Tuesday, 15 November 2022

Foreign Workers Have Started Discovering Croatia: Good Conditions, They Say

November 15, 2022 - It has become common to see foreign workers from third countries performing various jobs in tourism and hospitality, as well as on construction sites in Croatia's summer and winter seasons. Recently, more and more Nepalese, Indians, Filipino, and workers from many other countries can be seen in more and more jobs in Rijeka, especially in delivery jobs.

As written by Novi List and Poslovni, according to data from the Primorsko-Goranska Police Administration, 13,116 requests for residence and work permits were received in nine months of 2022, while a total of 7,617 submissions were received in the same period last year. Only in ​​the city of Rijeka and the Rijeka ring, 4,355 requests were received, while their number last year was 2,732.

A better life in Croatia

One of the foreign workers in Rijeka is the Nepalese Dhirendreom Tamanga who, like many of his compatriots, came to find what they call a better life, but also a better income because he sends a large part of his earnings to his family. "It's better for me to work in Croatia than at home, and with the money I earn here, my family in Nepal can live happily and comfortably," says Dhirendra. He explained that he lives in Rijeka with a group of workers who also arrived from Nepal, and their rent in the city center is paid by the delivery company they work for.

Significantly more permits for foreign workers this year

Marin Šušnjar, director of the Wolt platform in Croatia, confirmed the trend of foreign workers in delivery jobs. According to him, the partners who employ delivery drivers noticed that they could not secure a sufficient number of people only through the applications of Croatian citizens. They decided to expand the base of potential employees and turn to the import and employment of foreign citizens. "The countries with which our partner companies cooperate the most are India, Nepal, and the Philippines, but also North Macedonia, Albania, and other countries closer to us. However, the current percentage of foreign nationals working on the Wolt platform in Rijeka as delivery partners is less than 5 percent of the total number of delivery drivers," said Šušnjar.

Differences in mode of operation

Desanka Babić from the Star employment mediation agency explained the process of hiring foreign workers. Croatian agencies for mediation in employment enter into contracts with local and foreign agencies that, based on their requirements, search for a qualified workforce. Upon arrival, the foreign worker pays only for the plane ticket, while the agencies who bring in the workers, if both parties are satisfied, charge the employer a monthly fee. In this way, says Babić, they worked with GP Krk and many other companies.

"The only and biggest problem will be bringing in a quality workforce trained and familiar with our labour market. Workers who come from India, Pakistan, and Nepal, apart from experiencing culture shock, are not familiar with our way of working and working conditions. At the same time, it cannot be said that they do not know how to work, but they have experience with different work principles, and several months should be found for them to learn and get used to it. Therefore, we have posted relevant information on working conditions on our website and what we are trying to achieve. I think the Government of the Republic of Croatia should also come up with a way to train foreign workers before they start working and arrive in our country. This would reduce the gap according to what foreign workers think is expected of them, and employers would be provided with a quality workforce", concludes Desanka Babić.

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

Thursday, 12 May 2022

VL: Over 7,000 Apply For Permission To Employ 50,000 Foreign Nationals

ZAGREB, 12 May 2022 - In the first four months of this year, over 7,000 companies asked the Croatian Employment Service (HZZ) for permission to hire nearly 50,000 foreign nationals to work in 300 different occupations, the Večernji List daily said on Thursday.

According to the Ministry of the Interior, around 84,000 foreign nationals were temporarily staying in Croatia in April, while about 10,000 had a permanent residence permit. They were mostly from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Kosovo, North Macedonia, Albania, Ukraine, China, Nepal, India and the Philippines.

The jobs they are hired for are traditionally in short supply in Croatia and concern construction, tourism and hospitality, and the metal industry.

Between 2,300 and 3,000 applications were for assistant cooks, maids, cooks and bricklayers, and between 1,000 and 2,000 were for welders, locksmiths, plasterers, waiters/waitresses and cleaners.

Gross wages paid by companies may not be lower than the minimum wage for 2022, the newspaper quoted the HZZ as saying. The net monthly wage for a young foreigner without dependants would be between HRK 4,000 (€530) and 4,800 (€640).

The construction sector pays an average net monthly wage of around HRK 6,000 (€800), and the situation in the tourism and hospitality industry is similar. Highly-skilled workers are paid a gross wage of between HRK 7,100 (€945) and 7,600 (€1,010).

"No wonder then that there is a shortage of workers," Večernji List said. "Foreigners being hired by domestic companies are increasingly coming from very poor Asian countries," it added.

