Thursday, 8 September 2022

More and More Foreign Workers in Croatia, Where are They From?

September the 8th, 2022 - There are more and more foreign workers in Croatia, but where do they come from and what sort of work do they typically take up?

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, given the fact that Croats have been leaving the country for years to try to find better opportunities, more stability and the chance to comfortably make ends meet, the laboyr market in Croatia has been (as expected) seriously disrupted and burdened by a severe lack of labour for some time now. According to the statistics of the Croatian Employment Service (CES), among the most sought-after professions for which a positive opinion was issued in the period from January to August 2022, are precisely those related to construction.

The most work permits for foreign workers have been issued for the following trades: construction workers (6,476), followed by masons (5,194), civil engineering workers (3,359), carpenters (3,299), locksmiths (2,265), welders (2,231), facade workers (2,161), electricians ( 1,727) and installers of building elements (1,645). The Ministry of the Interior (MUP) confirmed for the Baustela.hr portal that an increase in the number of residence and work permits has been observed in recent years. Back in 2019, 72,523 such permits were issued, in 2020, 66,655, and in the last year, this number increased to 81,995 permits for foreign workers.

This year, and only until July the 31st, 77,205 permits for foreign workers were issued. Of these, 48,167 were for new employment, 14,294 were permit extensions, and 14,744 were for seasonal employment. This means that in the last three months alone, 25,689 foreign workers requested such permits.

In addition, according to the data currently available to the Ministry of Interior, and regarding the citizenships of foreigners who were issued residence and work permits, the largest number this year was issued to citizens of: Bosnia and Herzegovina (23,799), Serbia (13,764), Macedonia (7,468), Nepal (7,141) and Kosovo (5,407). Regarding the activities in which foreign nationals are mostly employed in in Croatia, construction is the leader (29,702), followed by catering, hospitality and tourism (26,211), industry (9,467), transport and communications (3,765), and agriculture and fishing (1,678).

From the data they received from the Ministry of the Interior, regarding the extended permits, there is a huge numerical difference between the activities. A massive 8,517 were extended in construction, while 1,138 were extended in catering, hospitality and tourism, and only 355 were extended in trade.

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated business section.

Wednesday, 17 August 2022

From Ukraine to India - Around 100,000 Foreign Workers in Croatia

August the 17th, 2022 - There are more and more foreign workers in Croatia from all over the world. There will soon be more than 100,000, in fact, with employees having come from nearby war-torn Ukraine to all the way from India and beyond.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, RTL talked about the growing number of foreign workers in Croatia, but also how we might work to retain the ''homegrown'' labour force from Croatia, with the CEO of the Croatian Association of Employers (HUP), Damir Zoric.

The Republic of Croatia will soon exceed the number of 100,000 work permits having been issued for foreign (non EEA) workers, and Zoric said that the cause of this is the large demographic changes that Croatia is still going through, the increasing numbers of the younger generation leaving Croatia to work elsewhere, and the paradoxical situation of the outflow of labour on the one hand, but also economic growth on the other.

"The Croatian economy has to find its way and now requires the import of labour," he told RTL. He also said that highly qualified workers and low-qualified workers, of which there are very many, come to Croatia.

"These are workers in service industries, primarily in tourism, hospitality and catering, they're also construction workers who are extremely needed and in high demand, and there are some of them working in agriculture in seasonal jobs. Croatia is dominated by foreigners who come from neighbouring countries, traditionally for them, Croatia is the area where they find work. There are more and more people coming from Asian countries, but also from Ukraine and the Philippines," he said.

He also said that employers only have words of praise for foreign workers in Croatia. "People praise them, saying that they're extremely hardworking, disciplined, yes, of course they need a period of adjustment, which is natural, but I don't know of a single case where people have expressed themselves in any sort of negative manner," he said.

He also commented on whether the days have passed when local workers worked in hospitality, tourism and catering establishments on the coast, considering that there are more and more foreign workers in Croatia doing such jobs. "We need to see what happens in certain Western countries. When you arrive at a hotel in Paris, it's rare to see a native Frenchman working there, these are people who have sought happiness in work and life in France. Croatia is on that path and it will not stop now," he said.

He also commented on whether foreign workers in Croatia work under conditions and for wages that Croats don't want to work for.

"Everything is a matter of the market, it's about the relationship between demand and supply. For some, a salary of 500 or 600 euros is good, for some it isn't, and that's why what is happening is that some people leave and some come," he said. When asked how we might retain the local workforce, Zoric said: "Net wages need to be higher for Croatia to be more attractive to people with a higher educational structure, more complex knowledge and more demanding occupations.''

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated politics section.

Monday, 27 January 2020

Brits in Croatia: Can Brits Still Move to Croatia After Brexit Day?

January the 27th, 2020 - On the 31st of January, 2020, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland left the European Union after over forty years of membership. For some, on both sides of the English channel, Britain's departure is a joyous event, and for others - a time of deep sadness. Emotions aside, let's look at the practicalities for Brits in Croatia.

I've covered the Brexit saga from day one when it comes to Brits in Croatia and what it means for their residence rights, their driving licenses, their access the labour market and to health care in Croatia after Brexit and much more.

We've looked in depth at what Brexit with a deal means for Brits in Croatia, and what a potential no deal Brexit means for Brits in Croatia. Several articles have been written in an attempt to provide the best information possible for Croatia's resident Brits, and many emails back and forth with MUP and the EU have allowed us to bring you the clarity you need.

Long story short, all Brits in Croatia who have been living here legally under EU law (in this case freedom of movement) and have the residence documents (either temporary or permanent residence) to prove it, are entitled to stay regardless of the outcome of the Brexit negotiations, meaning that whether Boris Johnson manages to strike a deal or not - British citizens with valid residence permits are entitled to stay and will be protected either under the Withdrawal Agreement or by Article 75 of the Croatian Law on EEA nationals and their family members.

