CIA: Croatia’s Emigration Statistics among Worst in Europe

By 12 May 2018

According to the US intelligence agency, Croatia is one of top seven European countries by negative migration rates.

According to CIA data for 2017, Croatia is among the seven European countries with highest negative net migration rates, which shows the difference between the number of people immigrating to a country and emigrating from it, reports Večernji List on May 12, 2018.

Croatia’s statistics are worse than those for Bosnia and Herzegovina and Macedonia, which also have a negative migration rate, as well as than Serbia’s, which has a zero migration rate, which means that about the same number of people are moving in and out of the country.

These data show that Croatia will not be able to compensate for the shortage of workers by importing them from abroad since it cannot compete with developed countries and their higher wages and better labour markets. As long as the legal system and the situation in society are not changed, it will be difficult to keep young Croats in the country and attract foreigners.

The best countries in Europe by positive migration rates are Luxembourg, Cyprus, Spain, Norway, Belgium, Sweden, Austria, Switzerland, Ireland and Iceland, while the worst are, in addition to Croatia, Moldova, Latvia, Lithuania, Turkey, Albania, and Estonia.

Social scientist Drago Čengić points out that the primary question is which countries will enable Croatia to compensate for the shortage of workers. “The latest data show that we have a median salary below 5,000 kuna, and there is a shortage of workers in tourism, manufacturing, construction... These jobs are unattractive to our people because of low salaries offered in these sectors. The emigration of our young people shows that we need to be aware that other countries in the EU are more competitive than us. The employers’ behaviour towards workers has also driven out some of our people. If the attitude towards workers does not change, that will be a disadvantage for both employers and the country. People today have more information than before when they make a decision on possible economic migration. As far as I can see, there are no proposals on how to attract workers to Croatia. A little increase in salaries will not keep our people in nor will attract foreigners,” said Čengić.

Many EU countries have problems with the shortage of workers, and it is clear that Croatia currently cannot compete with developed countries. “It is very likely that the actual situation is even worse than the CIA data shows, since there are a lot of people who have moved abroad but have not registered that with the authorities,” said demographer Stjepan Šterc, adding that he was not surprised by the ranking of top European countries, with the exception of a good result for Spain, which he says might be due to immigrants coming from Africa.

However, he is surprised by the fact that Serbia and Ukraine allegedly have a zero net migration rate, since many people are moving out of these countries, but it is not clear who is replacing them.

Translated from Večernji List (reported by Dijana Jurasić).