Complicated Formalities Must be Scrapped for Croatian Ukraine Refugee Integration

Lauren Simmonds

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As Poslovni Dnevnik/Marija Brnic writes, the unprecedented influx of refugees from Ukraine presents a current very real challenge across the EU and non-EU Europe, as although Ukrainians are interested in getting involved quickly in normal life in their new countries, including gaining legal employment, potential employers offering them jobs has been plagued with complicated red tape. Successful Croatian Ukraine refugee integration relies on the typical draconian processes in this country being cut down significantly.

After the formal application and obtaining an ID card, which gives Ukrainian refugees opportunity to open a Croatian bank account, it is inevitable that they will then need to have the basic documentation for contracting certain jobs, from certificates of competency to diplomas, and this is proving to be a problem. As such, there are already calls for a model to simplify and speed up the inevitable formalities that face displaced Ukrainians here.

People fleeing grenades naturally didn’t think to pick up and bring certificates or diplomas or notarised copies to Croatia with them, and on the other hand, for a large number of activities in this country, it is still necessary to go through the nostrification procedure.

These formalities are already a problem for overall Croatian Ukraine refugee integration and especially for jobs that require certificates of secondary education. For example, a large retail chain that wants to hire Ukrainian workers is still pending a decision because the applicant hasn’t yet been issued an ID card or an OIB, nor do they have a certificate confirming their completion of secondary education in Ukraine.

Complex cases

Even more complex are the cases for jobs that are in the register of regulated professions, for which it is necessary to obtain certificates from the competent institutions on the recognition of foreign professional qualifications, and there are about 280 professions on that list for Croatia.

These procedures are the most demanding and rigid in the cases of doctors of medicine. Even before the coronavirus pandemic, these processes were complex and time-consuming, under the jurisdiction of various state bodies, and now many would-be employers are hoping that this will be an opportunity for it to improve the system in general.

Anny Brusic, the director of the HUP Association of Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises, has stated that employers expect the state to make a decision for Ukrainians to not need certificates for certain occupations. “In this situation, it can be possible to introduce a mentoring system for occupations that require certificates, it can be a good and effective solution,” said Brusic.

For weeks, the European Commission (EC) has been asking national bodies to find solutions to determine the equivalence of both European and Ukrainian qualifications frameworks, and is considering new guidelines to facilitate the recognition of professional qualifications acquired in Ukraine. It is also a priority to provide assistance to persons interested in vocational training and retraining, in order to enable those who are interested in overcoming any lack of certain skills as easily and quickly as possible.

EBRD coordination

Here in Croatia, these activities are coordinated by the EBRD and involve representatives of the private sector, NGOs, while public employment services, in this country’s case the CES, will play a key role in assisting newcomers from Ukraine in determining their skills, qualifications and connecting them with job possibilities.

For more, check out our politics section.


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