JARGON BUSTER: 

Withdrawal Agreement/Orderly Brexit - Brits in Croatia are protected by the Withdrawal Agreement and Croats in the UK are too, but they must still apply for Settled status before June 2021.

No deal Brexit after December 2020 (or later if the transition period is extended) - Brits in Croatia are protected by Article 75 of the law on EEA nationals and their family members and Croats are protected unilaterally by the UK by applying for Settled status (the equivalent of permanent residence/Indefinite Leave to Remain).

Now that things are clear for Brits already living in Croatia and indeed Croats already living in the UK, what about those planning to make the move but won't be able to do so before Brexit day on the 31st of January?

Because the UK's Withdrawal Agreement has been ratified, the eleven months of the UK's transition (implementation) period will begin on the 1st of February, 2020. During the transition, nothing will change for travellers. British passport holders can still freely use the EU lines at EU airports and the EHIC (European Health Insurance Card) remains valid.

British nationals will not need any type of visa to go to the EU or to enter Schengen even after the transition period ends.

This eleven month period will continue until December 2020, and will potentially be extended after that. During this period, Brits who want to make the move to Croatia, or indeed to any other EEA country, are more than entitled to do so under European Union law which will still apply to the UK throughout the transition period. The same is true for Croats or indeed any other EU citizen who wants to make the move to Britain during these eleven (and potentially more) months.

What will my post Brexit rights be if I move to Croatia during the transition period? Will they differ from the rights afforded to those who made the move before that?

Your rights will be the same as those of EU citizens, this includes British citizens already living in Croatia. You have the right to move, reside, and register your temporary residence under EU rules in Croatia. In short, no, your rights will not be any different to those who moved to Croatia before Brexit day.

You can find out more about how to apply for residence here (scroll down to the rules for EEA citizens).

Why is the transition period only eleven months long?

Because of the repeated extensions to Brexit, which was originally meant to happen two years after Article 50 was invoked and occur back in March 2019, the transition period will now only be a measly eleven months long.

What about when the transition period ends, either in December 2020 or later on?

When the transition period ends, things will become more difficult for Brits to move to Croatia or elsewhere in the EEA. The British Government wants to end freedom of movement, so unless some other sort of bespoke agreement is reached, the right to simply come and reside in Croatia is likely to alter. 

A lot of what will happen after the end of the transition period is complete guesswork at this moment in time as many decisions on the UK's future relationship with the EU will be decided during the next eleven (or more) months. However, Brits who do decide to move to Croatia after the transition period in which all EU law continues to apply to the UK ends, will be treated as third country nationals.

What does that mean?

Third country nationals are nationals from outside of the EEA. These people can non-Europeans such as American, Australian or Canadian citizens, or they can be other Europeans from outside of the EEA, such as Ukrainians, Belarusians or Macedonians.

Gaining residence in Croatia is notoriously hard for them. Keeping hold of it is also difficult as third country nationals are afforded much less freedom when it comes to travel outside of Croatian borders. EU citizens can be out of the country for six months per year without it affecting their residence. Third country nationals must have a good reason if they want to be out for more than 30 days in a row or risk the termination of their permits. The list of ''cons'' for third country nationals is very long. You will absolutely still be able to move here, but it will not be a right governed by EU law and you will face ridiculous hurdles and additional costs.

If I apply for residence during the transition period, what rights will I be granted and have protected?

You will be able to apply under much easier EU rules. 

You will have free access to the Croatian labour market and you will not need a work permit.

You will be able to be self employed.

Your right to live and work in Croatia will be protected by the authorities.

You will be able to apply for permanent residence under the same rules in five years.

Once you secure permanent residence in Croatia, you can be out of the country for as long as five years in a row without losing it. Unlike other EEA citizens, who can only be out for two years in a row.

These are what are often known as acquired rights and most importantly of all - you will not be treated as a third country national.

OUR ADVICE:

If you want to move to Croatia and you're a British national, do so before the end of December 2020 to be treated as an EU citizen and be protected by the Withdrawal Agreement or by Article 75 in Croatian law.

If you already live in Croatia and for some reason or another haven't registered your temporary residence - do so now.

If you already live in Croatia and have done for five years with legal, uninterrupted temporary residence (absences of six months per year are allowed) apply for your permanent residence permit now.

A list of useful links from TCN:

(Please note that some of the names, such as former PM Theresa May, and former Brexit dates that never happened may be included in the links provided below. Ignore them but understand that all of the information remains relevant)

What the Withdrawal Agreement means for Brits in Croatia and Croats in the UK

Brexit Brits in Croatia - Simplified jargon for Croatia's British residents

Brexit Brits in Croatia - MUP's guidelines in the event of any scenario

Brits in Croatia - How Croatia will protect your rights deal or no deal (latest article with the newest info!)

A useful link from MUP:

Information concerning the future relations between the UK and the EU

Follow our politics page for more on Brexit.

Friday, 27 September 2019

Expats in Croatia: How to Change Your Address at MUP

September the 27th, 2019 - Croatia doesn't like change. It doesn't like the idea of being dragged into the 21st century either. If you're wondering how to go about respecting the law and altering your address, read on.

I've written many articles on residence permits, citizenship through descent, marriage, naturalisation and special interest, work permits, Croatian and EU immigration law - basically bureaucracy galore.

In this beautiful country full of outdated websites and unelected government officials (the women are ''affectionately'' known as šalteruše) who can't keep up with the constantly changing laws or even manage a smile on the best of days, it's no wonder that Croatia's increasing number of foreign residents need a little helping hand from time to time.

Changing your address should be a simple affair, and in just about everywhere else, it is. You can likely do it online in a few clicks or you don't even need to do it at all. Ah, freedom. Not in Croatia, however. If you're a foreign national and you hold a valid residence permit (either temporary residence/privremeni boravak or permanent residence/stalni boravak), and you've moved house, you'll need to notify the police. 

