26,000 Croats Returned to Croatia from Working Abroad Last Year

Lauren Simmonds

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 29th of June, 2019, according to unofficial estimates, about 300,000 Croatian citizens have left the Republic of Croatia since 2013, the year that Croatia joined the European Union, the same year that freedom of movement was adopted as part of the EU’s four fundamental freedoms for Croatia’s access to the single market.

According to official statistics, 2018 will be hopefully remembered as a year during which the growing number of people leaving Croatia to seek work abroad finally slowed down, and an increase in returnees was marked.

As far as returnees are concerned, it will be known in mid-July when the the competent body publishes more detailed data, but according to the first pieces of data available now in Croatia, 26,000 citizens have come from abroad, Večernji list writes.

Despite this, Croatia’s migration balance remains negative and the number of those who have left is about 13,000 higher than the number of those who have returned, but the number of citizens leaving the country, which now stands at 39,000, down from 47,000 a year earlier, has obviously decreased. The number of returnees nearly doubled from 15.5 thousand back in 2017, which could mean that the number of people who left the country are beginning to return in larger numbers than they have done over the past six years.

According to unofficial estimates, about 300,000 citizens have left Croatia since 2013, the year which marked the country’s accession to the EU. When looking at the last year before Croatia’s full EU entry – 2012, about 13,000 citizens migrated from Croatia, and around 9,000 citizens immigrated to the country.

According to international methodology, immigrants from abroad are considered persons who have changed their normal state of residence for a period that is, or is at least expected to be, at least one year. For example, in 2017, about 30,000 citizens moved out of Croatia to Germany, and about three thousand returned.

The number of immigrants from abroad during the year 2018 has been the largest ever since such measurements were conducted, and this includes the approval and issuing of temporary residence permits in Croatia, the list of which Vecernji list received several months ago from the Ministry of the Interior (MUP).

MUP say they approved a temporary residence permits for 43,219 foreigners last year, almost three times more than in 2016, and as a consequence of an increase in Croatia’s quota for the employment of foreigners. When it comes to foreigners who were granted temporary residence last year, nearly 80 percent, or 31 thousand of them come from countries that make up the former Yugoslavia – Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Macedonia, and Kosovo.

For now, it appears that the less educated are attracted to Croatia, as only five percent (about two thousand) are highly qualified. About 28,000 of these foreign residents are under the age of 39, most of whom come from Bosnia and Herzegovina, the citizens of which make up 20,000 of them. Otherwise, work permits are issued for seasonal workers (for third country nationals) for a period of less than a year.

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