New Croatian Law on Foreign Workers Looms

Lauren Simmonds

croatian law on foreign workers

January the 25th, 2024 – With more and more foreign nationals arriving to live and work in the country, a new Croatian law on foreign workers is looming.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, the number of foreign workers present here in Croatia is constantly increasing, and, according to the predictions of the Croatian Association of Employers (HUP), in seven years there will be almost 500,000 of them, or a quarter of the workforce.

That said, foreign workers face a range of problems, from employers not reporting them to the proper authorities to ensure they have all the protections an employee should, to language barriers, to verbal and physical attacks. The state plans to regulate illegal work and facilitate their integration into society by amending the current law on foreigners, writes N1.

“Some people weren’t very pleasant towards us, but it’s rare”

Durga Adhikari arrived in Croatia from Nepal in search of a better future. Four years later, he opened a traditional Nepalese bar in Zagreb.

“Soon I’ll be a Croatian citizen, I will also be ‘Croatian’. I can’t speak your language, but I can understand everything,” said the restaurateur.

Over the last seven years, Croatia has also become home for salesman Hari Ghimire. Today, he runs his shop selling Nepali products, but adapting wasn’t always easy.

“There were situations where people weren’t very pleasant to us, but those are rare cases. I understand that not everyone thinks the same way. There are people with a different mentality, people who don’t like us, and I think that’s normal,” Ghimire said.

changes to the Croatian law on foreign workers

This is exactly why more up to date amendments to the Law on Foreigners will soon see the light of day. Among other things, it will introduce Croatian language learning programmes.

“The intention of these changes is to additionally regulate the provisions of the aforementioned law, which will enable the use of the existing potential of the foreign workforce. This would take into account the needs of the Croatian economy and the facilitation of administrative procedures, while at the same time guaranteeing the protection of workers’ rights and preventing all kinds of abuses”, the Ministry of the Interior (MUP) stated.

Foreign employees are welcoming these changes

“The employer should pay exactly what was agreed in the contract. Accommodation should be provided as agreed. From time to time, they should visit their workers”, believes Adhikari.

employer blacklists are set to be introduced

The new law would introduce blacklists and six-year sentences for employers who fail to register their foreign workers.

“As this is a specific activity and we’re talking about people and their destinies, we certainly support regulating and monitoring how employers treat their workers. I think it’s very important for all of us that all workers are registered, that they also have insurance and that the state collects this part from taxes,” said Nikolina Radić from HUP (Croatian Employers’ Association).

Most workers come to Croatia from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Nepal, India and Kosovo, and the average salary is between 600 and 700 euros net. Despite that, for workers, dignified living conditions mean more than wages.

“Among other things, they should not be treated as slave labour and they should be provided with other social, at least elementary, conditions. We see that employers accommodate 30, 40, 80 of them in the same building. Imagine the social conditions?!” said demographer Stjepan Šterc, who says employers thinking this can go on are living in an illusion.

The first step to get out of such an illusion should take place in the first quarter of this year, when the adoption of the new Croatian law on foreign workers is expected.


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