Sarcasm aside, there has been a helpful little system set up called e-Građani (e-Citizens), which allows you to undertake many of the mundane tasks which used to always involve going to various offices in person armed with an array of personal documents and petty cash for tax stamps. But, of course, this doesn't work for everyone, so you'll need to do it in person.

If you have approved legal residence in Croatia and you move to a new city, you'll need to notify the police in your new city (at the administrative police station responsible for your area), of your arrival, and register your address there if you intend to stay there for more than three months consecutively.

In Croatia, you can have two addresses (yes, let's complicate things for no reason even more), one of them is called a boravište, and the other is called a prebivalište.

A boravište is a place where a person will be staying temporarily, but has no intention of permanently staying there. In that case, you don't need to register your boravište if you don't plan on staying there for more than three months in a row (as mentioned above).

A prebivalište is a place where a person plans to stay permanently, to live their lives (this includes exercising their rights, working, having a family, etc etc). If you've changed your prebivalište, then you'll need to report it to the police at the administrative station responsible for the area your address is in.

If you live in Croatia legally, you're obliged to report any changes to your address to Big Broth...sorry, I mean MUP.

The law states that you need to report your change of address within fifteen days, however, if you hold temporary residence, you need to register your new address within three days of you having arrived there. If you hold permanent residence then you need to do it within eight days. Is this law always followed? Honestly - no, it isn't

More often that not, you won't be asked about when you arrived at your new place, particularly if you're an EU citizen. I'm not advocating that you break the law, but this stipulation is difficult to come by if you don't speak Croatian, so just don't volunteer that information if you realise you've unknowingly gone over that time period, unless you're specifically asked.

If you have a rental contract which stipulates specific dates, then simply make sure to report your change of address within the time period prescribed, so as to avoid any potential headaches or even fines from the police.

THE PROCEDURE:

You'll need to fill in an ''application form'' to change your address (yes, really, it's called form 8a) for foreigners which you'll be given when at the police station responsible for your area. 

You'll need to provide the correctly filled in form with your new address on it.

You'll need to provide your passport and/or your government issued ID card, as well as your Croatian ID card.

You'll need to provide a rental contract (notarised) or a certificate of ownership, a purchase contract, a gift contract, or have your landlord/the person legally responsible for your address come with you to the police to sign a document confirming the whole situation is indeed real.

The administrative clerk will then stamp your filled in application form.

You'll then need to have a new ID card made with your new address on it. So, that will involve having a new photo taken and paying the small administrative fee of (what is currently) 79.50 kuna. Your new ID card will typically be ready in about three or four weeks. Oh, and you'll need to come and pick that up in person, of course.

It's worth noting that some people have been told that they don't need to update their ID cards. This is a grey area, with some administrative police stations asking you to do this, and some not. In any case, it is what MUP in Zagreb prescribes and you absolutely should have an updated address on your current ID card so as to avoid administrative issues, and indeed issues with the police.

Please note that changing your address is not a new residence permit application, but the requirement for a new residence card to have your current address on it is simply a formality and its validity will remain the same.

Don't be surprised if the police come to check that you really do live at your new address. However, this is happening less and less frequently, especially for EU citizens.

While it seems extremely outdated to many that time often needs to be taken up by visiting MUP in person and filling in forms as opposed to the wonderful digital process (which Croatia isn't a fan of) of doing it all online, it's worth knowing the ins and outs of what should be a very simple formality. 

We hope this helps you if you've changed your address and aren't sure what steps to take next to stay on the right side of the law.

Follow our dedicated lifestyle page for more.

Monday, 10 June 2019

American YouTuber in Croatia: What the Internet WON'T Tell You!

Recently we wrote an article on Kaleigh Hendershot, an American YouTuber living near Zagreb who uploads typically comical videos about her life in Croatia, making various comparisons with her life back in the United States, funny Croatian customs, and how she's had to adapt to life here. 

She began uploading a series of videos entitled ''Living in Croatia'' which still have a satirical undertone, which is a reflection of her obviously comical personality, but look at the more serious and practical aspects of moving to Croatia, and what it's like to live and work here.

In her latest addition to the Living in Croatia series, Kaleigh discusses an array of topics specific to Croatia, covering things that the good old Internet is unlikely to tell you, such as how long you'll need to wait for the most basic of things to be dealt with by the state, and why you should probably kiss the easy use of shopping platforms like Amazon a kiss goodbye.

From the infamous Croatian bureaucratic system and a touch of corruption, to the temperament, the sluggish effects of južina (southern wind) and the endless hospitality and kindness that is typical of Croats. She covers much more in her latest video, aimed at informing those who are planning on making the move of several things they're unlikely to know about until they get here.

If you'd like to have a laugh at some of the realities that you were harshly confronted with when first moving to Croatia, or if you'd like to know what obstacles you might be in for when you arrive here, give Kaleigh's video a click. 

Make sure to stay up to date by following our dedicated lifestyle page for much more. If you'd like to subscribe to Kaleigh's channel for more videos on Croatia, from the dangers of the dreaded propuh to how to move here as a US citizen, click here.

Saturday, 27 April 2019

3 Faze Učenja za Strance u Hrvatskoj: Ljubav, Mržnja & Nirvana

Život stranaca koji su već dulje vrijeme u Hrvatskoj prilično je zabavan.

Naravno, to sa sobom donosi i potrebu za određenom dozom prihvaćanja. Kao što smo već vidjeli, na primjer,je li u redu da stranac u Hrvatskoj ima mišljenje?

Nakon što naučite da vam nije dopušteno imati mišljenje, druga važna stvar koju trebate prihvatiti da biste živjeli u miru jest da će se, bez obzira na to što rekli, netko usprotiviti i započeti raspravu. Stoga ili imajte vrlo debelu kožu ili nemojte ništa govoriti.

