Croatian Labour Market More Dependent on Foreigners

Lauren Simmonds

croatian labour market

June the 14th, 2023 – The Croatian labour market is becoming more and more dependent on foreign nationals, with the number of foreigners registered as job seekers almost equal to the number of Croats.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, only the City of Zagreb and two counties in other regions of Croatia, more specifically Primorje-Gorski Kotar and Split-Dalmatia, have more employees than the total number of foreigners working in Croatia. If the number of foreign workers continues to increase at the current rate, it will soon be greater than the number of people who have jobs in Primorje-Gorski Kotar County, as Novi list reports.

No official data

There are currently no official figures on how many foreigners are currently lawfully employed across Croatia, i.e. how many of them are among the insured persons who pay pension contributions. Such data is kept by the Croatian Institute for Pension Insurance, but according to the estimates of the Ministry of Labour, slightly more than 95,000 foreign workers are insured in Croatia, showcasing the gradual permeation of the Croatian labour market with foreign citizens.

The Croatian labour market is filling up with foreign nationals

The number of foreigners who are insured in Croatia, that is, those who pay pension contributions, is greater than the number of insured persons in an extremely concerning eighteen Croatian counties. In two very economically strong counties – Istria and Zagreb, that figure has almost equalled, meaning the number of Croatian citizens registered as job seekers is almost the same as the number of foreigners registered in the same way.

What of European Union nationals?

About eight thousand foreign policyholders are citizens or legal residents of the countries of the European Economic Area, which includes, in addition to the EU member states, Norway, Liechtenstein and Iceland. This group also includes workers from Switzerland. A large number of this group includes managers or other high-ranking employees who have come to Croatia from parent companies that have bought companies in Croatia or established branches here.

Third country nationals

The remaining 87,000 foreign insured persons in Croatia are citizens of third countries, and those from neighbouring countries that are not members of the EU still dominate. It’s worth mentioning that over the last few years, the structure of foreign workers has changed significantly and Croatian business owners are increasingly reaching out for labour. Estimates say that the largest number of citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina, about 28 thousand of them, have pensionable years in Croatia.

Serbia and Nepal

In second place are workers from Serbia, numbering around 12.7 thousand. Citizens of Nepal, who number around seven thousand, took third place according to pension insurance applications.


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