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, 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.

Tuesday, 12 July 2022

Without New Residents and Foreign Workers, Difficult to Maintain a Welfare State

ZAGREB, 12 July 2022 - Without new residents and bringing in workers from abroad, Croatia cannot maintain a welfare state, it was said on Tuesday at a conference - "How to boost economic development with labor policies and continuous investment in education" - at the Lavoslav Ružička Polytechnic in Vukovar.

The director-general of the Croatian Employers' Association (HUP) Damir Zorić assessed that a large part of today's unemployed people in Croatia fall into the category of hard-to-employ and those whom the labour market can hardly count on.

"The second part of the problem is young people leaving the country and the third problem is trying to import labour. Last year, Croatia issued about 100,000 work permits to foreigners, and this year we already reached that number around the middle of the year," Zorić said, adding that the majority of foreigners coming to work in Croatia are from neighbouring countries, but even that "pool" has already been somewhat exhausted.

According to Zorić, Croatia is now turning more and more to India, Romania, and Ukraine, where mostly poorer educated workers are coming from.

"Unfortunately, we are not yet attractive enough for highly educated personnel, because with our salaries we can hardly meet their demands", he said, adding that it is necessary to make labour costs in Croatia cheaper so that workers earn more while reducing obligations to the state.

State Secretary in the Ministry of Labour and Pension System Ivan Vidiš considered that the ministry's participation was important in the creation of a portal for advanced monitoring of the labour market and education. It is a research tool that brings together all data on the labour market in one place, from data on employment and unemployment in the sector to data on secondary and higher education for occupations in that sector, as well as data on the workforce and employers' needs.

For more, check out our politics section.

Thursday, 26 May 2022

Croatian Construction Industry Doomed to Import Labour Long-Term?

May the 26th, 2022 - Is the Croatian construction industry simply doomed to have to import foreign (non-EEA) labour as an attempted long-term strategy to keep things afloat?

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Darko Bicak writes, there are fewer and fewer ''homegrown'' workers in the Croatian construction industry, and an increasing number of foreign workers on construction sites pose a number of challenges to the companies that hire them, according to the panel discussion "Challenges of the workforce" which was held in Zagreb recently.

Dragutin Kamenski, the director of the very well known company Kamgrad, pointed out that if the country successfully removed all other challenges that the Croatian construction industry is currently facing, and only the lack of manpower remaind, we'd still be in trouble.

A very complex process

"Now, the state has begun to take steps to facilitate labour migration, but it remains to be a very complex process because it requires additional efforts in bringing and introducing a new workforce to a particular company, as well as additional organisation and costs. As there is no additional base for recruiting labour here in Croatia, it's clear that in the long run we're doomed to importing foreign construction workers under any conditions,'' said Kamenski, adding that so far, they have had all kinds of situations with agencies that bring in foreign workers arise.

"Recently, a large number of agencies have appeared that bring in foreign labour, and time will show which ones are good and bring in high quality workers, and which aren't. If you end up with inadequate workers, it raises your costs and you're less competitive overall,'' Kamenski pointed out.

Based on his own many years of experience, he stated that in fact the best workers were those who did their training within large construction systems, and then eventually moved to smaller companies such as Kamgrad.

However, he is aware that is now rapidly becoming a thing of the past and that such workers no longer exist, and that now the focus should be on developing the Croatian construction industry's workers here in the country, and even more on selecting and introducing a foreign worker and then educating and introducing them to the whole process.

“Technical staff without knowledge of the Croatian language can only do a small range of work. We employ 10-15 trainees a year, of which only one or two remain,'' concluded Kamenski. Danijel Risek, the director of Hidroing, pointed out that they're a relatively small company that didn't have any major needs for the import of foreign labour, and what they did experience had a focus on nearby Kosovo.

“We're too small a company to go into the process of finding a workforce on our own, so we're referred to agencies. It's important to have a correct relationship with such agencies so that they know exactly what we need,'' said Risek. Stjepan Jagodin, the director of Pinoy385, a company specialising in the employment of Filipino workers, said that there are currently more than 300 agencies across the Republic of Croatia registered for employment mediation.

"An unregulated market leads to a situation where everyone comes to us, without any selections and conditions, and then the problem is that companies that hire such workers. In tourism, there are precise conditions that you must have and know in order to open an agency, and employment mediation can be done by anyone. That must be regulated urgently,'' Jagodin said.

Knowledge of the market

Ana Jadresin from the Manpower Group pointed out that it takes time for the market for mediation in the employment of foreign workers to be profiled. "Agencies that deal with employment mediation, be they domestic or foreign, must have a good knowledge of the market and the needs of their clients - what exactly companies need, what qualifications are necessary, what level of digital literacy there is, etc.

