Wednesday, 25 November 2020

Parliament Passes Foreign Nationals Act, No More Annual Quotas for Employment

ZAGREB, November 25, 2020 - The Croatian Parliament on Wednesday passed the new Foreign Nationals Act under which there will no longer be an annual quota for the employment of foreign nationals.

None of the 32 amendments put forward by the opposition were accepted.

Under the new law, the government will no longer establish an annual quota for the employment of foreign nationals, but employers will be obliged to submit a request to the Croatian Employment Service (HZZ) to conduct a labour market test.

If there are no unemployed persons in Croatia that meet employers' criteria, employers will then submit an application for residence and work permits to the Interior Ministry, which then requests an opinion from the HZZ regarding hiring a specific foreign national. The procedure, including the labour market test, will last a maximum of 30 days.

The act also stipulates exceptions to the labour market test, which is not conducted for shortage occupations, such as carpenters, masons, waiters, butchers, and for seasonal work up to 90 days in agriculture, forestry, hospitality and tourism.

The new act also introduces long-stay visas (visa D) in the event that a third-country national is granted temporary residence for work, family reunification, university education, research and secondary education.

Another novelty is a more favourable regulation of temporary and permanent residence for Croats with a foreign citizenship or without a citizenship who have a certificate from the Central State Office for Croats Abroad.

In addition, family members of Croatian nationals can acquire permanent residence under more favourable conditions, as can foreign minors who have been granted temporary residence for a period of three years and one of their parents has been granted permanent residence or long-term residence.

The act also gives the possibility of regulating the temporary residence of digital nomads, that is, foreign nationals who work online for foreign employers.

The new Foreign Nationals Act enters into force on 1 January 2021.

Wednesday, 11 November 2020

Croatia is One Step Closer to Introducing Digital Nomad Visa

November 11, 2020 – Last week, the Croatian government took the first step to introducing a digital nomad visa. In his statement, Prime Minister Andrej Plenković pointed out that the Law on Foreigners, under which the digital nomad visa is regulated, is an important law.

As Lider Media / Nikolina Oršulić reports, the first concrete regulatory steps have been taken to legalize the residence and work of digital nomads in Croatia. Namely, on Thursday, November 5, 2020, at the Government session, the final proposal of the Law on Foreigners was adopted, which will be sent to the Croatian Parliament.

"I think this is an important law. We are among the first countries to legally regulate the issue of digital nomads, and this will be accompanied by appropriate changes to the law in the tax domain, as well as in the health insurance domain," said Prime Minister Andrej Plenković, announcing further legislative steps.

The idea of launching digital nomad visas was first presented in Croatia by Dutch entrepreneur Jan de Jong, who has been building new business opportunities in Croatia for more than a decade.

"I can say that I am satisfied with the pace at which we are working to bring the legislative package needed to attract digital nomads to Croatia. We are currently making great steps forward in answering health insurance questions. With the Prime Minister's statement, we have an official obligation from the highest political level to continue to make extraordinary efforts to adapt the laws regarding taxation and health insurance. I am happy that Croatia will become the leading country in the world in attracting digital nomads," said the entrepreneur for Lider Media.

The legislative story has heated up, so the initiator of introducing a digital nomad visa is already working on the next step – the establishment of a kind of central point to support digital nomads.

"Since we are going in the right direction, I am working on establishing the Croatian Association for Digital Nomads (Digital Nomad Association Croatia - DNA Croatia) whose mission will be to connect digital nomads in Croatia and support them. We are currently in the process of founding this association," said de Jong, who is entering the project with Tanja Polegubić, a returnee from Australia who runs Saltwater Nomads - remote work and lifestyle services for digital nomads in Split, and Karmela Tancabel, a member of the Ilok Cellars (Iločki podrumi) Marketing and Export Board.

The plan is to complete the legislative part to introduce a digital nomad visa by the end of the year, and visas should be available in the first quarter of 2021. In addition to the legal regulation of the status of digital nomads, the draft of the Law on Foreigners brings some other changes.

"The most important novelty is prescribing a new model of employment of foreigners, according to which the employer must first request the implementation of the labor market test from the Employment Bureau to find labor on the domestic market. If there are no unemployed in Croatia, then a request is sent to the Ministry of the Interior seeking an opinion from the Croatian Employment Service. Exceptions to this test are for deficit professions that are usually used during the season," said Interior Minister Davor Božinović at the Government session.

In the draft of the Law on Foreigners, a digital nomad is defined as a third-country national who is employed or performs business through communication technology for a company or own company that is not registered in the Republic of Croatia and does not perform work or provide services to employers in the Republic of Croatia.

