46% More Croatian Work Permits Issued to Foreigners in 2 Months

Lauren Simmonds

croatian work permits foreigners
Hrvoje Jelavic/PIXSELL

March the 20th, 2024 – The word on everyone’s lips in Croatia at the moment involves the influx of foreign labour. Even more concerning is the fact that 46% more Croatian work permits have been issued to foreigners in just two months.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, one of the biggest problems currently being faced by the Croatian economy is the chronic lack of labour. This has gone from being a burning issue in only some sectors, to spread across most (if not all) sectors, according to a report from HRT.

To the greatest extent, it is being stimulated by the emigration of the native Croatian population to the more developed economies of nations across the European Union. Naturally, this also greatly affects the productivity of the Croatian economy as a whole. Croatian employers have, to some extent or another, always had to deal with issues “getting the staff” as the tourist season approaches, with many beginning earlier and earlier each year to try to combat this issue and make sure they have who they need long before the height of the summer season rolls around.

This has commonly involved laborious and burdensome work permit application processes for third country nationals from neighbouring non-EU nations such as Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo and Macedonia. The Interior Ministry (MUP) is infamously slow and even more infamously fond of long, drawn out and frankly senseless bureaucratic processes and red tape. This meant that it wasn’t uncommon for work permit procedures to drag out out for two months at a time. When it was for one or two Serbian employees, most of the time this wasn’t too much of a thorn in the side of Croatian employers, but now it’s for much larger amounts of people from distant nations like Nepal, India and so on, the issue has become extremely problematic.

In just two months of this year, more than 43,000 Croatian work permits for foreigners were issued, an extremely worrying 46 percent increase when compared to just last year.

“The position of local employers is that we can ensure a sufficient number of employees only with a systematic approach that includes a change in the tax treatment of labour, a more modern Labour Law, the activation of able-bodied residents on the market, the harmonisation of the education system with the needs of the labour market, and the import of labour,” pointed out Irena Weber, director of the Croatian Employers’ Association (HUP).

“We’re trying to balance between the needs of employers and the economy, protect the domestic workforce and take care of security above all, because that’s the key not only for the economy but also for individual branches. We’ll never allow any emotions of fear or hatred to overwhelm us because there’s simply no need for them,” emphasised Interior Minister Davor Božinović, clearly referring to the huge number of foreign nationals from non European countries now present and working in the country.


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