Razmišljao sam o svemu tome nedavno uz hladno pivo i počeo osjećati blagu paniku. Kristina Ercegović, koja vodi poduzetnički klub Business Cafe, pozvala me da govorim na prvom izdanju Business Cafe Internationala, na kojemu su stranci koji posluju u Hrvatskoj dobili prigodu održati predavanja i međusobno se upoznatu, te se pridružiti njezinoj odanoj ekipi uspješnih hrvatskih poduzetnika.

Govorenje u javnosti jedna je od rijetkih stvari u životu koje se grozim više od blitve i kelja pupčara, no Kristina je bila vrlo uvjerljiva pa sam se u društvu svojeg piva nekoliko dana prije događanja počeo pitati što bih zapravo trebao reći. Sasvim sigurno nisam najuspješniji poslovni čovjek koji se ikad pojavio na ovim prostorima, pa je bio popriličan izazov odazvati se pozivu da iznesem svoje savjete brojnim uspješnim poduzetnicima.

A onda je netko prokomentirao jedan od mojih postova s nekom pozitivnom porukom o Hrvatskoj koju sam objavio na društvenim mrežama. Negativna reakcija, s porukom da ću jednog dana napokon shvatiti kakva je Hrvatska, a zatim i val uvreda.

Bio sam vrlo zahvalan tom kritičaru budući da mi je pružio ideju za moju prezentaciju, za koju sam bio siguran da će zainteresirati publiku, kao i prikriti činjenicu da jednostavno nemam neki pametni poslovni savjet koji bih mogao dati.

Tri Faze Učenja za Strance u Hrvatskoj: Ljubav, Mržnja & Nirvana

Kad kažem nešto pozitivno o Hrvatskoj, ljudi se smiju, a kad kritiziram, onda me vrijeđaju. To je vrlo zanimljivo. No, shvatio sam da je iskustvo stranaca koji žive ovdje povezano s fazom u kojoj se nalaze od ukupno tri faze učenja. Upoznajmo ih sada redom.

Faza 1 – Ljubav (oko 70% stranaca, možda i više)

Proveo sam 13 godina života u Hrvatskoj zaglavljen u fazi 1, a bilo je puno situacija u kojima sam žalio što sam ušao u drugu fazu, no s tim je sada napokon kraj jer je treća faza najbolja od svih.

Što se ima za ne voljeti u vezi s Hrvatskom? Predivno turističko odredište, zapanjujuća priroda, opušten način život, sjajno vrijeme, divna hrana i vino, i daleko niže cijene od država kao što je Velika Britanija. Nisu samo turisti oni koji žive u prvoj fazi.

Mnogi stranci koji žive ovdje također su zaglavljeni u toj fazi, kao što sam i ja bio toliko dugo. Ako ne govorite jezik, teško je pratiti što se doista događa u državi. S toliko puno drugih stranaca s kojima se možete družiti, dodir sa stvarnim svakodnevnim životom u Predivnoj Hrvatskoj ograničen je na povremene bitke s birokracijom kako bi se dobila poneka dozvola ili možda njih tri.

Zarađujete li dovoljno za život (a mnogi to rade preko interneta ili s prihodima izvan Hrvatske), onda je faza 1 života u Hrvatskoj dosta dobra. I svesrdno je preporučam.

Faza 2 - Mržnja (oko 25% stranaca)

If life is so good then, why is everybody always complaining and all the young people leaving? 

Ako je život tako dobar, zašto se onda svi neprestano žale, a mladi odlaze?

Dolazimo do faze 2 – Mržnje. Krivac za pokretanje TCN-a u potpunosti je moj prijelaz iz faze 1 u fazu 2. S današnjeg gledišta, ne mogu vjerovati koliko sam naivan bio kad sam pomislio da bih mogao pokrenuti informativni portal o državi o kojoj se moje poznavanje, uz iznimku otoka Hvara, ograničavalo na barove u Dioklecijanovoj palači i maleni djelić središta Zagreba. Priča o dvije Hrvatske: prije i poslije otkrića Uhljeba, bila je poput otvaranja Pandorine kutije (samo još gore). Nakon što sam ušao u svijet moćne države Uhljebistan, idilična Hrvatska iz faze 1 zauvijek je izgubljena. 

Počeo sam se daleko češće tuširati. Nisam mogao vjerovati o brojnim pričama o otvorenoj korupciji, nepotizmu i tragična svjedočenja onih koji nemaju ništa, a koje su bile realnost za milijune izvan mojeg izoliranog i predivnog Hvara iz faze 1.

Nepravde i nejednake mogućnosti, toliki mladi koji odlaze ne zato što ne mogu pronaći posao, nego zato što su isključeni iz sustava u kojemu se mogućnosti otvaraju putem veza, a ne osobnih zasluga. Pridodamo li tome radost vođenja tvrtke u ovoj zemlji, neprestanu negativnost tolikih i na najmanju pozitivnu poruku, počeo sam se pitati: jesu li u pravu svi oni koji ismijavaju moju pozitivnost i predviđaju da će doći vrijeme kada ću i ja dignuti ruke od Hrvatske i otići? Počeo sam ozbiljno sumnjati, dok se moj odnos prema državi koju sam počeo voljeti mijenjao.

Faza 3 - Nirvana (oko 5 % stranaca)

Mračni trenuci faze 2 nužno su zlo da biste došli do faze 3 - Nirvane, što je najbolje stanje ako ste stranac u Hrvatskoj, barem po mojem mišljenju.

