opening of the German labour market for citizens after Croatian accession to the EU, especially after 1 July 2015”, said Župarić-Iljić, who is currently researching the issue of migration. “Statistics by the Administrative Affairs Department of the Interior Ministry, which is the basis for analysis done by the Central Bureau of Statistics, are insufficiently precise to provide a reliable indicator of net migration”, he said.

Župarić-Iljić added that, according on available data, after Croatian accession to the EU, there was a decrease in trend of emigration of educated people, but also an increase in emigration of those with low and medium levels of education, who now have open legal and social channels to look for work in the European Union.


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