Although it is possible that in addition to the net wage employers pay per diems, non-taxable compensation, cover the cost of board and lodging for foreign workers, which increases their income and drives up the hourly wage, all that is too little for anyone to feel secure. In this way employers cannot count on getting the necessary number of workers, and workers cannot meet their basic needs, says the article signed by Ljubica Gatarić.

For more, check out our politics section.


Monday, 7 February 2022

Croatia to Turn to India, Nepal and Distant Labour Markets in Search for Workers

7 February 2022 - Croatian employers will have to seek workers on distant markets, as they cease to be interesting to job-seekers from Serbia or Ukraine, the Večernji List daily reported on Monday in an article headlined "We are no longer interesting to Balkan workers...".

The daily newspaper quotes a member of the Croatian Employers' Association (HUP), Petar Lovrić, who has a recruitment agency, as saying that employers should turn to labour markets in Bangladesh, Nepal or India, for instance.

In 2022, Croatia is likely to seek about one hundred thousand workers, mainly for short-term seasonal jobs.

The daily says that the situation is similar in some other European countries. For Instance, Switzerland will need thousands of skilled workers, and according to some estimates by 2025, it will be short of 375,000 highly skilled workers. This shortage will widen to 1.2 million by 2035.

As many as seven million foreign workers would need to be hired by Germany until 2035 to enable its economy to maintain this rate of development, the Zagreb-based daily reported.

Currently, in Austria, there are twice as many advertised vacancies than a year ago.

A former economy minister turned economic analyst, Ljubo Jurčić, is quoted as saying that well-educated professionals are globalists and added that Western European countries base their long term economic policy on immigration quotas.

Thus, Germany imports 400,000-600,000 workers annually, and Jurčić believes that Croatia will have to follow this model soon.

In the past, Germany received immigrant workers from the Balkans and Turkey, and now Germany is looking towards employees from Columbia, Mexico, Indonesia etc., the daily says.

Sunday, 26 September 2021

Croatia Has Imported Thousands of Unskilled Single Men, Says Večernji List

ZAGREB, 26 Sept, 2021 - While Western countries are looking to attract highly skilled workers, Croatia has been importing unskilled labour, mostly single men who with their low wages cannot afford to live with their families, reads an article in the Večernji List daily edition of Sunday.

How many foreign workers should Croatia, being a small country, import to reach the average standard of living in the EU, so that all those who work today do not sink into poverty when they retire, says the daily.

What makes a state a state are its residents, with the standard of living being ensured by employed citizens and institutions that work for public welfare, while its future is ensured by its children and youth, says the daily.

In a period of only 30 years Croatia has lost close to one million residents, and according to demographers, today it has a population of only 3.85 million, with the share of citizens aged over 65 exceeding the share of children and young people under 19, which puts Croatia among the world's oldest nations.

With such a population structure, intensive emigration over the past eight years, and a brain-drain, Croatia cannot have stronger economic growth but has been keeping afloat with uncontrolled labour imports, hopeful that at least some of those who have emigrated will return so that all citizens could have a decent life, says the daily.

According to UN projections from 2015, Croatia's population was to have shrunk to 3.9 million only in 2030, but those projections have turned out to be optimistic, as the figure has been reached a decade earlier, the daily says.

Speaking at the recent conference "The Croatia We Need", Finance Minister Zdravko Marić said that raising the standard of living should be a goal for everyone and that between 100,000 and 150,000 new jobs would mean less worry and a much stronger and more sustainable growth with the help of which the average European standard of living would be achieved more easily.

But he did not say if he meant that the 100,000 to 150,000 workers should be imported or that some of the 119,000 domestic job-seekers should be activated as well, the daily says, noting that Croatia has 1.236 million pensioners and 1.604 million employed persons.

The government has not answered either if the minister was referring to labour imports and where those workers would be imported from, the daily says.

For more on business, follow TCN's dedicated page.

For more about Croatia, CLICK HERE.

Monday, 14 June 2021

Croatian Construction Industry Hungry For Workers, Seeking Foreign Labour

June the 14th, 2021 - The Croatian construction industry is hungry for workers in spite of the ongoing coronavirus crisis which has thrown a proverbial spanner in the works of almost every segment of the economy and as such jobs. The sector is even keeping its eyes on foreign workers as the need is now so great.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Suzana Varosanec writes, from the beginning of this year to June the 11th, 2,434 employers submitted 14,437 applications to the CES for positions in the Croatian construction industry, for which a labour market test doesn't need to be conducted.

Most of them were submitted on the lookout for masons, building workers, carpenters, civil engineering workers, facade workers, reinforcement workers, installers of building elements, ceramic tile installers and even house painters. A positive opinion of the CES was issued for 9541 of them, on the basis of which the Ministry of the Interior (MUP) can issue a work permit for a foreign worker from a third (non-EEA) country.