For the latest about the digital nomad scene in Croatia, follow the dedicated TCN news section.

Wednesday, 16 September 2020

Croatia to be Among First Countries to Introduce Digital Nomad Visa: Here's What It Means

September 16, 2020 - Will Croatia be one of the first countries to introduce a digital nomad visa? A closer look into what this means for the country.

Vecernji List reports that digital nomads are people that work online, and all they really need is a high-speed internet connection. Thus, they can have a temporary office on the beach, in a cafe, on a train, in a park, or wherever the internet is fast and accessible enough. For this reason, digital nomads like to switch up the places and countries they work, because they are their own employer or are almost never obliged to meet their employers. They are mostly IT experts, writers, journalists, designers, or various creatives, and there are more and more jobs that can be done remotely due to technological advances and the development of online tools. Soon, digital nomads could become frequent Croatian guests, and Croatia could be one of the few countries in the world that will regulate the status of digital nomads and issue them a digital nomad visa.

The first step has been taken, the institute of digital nomads has been included in the proposal of the Foreigners Act, which had its first reading in Parliament on Friday, and should be debated and adopted by the end of the year and come into force at the beginning of 2021. 

Credit is due to Dutch entrepreneur Jan De Jong, who is mostly responsible for bringing digital nomads to the attention of Croatian legislation. Namely, when asked what Croatia should do to improve its revenues, help Croatian companies survive, and make Croatia a year-round destination, not just a temporary visit for tourists in the three summer months, Jan answered that Croatia needs to regulate the rules on digital nomads, create a digital nomad visa, and open up the country to the world. 

"Unfortunately, we have seen that many Croats leave Croatia solely for economic reasons. They didn't leave because they did not like the lifestyle in Croatia. Who wouldn't want to live in Croatia if you could live here on a German, Austrian, Swiss or Dutch salary? And that's where I see a big new industry emerging in Croatia - digital nomad tourism," wrote Jan De Jong and listed the advantages of Croatia, such as EU membership, great lifestyle, good internet, amazing climate, security, and affordable private health care.

Jan De Jong is interesting from several angles and has been on the Zagreb - Split route living his Croatian dream for almost 14 years. He arrived from the Netherlands to study and stayed. He started a business, successfully sold it, started a new one, and is just about to start another. But this time, we won’t tell you the story of Jan, his companies, his family, and business plans. This is the story of his mission to push Croatia in the direction that unites tourism and work, and of course, consequently generates additional revenues for the state and the economy.

Jan De Jong did not invent digital nomads, the nomad trend strengthened even before the corona crisis, but what he did was openly send a letter to Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic on his Linkedin profile, urging him to address the issue of digital nomads and Croatia's position on that map. The Prime Minister reacted, invited him for an interview, listened to and acknowledged him, and enabled him to explain his initiative to the authorities in the Ministry of the Interior, the Ministry of Tourism, the Ministry of Labor, and the Ministry of Finance. In his open letter, Jan very simply explained why the digital nomad visa is needed.

"Imagine, give these digital nomads the right to come and work from Croatia to the maximum. Twelve months - regardless of citizenship according to the digital nomad visa. Many apartments that are empty out of season could find new tenants. The salaries that digital nomads earn will be spent in Croatia, resulting in a huge boost to our economy through consumption. If we open Croatia to tourists, why not open this country to highly paid digital nomads?" he wrote to the Prime Minister.

Namely, considering his own experience of living and working in Croatia, the development of technology, and the conditions of the corona crisis, Jan De Jong considers Croatia an ideal destination for work, for all those who can work remotely. The result of the first post, which highlights Croatia's advantages, achieved an impressive 300,000+ views, more than 4,000 likes, and a series of messages from people from all over the world, who are seriously considering temporarily moving to Croatia. The main question in the messages was how to run it and defining the conditions that need to be met. A wheel that would enable digital nomadism to be regulated in Croatia has been launched. As Jan De Jong said, he will have a meeting with the Minister of Finance and more concrete talks on models and solutions for digital nomadism in Croatia.

According to his estimate, by the end of the year, we could have a complete model on the table. However, property census, taxes, health care, insurance, accommodation, and residence needs to be resolved. When we talk about digital nomads, in a broader sense of the word, we are talking about those who need only an office and the Internet to work. In the corona crisis, digital nomads also became everyone who moved work in the office to their permanent place of residence, or, for example, to their parent's home or a holiday house. The story is simple when it comes to the migration of people within their own country, but it is a bit more complicated if we talk about residents of European Union countries and the wider European economic area who work remotely, change countries, and rent a house or apartment for an extended period in Croatia.