Iskreno i otvoreno pisanje o Hrvatskoj donijelo je i nešto dobro. Premda su članci i konstruktivna kritika izazivali val vrijeđanja, donosili su i poruke ohrabrenja. Iz cijele Hrvatske i dijaspore. Maleni mjehurići pozitivnosti iz cijele zemlje, od ljudi koji su već odavno digli ruke od Države, ali vole Hrvatsku i žele živjeti ovdje. U svojim mjehurićima, samo su minimalno dolazili u kontakt s Državom. Njihovi se mjehurići sastoje od Hrvatske njihovih prijatelja, obitelji, prirode i poslova –to je općenito vrlo sretna sredina u kojoj se usredotočuju na ono što je doista važno.

Jedna mi je hrvatska prijateljica rekla da ne prati politiku jer to jednostavno nema smisla. Osim svih negativnosti koje bi i anđele u raju dovele do uzimanja antidepresiva, nije imalo smisla i zato što se nikad ništa ionako neće promijeniti. Puno je bolje vrijeme provoditi planinarenjem po predivnim hrvatskim planinama, daleko od Uhljebistana.

Polagano, vrlo polagano, sve se više tih mjehurića počelo dodirivati. Bili su to mjehurići pozitivnosti koji plutaju po Uhljebistanu i ostaju imuni na ludilo oko njih. Ti su se mjehurići počeli povezivati, neki i putem TCN-a. Sjajne nove inicijative u medicinskom turizmu, poduzetništvu, kontaktima s novim naraštajem iseljeništva, idejama za očuvanje prirodnog okoliša i inovativni luksuzni turizam, kao i veća izloženost poticajnom svijetu i golemom potencijalu hrvatske IT industrije.

Dobro došli u Hrvatsku faze 3, vjerojatno najuzbudljivije i ponajviše okrepljujuće mjesto u kojemu sam živio u svojih 50 godina na ovom divnom planetu. Hrvatska takve pozitivnosti, dinamičnosti i inovativnosti s najluđim idejama da često liježem smijući se te se ustajem smijući se. Moja supruga još mi nije rekla da se smijem i u snu, no ni to me ne bi iznenadilo.

Za Hrvatsku faze 3 potrebno je razumjeti i prihvatiti način na koji Hrvatska funkcionira. I odnos s Uhljebistanom je drukčiji, kao što sam to objasnio na okupljanju Business Cafe Internationala, dio kojeg možete pogledati dolje.

Usporedio sam to s osobom koja voli piti, a živi u Norveškoj ili Švedskoj. U Skandinaviji postoji visok porez na alkohol, što je dio cijene koju plaćate za život tamo ako želite zadovoljiti svoju naviku ispijanja pića.

Isto je i s Hrvatskom, njezinim predivnim načinom života i prirodnim ljepotama. Dio cijene koju plaćate je porez na uhljebe. Platite ga, krenite dalje i okružite se mjehurićima pozitivnosti i mogućnosti.

Nadam se da će i neki od vas ubrzo doseći fazu 3. Riječ je o doista nadahnjujućem mjestu.

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Original text in English

Razmišljate o selidbi u Hrvatsku? Evo nekoliko naputaka o onome što biste trebali imati na umu na našim stranicama Hrvatska u 100 stranica Život u Hrvatskoj.

Sunday, 7 April 2019

Nigerian in Zagreb Opens Restaurant: "People With No Money Eat Free"

A touch of Africa in the heart of Zagreb, more precisely on Ilica 73 in central Zagreb, as Okoli Kikelomo from Nigeria officially opens her new (well, sort of) African restaurant ''MamaVeek's Kitchen''. ''We don't have a pricelist, people who don't have any money can come and eat for free,'' stated the warm-hearted Okoli.

As 24sata/Anamarija Milos writes on the 6th of April, 2019, the African bistro ''MamaVeek's Kitchen'' which moved from Ilica 69 to Ilica 73, was initially opened six years ago by Okoli Kikelomo who came to Croatia from Nigeria in search of a better life than what she felt Nigeria could offer her.

The opening of her new-yet-old restaurant officially began at 16:00 and Okoli said that there is no price list in her restaurant, people are free to leave donations, and those who don't have any money are more than welcome to come and eat for free, she also added that she would continue to serve only traditional African recipes in her kitchen.

Okoli arrived here in Croatia six years ago in search of a better life, and since then, she hasn't stopped - she founded a humanitarian association, organises various art workshops, she volunteers, but in spite of all her many activities, this ''jack of all trades'' is mostly devoted to cooking African food at ''MamaVeek's Kitchen''.

Okoli is a talented cook, and she learned it all from her grandmother, and she made her very own first dish eight years ago. Her passion for African cuisine is so strong that her desire is to transfer it to her visitors through her hard work in her African restaurant. The food served there is mostly bought at the Zagreb's Dolac market, but the exotic spices with which she enrich her traditional African dishes are sent to her from her mother who is back in Nigeria.

Despite her love of African cuisine, Okoli has taken on the task of learning to prepare and cook Croatian cuisine.

"In these past six years, I've learned how to prepare sarma and tripe in Croatia. I know how to make fish paprikaš too, but for my guests, especially for the opening, I'll prepare an African soup with meat and a special fish dish,'' Okoli noted.

Make sure to stay up to date by following our dedicated lifestyle page. If it's just the capital you're interested in, give Total Zagreb a follow.

 

Click here for the original article by Anamarija Milos for 24sata

Monday, 4 February 2019

From London to Croatia: A Foreign Teen's Adventures in Zagreb

The top three questions I get asked to this day by Uber drivers and colleagues alike are, ''What do you think of Zagreb?'', ''Why did you come here?', and ''What do you do here?''

In a brazen attempt to address the final question, I thought long and hard about what I could expose, what crazy stories I could tell, without telling too much. A few ideas came to mind that perfectly encapsulate my last year here, shedding light on what a foreign teen with no connections can experience when you give yourself up to chance.

