Survey: Emigrants from Croatia Satisfied, Not Planning to Return

By 6 June 2018

ZAGREB, June 6, 2018 - People are emigrating from Croatia mostly because the state is poorly organised and run, because of incompetent politicians and political parties, and because of a feeling of despondency and lack of prospects, shows a survey on motives for emigration from Croatia, presented in Zagreb on Wednesday.

The survey, commissioned by the Croatian Employers Association (HUP), covered 661 respondents who have emigrated to 26 countries, and was conducted from 15 March to 15 May. The survey covers the period from Croatia's accession to the EU, on 1 July 2013, to February 2018.

Among the most frequently cited reasons for emigration are a poorly organised and poorly run state, incompetent politicians and political parties lacking vision (8%), despondency, lack of prospects and the decline of the state, society and nation (7.6%), as well as hiring based on political criteria and nepotism, Promocija Plus agency director Agan Begić said.

Corruption and crime in the country were cited by 7.3% of the respondents as the reason for emigration, arguing over Ustasha and Partisans was cited by 6.4%, while low salaries were cited by 5.2% of the respondents. Lack of political culture, religious intolerance and nationalism were cited by 6.2% of the emigrants, and the lack of change in the country by 6.1%. The influence of war veterans on the society and state was cited by 4.8% of the respondents.

As for the emigrants' age, most or 82% are under the age of 40. Two in three new emigrants are either married or live in common-law marriage (82% emigrated with their partner). As for respondents who have a family and who account for 50% of all respondents, 72% emigrated with their children.

New emigrants generally have qualifications that are higher than the average qualifications of the working age population in the country.

A large share of new emigrants, 73.5%, were employed before they left Croatia. Of that percentage, 42.7% had permanent work contracts, 23.4% had fixed-term employment contracts and 7.4% were self-employed.

Among those who were employed, most, 40.5%, earned less than 4,000 kuna a month, but the share of those whose income was above the national average is also high (33.2%). There is an above-average share of migrants from the five Slavonian counties, from Sisak-Moslavina County and the City of Zagreb.

More than 44% of the surveyed emigrants have high school qualifications, 33% have a university degree, and 20.9% have a master's degree.

Almost one-third of emigrants (29.6%) have emigrated to Germany, 20.8% have emigrated to Ireland, around 11% have left for Belgium, slightly more than 10% have left for Sweden, and 8.5% for Austria. Giving their reasons for choosing those specific countries, the respondents said that those were well-organised, developed countries with a good legal system.

Only one in ten emigrants thinks about returning to Croatia in the next ten years. One in four plans to return when they retire, while most, or as many as 42%, do not plan to return.

The surveyed emigrants' perception of Croatia's future is not optimistic. Every other emigrant does not believe that the situation in Croatia will improve, only 11.5% believe it will, and 27.2% believe it will stay the same.

As for the quality of life in their new country, the survey reveals a relatively high degree of satisfaction among emigrants. As many as 89.4% are satisfied with employment and job change opportunities and 81.3% are satisfied with public administration efficiency. The new emigrants are the least satisfied with housing/accommodation (67.1%) and their own social life (71.3%).

Commenting on the survey, HUP director Davor Majetić said that those with the highest qualifications and best competencies were leaving. "If we do not start changing, things will become even worse. We have a drama on the labour market because of this. People are dissatisfied with this country," Majetić said. He said that the state had to become cheaper and take less tax money both from employers and workers.

HUP president Gordana Deranja, too, believes that social and political reasons are the main motive why workers are emigrating, followed by social reasons, and personal reasons, as the fourth motive. "We all have to act to stop these trends," Deranja said.