However, digital nomadism is greatly complicated when we talk about third-country nationals who would like to spend a long time, such as a year, in Croatia, and work for Google, Facebook, or another foreign company or are freelancers. 

The first step, therefore, has been taken, and that is that the Government has passed a proposal for the Foreigners Act, which also includes the term digital nomads when it comes to a residence in Croatia for residents of third countries. The current law does not allow third-country nationals to move to Croatia temporarily, for a longer period of time. To begin with, they need a visa, and when it is granted, it is usually issued for a maximum of three months, and even then it is only a tourist visa, which means that legally, they should not even work in that period.

The new bill would allow digital nomads to work during those three months, and their temporary stay can last a maximum of 12 months, with the proviso that they can request it again only after six months of living abroad. For now, the property census has not been determined, and it is only certain that it will be higher than the one prescribed for, for example, family reunification or other reasons why third-country residents apply for long-term work or residence visas.

However, this part, as well as a number of other parameters that should be regulated such as taxes and insurance, should be adopted separately, by Government decree. As Jan De Jong said, a kind of working group, composed of representatives of the ministries, have started working, and so far, they have been informed about the various forms for countries like Estonia and their regulations. De Jong believes that we should look at Croatia's comparative advantages, that is, how Croatia can be more competitive. For example, who would be a good consumer in Croatia and with what salary, should be discussed.

Digital nomads could become a new revenue-generating trend, especially when it comes to younger age groups, those without families and school children, but perhaps also families who tend to move their lives from destination to destination. It was the corona crisis that pointed to these opportunities, and it seems that the Croatian Prime Minister, at least judging by the reaction on social media after meeting with Jan De Jong, saw an opportunity for Croatia, and said that Croatia would be among the first in the world to introduce a digital nomad visa. The idea of digital nomadism and remote work that would be an additional lure for tourists to come and spend in Croatia has already been embraced and is actively considered in some cities, such as Dubrovnik.

Mayor Mate Frankovic said that they are preparing a lot for this part of tourism. He will soon hold a conference in partnership with Saltwater Workspace and Total Croatia News on the topic of digital nomads, and they already have projects and spaces ready that would be suitable for nomads, from accommodation to coworking spaces. He especially praised his cooperation with one telecommunications company on high-speed internet, because high-speed internet, according to Frankovic, is a very important precondition for attracting these hybrid guest workers.

For the latest travel info, bookmark our main travel info article, which is updated daily

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Wednesday, 12 August 2020

Istria Strives to be Top Destination for IT Professionals, Not Just Tourists

August 12, 2020 - Istria has long been known as a top tourist destination. However, companies from the ICT sector operating through the ICT Istria Expert Group and the Croatian Chamber of Commerce in Pula decided to further brand the quality of life of their region to attract top professionals and companies.

HRTurizam writes that that is why a Branding Strategy has been developed that promotes Istria as an ideal place to live, work and study. The goal is to create a stimulating business environment in which the competencies of the sector will create significant benefits not only for ICT companies but also for the economy of the entire county.

"The strategy will enable us better visibility and recognizability of our activities aimed at local self-government units, the academic community and the general public, all to popularize ICT in Istria. This sector can be a generator of strategic economic growth in the region, but it needs the support of the local community, not in business because they are top experts in their field, but in removing bureaucratic obstacles and the order of society itself," Dean Verbanac, President of the IT Group of Istria, points out, adding that through the development of the strategy, they have established the key advantages that Istria can offer as an ICT destination, but also identified the problems.

"Specifically, our shortcoming is the lack of professional staff. Joint action is needed to influence the creation of staff that will remain there. And not only that - we want to bring young ICT professionals to Istria," says Verbanac.

The corona crisis has shown the strength of the ICT sector, and now is the right time for the region to impose itself as an attractive destination for digital nomads. This requires the help of the state, i.e., the regulation of such a form of work that will enable experts to work for any world company and enjoy all the benefits of living in the local area.

The fact that innovative ICT companies such as Infobip, Inter Soft Technologies, Infosit are already operating successfully in Istria, achieving global success and representing a great development perspective certainly helps to attract experts. They are focused on new technologies, and often their clients are the world's leading companies in their segments. Thus, good foundations are already there.

The branding strategy defines five values ​​of Istria - courage, excellence, local value, openness and ease of living. The problematic points are, in addition to the already mentioned lack of human resources, finding accommodation for professionals and bureaucracy.