From meeting strangers in the night to accidentally taking the wrong train to Budapest, I make up for the lost time spent in my room in England by playing into Zagreb’s strengths - drinking, socialising and working. It got to the point where I asked my friend “What I should I do tonight, I have nowhere to go!” and she responded crassly “How about going to that place that, you know, you PAY FOR ON A MONTHLY BASIS?, that little place called your apartment!”.

She gives good advice sometimes. I’ve managed to mould something out of nothing here and with little language skills thanks to those around me. I want to hammer that in, not at all to brag but because having read post after post in expat forums and online about “I want to travel to X place but I’m afraid of not making friends, I’m afraid of being lonely or stuck”, I can’t help but yell “It’s completely possible”.

One night I like to remember in particular, I found myself sitting tipsily in the corner of a karaoke bar with little recollection of the journey there. I was sat with people I had met only twice before (coffee once and that New Year’s night), drinking a decent 15 kuna glass of vodka and coke while periodically stealing sips of the friend next to me’s beer. He noticed eventually and bought me my own.

We were in an edgy and low-key karaoke bar, called Pračka (Croatian for sling or catapult), hidden in the centre of Zagreb. Let me clarify, I had little recollection of the journey there, in part due to my drunken state, but mainly because the bar was located on some street that looked like all other streets around it, at the bottom of a block of flats, indicated only by the entry door - a big, black metal door covered in stickers. I’m not sure how people manage to spot this sober let alone three Tomislav beers in to a night out.

I’ve come to have a few stand out memories of Pračka (Edit: I’m still unable to locate the bar on my own). One night was spent with a tram obsessive, a girl, and a man I’ve come to nickname Berlusconi. It was my first introduction to turbo folk and first lesson in how to awkwardly sing and dance along to a song you don’t know - a very important lesson for all new expats! As a result one of favourite folk songs is Kad Sam Bio Mlad by Riblja Corba.

The second was at an office party. Late into the night, I was waiting at the front of the queue for the bathroom. In an instant one of the doors threw open in a loud clamour. Out of the doors fell a couple, mid doggy style, who slammed their backs against the wall of the bathroom in full view of the entire queue and part of the club. We all burst into laughter and let me tell you, in this whole scene the couple were not phased (only a little surprised at the fall) and did not let it ruin their.. moment.

They promptly glanced at the crowd and closed the doors once again. Slightly taken aback, I accepted it for what it was and carried on with my queue waiting and got back to our group. The next singer was up, and I couldn’t help but laugh when I saw who rushed onto the stage but the same girl going at it in the ladies. A little unprepared she hurried onto the stage fixing her hair and proceeded to absolutely kill the song with the whole crowd singing with her. Girl, I salute your bravery.

What else have I done, well I've been travelling. First to Spain and by the time this is up I'll be bathing in the thermal baths of Budapest. What I love about Zagreb in addition to everything else I ramble about - it's a great location for taking a bus or BlaBla car around Europe for an affordable price.

Gone are the days of scraping together £200 for an all inclusive holiday to somewhere in Spain (Inbetweeners style) drinking as many cocktails as you can at the breakfast buffet to make the most of the all-inclusiveness. A friend of mine will often take a day trip into Italy when she has the time off work, while another friend just last month came back from a 5 day ski trip in Bosnia.

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Turning up the notch on the cringe, in true Mira style, trying to answer this question I found myself returning to the question of “Why do I do any of this?”. As a believer in personal privacy online, I find it difficult to write these (not so) monthly posts about my experiences. For the majority, I hope at the very least they are entertaining to read.

For others, I hope they help explain my situation, who I was and what I think about life in Zagreb. But for myself, I must remind myself why I write. I write for the young girl that I was. Hiding in my room, afraid of the world and afraid of giving life a serious chance, but yet desperately yearning for an escape. Typical teenager.

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I remember being fourteen trawling through sites about homestays abroad, how to get onto an exchange program, and I was desperate to get out into the world, Japan, Spain anywhere that would offer me excitement. I dreamt of swimming across the channel to France (if David Walliams could do it for charity, then surely I could do it too!). I thought about how I’d pack up my belongings in zip-lock bags so they’d float alongside me as I swam. I dreamt about running away to the eurostar and becoming a lowly waitress in Spain.

Sixteen came and I had been spending my time learning Japanese (you were right mom, it was just a phase). Planning how, when and where to go to become an English teacher there. Eighteen came and universities abroad were the topic of my free time. I write to give hope to the fourteen year old me cooped up in her room dreaming of suicide and life in another world. I write for my friend who, just last year, overcame some of his most fundamental fears and countered his psychological struggles (such as OCD) and travelled around Europe with a group of strangers totally off his own back. Creating memories I can’t help but admire. We were all typical teengers once!

I fantasized until I was finally met with the chance to leave. And so, in a rush against the clock, making the most of these teen years while I can, this last year has been a cacophony of unusual experiences interwoven with shifts at my equally unusual workplace, to create memories I’ll continue to tell.

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Soon you'll be able to read more at http://miramaughan.com, so watch this space!

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Sunday, 3 February 2019

Brexit and Croatia: How Croatia's Brits Should Prepare

We're still not sure how things stand entirely when it comes to Brexit, or whether it will happen at all. Despite the now agonising insanity of this senseless process, let's have a look at the current situation (which will probably have altered a few times before I finish this article. I wish I was being sarcastic).

After a trend of crushing defeats had become the humiliating norm for the enfeebled PM, Theresa May finally had her day (sort of) in the latest vote on various amendments to her withdrawal agreement. MPs voted against no deal - which should effectively take the catastrophic threat of the United Kingdom crashing out of the European Union without a deal in place at the end of next month off the table entirely - had it not been a non-binding amendment.

British MPs also voted against an Article 50 extension, which would have allowed for the two year window allowed for negotiations when a member state declares its intention to leave the bloc to be extended for a period which would have been agreed upon had it passed.