The Croatian construction sector, which is growing from the current 100,000 workers in legal entities, is ''hungry'' for, apparently, foreign labor. After the Croatian Law on Foreigners, commonly referred to as the Aliens Act, prescribed a new employment model for third-country nationals, employers must first contact the CES to conduct a labour market test (by first seeking that labour on the Croatian market), with exceptions such as the extension of residence permits and work for the same employer and the same third-country national, as well as in the case of missing occupations on the CES public list.

In cases when this test is conducted, the Regional Office, ie the CES office, conducts the mediation procedure if there are persons in the Croatian unemployment register who meet the requirements of the employer and are obliged to inform the employer of that no later than fifteen days from the date of the employer's request.

If the market test has shown that there are no persons already registered who meet the requirements, the employer can then apply for a residence and work permit (the result of which is decided on by the Ministry of Interior), within 90 days of receiving such a response from the CES.

When applying to MUP for those residence and work permits, the would-be employer must enclose evidence of the third country employee successfully meeting all of the requirements required by the CES market test - their level of education, their work experience, and all of the other conditions specified in order for an approval.

For more, follow our business section.

Tuesday, 26 February 2019

Students from Mostar and Philippines to be Hired for Upcoming Croatian Tourist Season

This Croatian tourist season, catering establishments could see employees from other countries, reports Splitski Dnevnik on February 26, 2019. 

However, not even Croatia’s neighbors are thrilled with working conditions in the country, which raises the question of precisely what kind of working conditions Croatia provides. This topic of employment and importing foreign workers in the tourist season was discussed on Tuesday in the Croatian Chamber of Commerce.

"The fact is that we had a shortage of workers already last season, and the quotas have not been utilized, because many were not interested in working in our area. That is why the Government and our Chamber of Commerce have turned to some other markets. They include the Far East, the Philippines, and in two weeks, we will visit Mostar University along with representatives from Dubrovnik. There are about 10,000 students there, and half of them have the right to work through a student service in Croatia, so that's a solution. This season begins in a month, and we have to solve this and do it perfectly,” says Jozo Tomaš, president of the Croatian Chamber of Commerce.

The panel pointed out that Filipinos have already taken over many Croatian positions in maritime affairs, so why not in the hospitality industry? They added that Filipinos are hired because they are much cheaper than Europeans, and they rarely wonder how long their job lasts. 

"I've spent a lot of time on the boat with them and can say that they are very loyal and quality. At this stage when there is such a shortage of people, the point is not that they are cheap, but that they are high quality. Everywhere in the world, Filipinos are very much sought after,” says Ino Munitić, the owner of the Pasat maritime agency, which is involved in the employment of seafarers.

Croatia is very interesting, mystical and attractive for Filipinos, and although the country is unknown to them, they are still ready to leap. Some 10,000 of them may already come to work this season.

Although the advantage would be that employees in Croatian tourism speak Croatian, the fact is that they are still working with mostly foreigners, so English is the primary language. This is precisely why businesspeople assume there will be no language barriers.

"It is on the initiative of the tourist community and HGK that we organized this panel, because the question is whether our locals are the ones who are the best promoters of Croatian tourism and whether they need to invest in their knowledge and education and whether they need to secure jobs or bring in the foreign workforce. I consider that our people, the local population and authentic events and authentic destinations are still a priority. However, at this time, the shortage of labor will have to be addressed by other measures, but we hope that they will be short-term,” says the director of the Split Tourist Board, Alijana Vukšić, who believes that Croatians should provide better working conditions in order to motivate locals to work in the tourist season.

Large hotels in Split are investing in their human resources and insisting on education, says human resources manager of Radisson Blu, Sandra Čanić.

"Unfortunately, a lot of organizations, although we are in the 21st century, do not recognize the importance of systematic human resource management. Our story about this does not start now in preparation for the season, but it needs to be prepared continuously, working on motivating and retaining the existing staff, and not necessarily through an indefinite contract, but using a measure like the permanent season. We currently employ around 130 employees and 150 more during the season. Of this, one significant part belongs to the permanent season, but we also cooperate with schools and colleges, and we receive a large number of trainees. We also participate in various training programs through the Employment Service, to get quality staff,” said Čanić.

This year, Croatia should give up the quota-based labor force imports, which was set at 65,100 people in 2019, said Davorko Vidovic, Labor Policy and Employment Advisor of HGK.

To read more about travel in Croatia, follow TCN’s dedicated page