Work is already being done on the visual identity of the ICT Istra Association, which will communicate the balance between business and private life, and on the other hand, show the diversity of advanced solutions that emerge in a. positive environment. This is precisely the comparative advantage that is important to emphasize nowadays in order to attract domestic and foreign IT talents.

A great new direction, added value and upgrade to tourism. Istria is an ideal destination for digital nomads.

For the latest travel info, bookmark our main travel info article, which is updated daily

Read the Croatian Travel Update in your language - now available in 24 languages

Join the Total Croatia Travel INFO Viber community.

 

Tuesday, 28 July 2020

Split-Based Dutch Entrepreneur Jan de Jong: Croatia Should Introduce Visas for Digital Nomads

July 28, 2020 - Dutch entrepreneur Jan de Jong believes that Croatia should introduce visas for digital nomads as soon as possible, following the example of Estonia.

The coronavirus pandemic brought the world to a halt. Most work was done from home, and meetings and conferences were held via online video platforms.

Even now, many workers around the world are still working remotely, which Split-based Dutch entrepreneur Jan de Jong sees as a massive opportunity for the Croatian economy.

Namely, Dutchman Jan Je Jong moved to Croatia 13 years ago and now calls Split home. He believes that Croatia should introduce visas for digital nomads as soon as possible, following the example of Estonia, which implemented them about a month ago.

"Digital nomads are people who can work remotely, are not tied to one place, and they only need internet access. They choose this way of working while traveling the world. With the coronavirus pandemic forcing many companies to allow telecommuting, the trend has accelerated.

Forecasts say that by 2035, there will be about a billion digital nomads in the world. I believe that digital nomad tourism is a huge opportunity for Croatia because it can turn it into a year-round destination," explains Jan.

He adds that Estonia was a hit in international media with its move because it was the first country to introduce a visa for digital nomads, thus inviting highly skilled and highly paid teleworkers to their country, where they would ultimately live for a while and spend their salaries.

Their example was quickly followed by countries such as Barbados and Georgia. It would be an excellent promotion for Croatia if they showed leadership in presenting a visa for digital nomads. Time is crucial in this and I suggest that we do not invent a circuit but take the Estonian model and apply it to us. For example, their conditions for obtaining a visa are proof that you can work remotely, you can only work for foreign companies and clients, i.e., non-Estonians, and the minimum monthly income should be 3,500 euros before taxes," says Jan.

With a visa, digital nomads from all over the world could legally come to Croatia and work for a maximum of one year, but also travel and enjoy the benefits of the state.

"The main advantage for Croatia is year-round tourism and the arrival of highly paid workers who would not take jobs and spend their salaries in Croatia. There are currently 50,000 digital nomads in Bali, which has a similar population as Croatia. If these figures could be achieved in Croatia, assuming that each nomad would spend about ten thousand kuna a month for living, i.e., renting an apartment and a car, groceries, going to the hairdresser and dentist, etc., they could reach 500 million kuna, which goes directly into the budget monthly.

Digital nomads would be important for Croatia in terms of marketing, because they would share their experiences, videos and photos with their friends, but also on social networks, which would be a free promotion," Jan points out, adding that this would be a great way to start 2021.

He explains that a visa is not required for citizens of the European Union, but that is why it is, for example, for citizens of the USA. Jan adds that digital nomads from America can now legally stay in Croatia for three months on a tourist visa, and they are not officially allowed to work, although many freelancers do so. He points out that if we offer digital nomads the legal basis to stay in the country for a maximum of 12 months and work, perhaps more and more global companies will allow their employees to do just that for a certain period of time.

"Remember my words. Soon this will no longer be so innovative, as I expect many countries to follow the example of Estonia. It would be amazing to see Croatia as a leader in this; let's not wait for it to become a global standard. This time, Croatia has the opportunity to be among the first. We have opened the borders for tourists, why not open them for highly paid digital nomads as well?" adds Jan.

A few days ago, on LinkedIn, Jan published an open letter to the Prime Minister, Andrej Plenkovic, but he has not yet received a response.

"The support I received is simply amazing. I can say that people in Croatia and abroad liked the idea of visas for digital nomads. So far, I have not received an official response from the Prime Minister's Office, but my post on LinkedIn is full of messages from people around the world who want to know more about how they can come to Croatia to work and live for a limited period of time.

Everyone is interested in how this can be done, regarding taxes and residence permits. That is why a visa for digital nomads is important, in order to provide answers to all these questions," concluded Jan.

Source: Bankar.me

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