So, what happened in layman's terms? What happened is that the Commons continued the insanity by voting against a no deal, making it clear that the United Kingdom leaving the EU without a deal in place was not in anyone's interest, nor should it be the British Government's policy, but they also voted against extending the time needed for any further negotiations. A bit odd, you say? A bit chaotic? Yes, it is.

Instead, MPs gave Theresa May a mandate to go back to Brussels to attempt to renegotiate the troublesome Irish backstop, which acts as an insurance policy to prevent a hard border between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. The EU has already stated that the backstop is part of the deal and cannot be opened up again. Britain is, once again, experiencing an impasse. With the now internationally weakened United Kingdom stuck between a rock and a hard place, what does this mean for British nationals living and working in Croatia?

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A look at the current scenarios:

Theresa May's withdrawal agreement is ratified by the UK and the EU:

We've already covered what will happen if Theresa May's initial withdrawal agreement ends up being passed, which, as the clock runs down to the rapidly approaching and ominous date of March the 29th, when Britain is due to leave the European Union after over forty years of membership, could still end up being ratified.

If the British PM manages to arrange new terms with the EU regarding the hated Irish backstop, however unlikely, then the withdrawal agreement has decent chances of being ratified later this month. If that happens, the fate of British citizens in Croatia will be firmly secured. Life will go on as normal until the end of December, 2020, when the implementation period ends. If you are resident in Croatia, registered with the authorities and have a biometric residence permit (privremeni/stalni boravak), you'll continue life as you do now. You'll be able to apply for permanent residence as normal after racking up five years of legal residence in Croatia and as such gain almost all of the rights Croatian nationals enjoy, after a further three years, you can also apply for citizenship if you want to. If you already have permanent residence, you're already sorted.

Under May's deal, those with permanent residence will be allowed to leave their member state of residence for five consecutive years without losing their status, which essentially means you have it for life. Read this article for more detailed information on that.

Article 50 extension:

The clock is ticking, and the dreaded Brexit day is fast approaching. A delay is becoming increasingly likely, despite having been voted against recently, it doesn't mean this won't become necessary to avoid a tragic no deal exit. If this occurs, nothing will alter for you until a new Brexit date is confirmed.

EEA/EFTA style agreement:

Several countries, including Norway and Iceland, are in the European Economic Area but are not members of the EU, in fact. These two countries still abide by the four freedoms of the single market in order to obtain unrestricted access to it, one of which is the free movement of people, which means that should Britain opt for some sort of ''Norway-style agreement'' as a too-little-too-late Plan B, the free movement of citizens will remain as it is today. This means nothing will alter for you, and you don't need to do anything.

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No deal Brexit:

Should the world's fifth largest economy end up crashing out of the world's largest trading bloc without a deal in place, the consequences will be dire for the country's economy. Dark days would be ahead of a Britain all alone in the world, with the threat of the worst economic situation since the recession potentially becoming a reality, all normal thinking individuals want to avoid this horrendous possibility. Such a scenario would have an extremely negative impact on the UK and the EU, and this situation will likely never become government policy. Britain is a European country and needs close ties, and a free trade deal, with the EU.

As I have written before, many EU countries have already come out to reassure British citizens living in their countries that their rights will be protected if a no deal does end up happening, with some such as Malta being extremely generous and offering Brits permanent residency (a renewable document valid for ten years) should this occur.

The European Commission has asked EU member states, including Croatia, to take a ''generous approach to British citizens who are already living on their territories''.

While such comments are a disgraceful abandonment in the eyes of many, especially after the UK respectfully unilaterally guaranteed the rights of EU citizens already living in the UK, all three million of them, the EU cannot make a similar unilateral guarantee in the event of a no deal Brexit as it is not a national body. Despite that, the good intention of the EC/EU is clear - the expectation of member states to protect British citizens who have made life choices based on the treaty rights that derived from their citizenship of the Union.

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Unlike some other EU countries, Croatia is yet to speak publicly on the matter, but MUP has made clear that Croatia's intentions are entirely in line with the wishes of the European Commission when it comes to fully protecting British nationals who are living in Croatia with regulated status (biometric residence permit) on the 29th of March, 2019, should the UK crash out of the EU with no deal in place. I have been in contact with MUP and I translated their response, which we also published in another article detailing the work TCN will do with the British Embassy to keep information flowing: 

''The Republic of Croatia considers that it is of great importance to protect both the citizens of the European Union in the United Kingdom, and the citizens of the United Kingdom in the European Union. The European Commission's intention is to ensure a high degree of tolerance for UK nationals already residing in an EU member state. Such reflections and efforts are in line with the objective of the Republic of Croatia that the citizens of the United Kingdom and members of their families who have a regulated status in the Republic of Croatia are not regarded as illegal persons on the date of their [the UK's] departure from the European Union, that their residence and unimpeded access to the labour market in the Republic of Croatia is allowed. In this regard, the Republic of Croatia will take the necessary measures to regulate the stay of UK citizens who, at the time of the United Kingdom's departure from the European Union, have regulated residence in the Republic of Croatia, in accordance with the European Commission's guidelines.''

Please read this article for further information, including a statement from MUP provided to Balkan Insight which also, along those same lines, suggested that the assurances and guarantees Croatia's 600+ resident Brits need will be forthcoming once the details on issuing new documents are finalised. 

Given the fact that London has already unilaterally given rights to all EU citizens in the UK and will enshrine the rights of Croats in the UK into British law, rest assured that Croatia will respond in the spirit of reciprocity when the finer details are ironed out.

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No Brexit at all

This is still a possibility, and should Article 50 be revoked and Brexit cancelled, nothing will alter and we'd remain with the good old status quo. This is unlikely, but remains possible.

What should you do if you live in Croatia to protect yourself against any outcome?

First of all, do not panic. Second of all, read the list below.

1) Make sure you are registered with the police and are in possession of a valid residence permit.

