Politics

43,000 People Moved to Croatia in 2018, Mostly from Bosnia and Serbia

By 4 February 2019

43,219 foreigners moved to Croatia in 2018 and were granted temporary residence, which is almost three times more than in 2016. About 31,000 immigrants came from the countries of the former Yugoslavia, mainly Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Macedonia and Kosovo, which is to be expected because it is difficult to imagine that immigrants from more developed countries would decide to move to Croatia, reports Večernji List on February 4, 2019.

Croatia mostly attracts less educated people. Of the 43,219 foreigners who were granted temporary residence last year, just 2,064 had a university degree. The majority of immigrants had a high school diploma, while for almost 9,000 the education level was unknown. About 2,690 had managed to graduate just from an elementary school. These numbers come from the Interior Ministry’s data.

As far as temporary immigrants are concerned, 28,000 of them are under the age of 39. The figures do not include asylum seekers accepted by Croatia because they are covered by separate legislation.

The demographer Stjepan Šterc says that the number of foreigners who have been granted temporary residence in Croatia is not an indication of the number of refugees who came here. “The largest number of immigrants are seasonal workers, who came here due to the needs of the labour market and the economy, which is also evident by the fact that most of them are under the age of 40. Agriculture, tourism and construction that the main sector in Croatia which are looking for less educated workers. It is clear that most immigrants to Croatia are less educated, while those with university diplomas mostly come to work in foreign-owned companies. It is also to be expected that most workers would come from neighbouring countries,” says Šterc.

The majority of people who have been granted temporary residence have the citizenship of Bosnia and Herzegovina (19,560), which means that Croats from Bosnia are not included in this number because they have Croatian citizenship. The second place belongs to the citizens of Serbia (6,354). The number of EU immigrants who were last year granted temporary residence in Croatia is negligible, but most of them came from Slovenia, Germany, Italy, Poland, Britain, France, Austria, Spain, Hungary and the Czech Republic. When it comes to foreigners from non-European countries, the highest number of temporary residence permits was granted to people coming from China (574), USA (497), Russia (413), India (220), followed by the Philippines (156), Mexico (143), Korea (135), Thailand (132), Brazil (126).

Permanent residency was last year granted to 1,448 foreigners, mostly from Germany, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Slovenia, Serbia, Italy, Russia, Britain and Macedonia. Šterc estimates that these are mostly people who own real estate or companies in Croatia.

Since Croatia has not found a way to stop the emigration of its young population and did not address the issue more seriously, further increase in the immigration of foreign workers is expected. For comparison, in 2018 there were twice as many foreigners with temporary residence approved than in 2017. “We have the emigration of young people from Croatia and the immigration of mostly poorly educated foreigners. We are approaching the point when the number of foreigners moving in will almost equalise the number of our people moving out. This is a serious process, and if it is intensively pursued over the next ten years, there will be ‘the population exchange’,” says Šterc.

The number of descendants of Croatian emigrants who have been granted Croatian citizenship has also increased. There were 1,005 of them last year, and most of them came from South America, Australia and the USA.

More news on the demographic trends in Croatia can be found in the Politics section.

Translated from Večernji List (reported by Dijana Jurasić).

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