2) If you move, make sure to inform the police of your move at the local police station in your new city or town.

3) Make sure you have any documents you need, these will vary in different situations. For example, if you have purchased a house or taken out a rental contract, make sure to keep any papers that attest to that fact.

4) Convert your British driving license to a Croatian one here.

4) Make sure to stay up to date by following the British Government's Living in Croatia page for updates as and when they come. Sign up to receive an email about any updates.

5) Read this article and follow the links specified for information updates, the Brexit hotline, the Facebook page of the British Embassy, and an email contact.

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Just to add, the EU recently confirmed that British nationals will NOT need a visa to travel to the EU for short trips (90 days in any 180 day period) even in the case of a no deal Brexit. If you're in possession of a valid residence permit from an EU country, you will not be subject to the rules placed on British citizens living in the UK travelling to the EU for holidays. 

The Schengen area is currently made up of 26 countries and Croatia applied to join back in 2015, two years after its accession to the EU. Croatia is not yet in Schengen, but hopes to enter soon. The Schengen area, named after the Schengen Agreement, will facilitate visa-free access for British citizens on short stays of less than 90 days. Again, if you are a registered resident of any of the Schengen countries, this rule will not apply to you regardless of your nationality.

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Make sure to stay up to date by following our dedicated politics page, and by following the British Embassy in Zagreb with the #UKNationalsinCroatia tag.

Tuesday, 22 January 2019

Brexit Brits in Croatia: Special Rules to Apply to Ensure Residence

Theresa May's withdrawal agreement with the European Union suffered a historic defeat recently. The British prime minister had delayed the vote which was due to take place back in December 2018 when she realised she was set to suffer the aforementioned historic defeat. Why she thought simply delaying the inevitable was a good idea is beyond me, but so is the entire notion of Brexit itself.

My political views aside, let's get to the point of this article. Point number one is that the article I wrote a while ago about what Theresa May's former withdrawal agreement means for British citizens living in Croatia is now likely void for the most part. We all love wasting our time, don't we?

The second point is that you don't need to worry about anything, well, no more than you would already anyway. You may have noticed that many EU countries have publicly declared their plans for making sure British citizens don't become Brexit's collateral damage (anymore than already, that is), and don't fall victim to the United Kingdom's bizarre desire to enact Brexit and leave the world's largest trading bloc. You're likely wondering why Croatia hasn't done so yet, at least not publicly. As Lance Corporal Jack Jones would have said: Don't panic.

Belgium, Italy, Germany, Spain and the Netherlands are just some of the EU countries to have come forward and assured Brits living and working in their countries that plans are firmly in place to make sure their lives go on undisrupted by this utter mess. That's a little too late for many after years of inexcusable limbo, but it's very welcome for many nonetheless.

But what about other countries, you might ask? What of, let's say, Romania? Romania has been eerily quiet on the matter despite having been given assurances that Romanian citizens living and working in the United Kingdom will remain protected and have their rights enshrined into UK law regardless of the Brexit outcome. The same assurances, with all due respect to Britain, have been given repeatedly to all other EU citizens legally residing in Britain. A new system has been set up which promises to be simple and as recent announcements have confirmed - totally free.

The UK has dropped its former demand for £65 for ''settled'' and ''pre-settled'' status after listening to the concerns of many, and EU citizens in the UK now have a very clear way of securing their rights before June 2021. The UK hasn't done much right since the non-binding referendum delivered a shock Leave result, but in making sure to put citizens and their acquired EU treaty rights first, it has been firm.

Everyone knows Croatia likes to drag its heels. It doesn't mean anything bad by it really, that's just what it does. That being said, it will gladly bow to whatever the EU asks of it, but in its own time. What do I mean by this? Well, to put it simply, MUP (Croatian Ministry of the Interior) has stated when asked (probably repeatedly) by Balkan Insight that there will be ''special rules'' in place for British citizens who have legal residence (biometric permit) in Croatia.

As Balkan Insight writes on the 22nd of January, 2019: ''The Interior Ministry in Croatia, which joined the EU in 2013, told BIRN that “special rules will be applied UK citizens who, on March 29, 2019, have regulated status of foreigner in the Republic of Croatia, which will allow [them] to maintain the right of residence.” But the ministry said it was “still developing in details the modalities of residence” of British citizens in Croatia after Brexit and how new documents would be issued.

The goal, it said, would be to allow British citizens and their families who have regulated status continued access, without restrictions, to the Croatian labour market. According to official data, currently 659 British citizens have regulated status in Croatia – 277 permanent residents and 382 with temporary residence.

The British embassy in Zagreb said it expected Croatia to reciprocate the commitment London made with regards the rights of citizens from the EU residing in Britain in the event of a no-deal scenario.''

So, what does this actually mean? It means that British citizens in Croatia can expect forthcoming reassurances like those which have been provided by a growing number of EU countries about their status, but the details must be finalised first. MUP knows it needs to do something. In any case, with assurances pouring in from other EU countries confirming the legal residence status of British citizens living in their countries, Croatia is sure to follow, just in its own time. Ever the lover of red tape and miraculously turning one sheet of paper into ten, it shouldn't come as a surprise that Croatia is dragging its heels. 

In any case, although the majority of what I wrote in my last article is now void (cheers, Theresa), what remains to be true is that as long as you hold a residence card and are known by the system, you don't need to worry.

You can apply for permanent residence when you've reached five years as you normally would for now, and if you're nowhere near that five year mark yet, just make sure you're properly registered and have a residence card that is valid.

Nobody wants to punish anybody for acting on their EU treaty rights, least of all Croatia after having the rights of its citizens guaranteed and set to be enshrined by London long ago, so make sure to follow us for any updates as we'll be sure to bring them as soon as we're informed of any, should the UK ever actually leave the EU at all.

Make sure to follow our dedicated politics page for more.

 

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