The problem is often that the client himself doesn't know what kind of workers he needs and what qualifications will be necessary, so it becomes difficult to meet their expectations. On the other hand, it's pointless to give unrealistic promises to foreign workers about a country with rivers full of milk and honey, because that only leads to frustration,'' stated Jadresin.

The issue faced by the Croatian construction industry isn't something new. The demographic crisis the country has been in for a very long time now has been a gradual drain on labour across all fields, even with the tourism sector, otherwise the country's strongest economic branch, also suffering tremendously. The Ministry of the Interior's infamously drawn out and draconian procedures often result in employers not getting work permits approved for their foreign staff in time, resulting in the dire need for a rethink.

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

Monday, 16 May 2022

Croatian Labour Force 15,000 Employees Short for 2022 Season

May the 16th, 2022 - The height of 2022's summer tourist season is rapidly approaching, and the Croatian labour force is still missing around 15,000 employees. 

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, the director of the Directorate for Development, Investments and Competitiveness of the Tourism Economy at the Ministry of Tourism, Robert Pende, said recently on the radio that the Croatian labour force, when it comes to the all important tourism sector, currently lacks as many as 15,000 workers, although he expects the deficit to decrease as time goes on.

"Currently, according to the information we've received from the sector itself, there are about 10,000 people who should come or be employed for this tourist year," said Pende, referring to the lack of workers in the tourism sector, which is ironically Croatia's most important economic branch.

However, he pointed out that many permits for foreign workers (meaning those from non EU-EEA countries such as neighbouring Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia, who require special permission in order to work here) are still in the process of being requested, so he expects those numbers to be somewhat lower eventually.

MUP is notoriously slow in processing employer requests for work permits for third country nationals such as the citizens of the aforementioned non EU countries, with cases of those would-be employees throwing in the towel and going elsewhere or only being approved for their work permit when the tourist season is already well and truly underway.

"In any case, we will have a deficit, I would say, throughout the main tourist season," Pende told HRT.

The president of the Dubrovnik County Chamber, Nikolina Trojic, said that the need at the Croatian national level is certainly between 15 and 20 thousand workers that must be introduced from somewhere.

"At the level of Dubrovnik-Neretva County alone, there are certainly at least two or three thousand people who are needed to come and work this season, so it's that many would-be employees who are missing. It's very difficult to fill that number from the Croatian labour force, and we will undoubtedly have to continue to import labour from abroad,'' added Trojic.

Dubrovnik already has a significant number of employees each summer season from nearby Trebinje, which is just over the border in the Republika Srpska governed part of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and that alone often causes rifts among locals who remember people from Trebinje attacking Dubrovnik thirty years ago. The issue with filling the Croatian labour force isn't only an issue economically, but on a much more personal level, with many feeling that the Dalmatian coast's many restaurants should be filled with Croatian, preferably local staff, and not those from Bosnia and Herzegovina or Serbia.

For more, check out our business section.

Thursday, 2 December 2021

From Cooking to Sending Wages Home, How Osijek Nepalese Residents Live

December the 2nd, 2021 - There are thousands of foreign workers from distant countries outside of both the EU and the rest of Europe living and working here in Croatia. Slavonia is home to many of them, and we're going to take a quick look at just how Osijek Nepalese residents living and working in that Eastern Croatian city live.

As RTL/Sib.hr writes, large numbers of Indians, Filipinos, Thais and many other foreigners are currently working in Croatia. In the City of Osijek, for example, is home to as many as 80 Nepalese nationals. Their homeland lies a distant 6000 kilometres from "Kruasija", as they call this country, but even without mountains and temples to speak of in flat Slavonia, Osijek Nepalese residents still somehow feel quite at home.

They manage to save part of their salaries and send it home, too, as is a common practice in such cultures where taking care of family is paramount. Croatian reporter Tin Kovacic found out all about how these Osijek Nepalese residents live, what they eat and just how they find life in the often overlooked Eastern part of the country.

If you type in Nepal on Google, you will see that you need to travel 6,000 kilometres (and a half) of the globe to arrive there from Slavonia. These 80 Nepalese nationals did just that, but in the opposite direction. They travelled half the world to get a job in an Osijek company that produces plastic packaging. They came legally through an agency and they pay for their health insurance, their pensions, all of their taxes and earn a living. This is what their work day looks like on the production line:

"I work here for about eight hours a day. It's not hard," Dilbach says.

They have a completely equal status with their 500 fellow Croatian nationals working here.

"They're very valuable workers. They want to help us. They're good work colleagues," says Aleksandra Peric, who is from Osijek.

After work, they like to walk around the city, which is where Tin got better acquainted with these Osijek Nepalese residents, who switched their climate for a home along the Drava. Osijek and Croatia have not been unknown places to them for the past three years.

Sunil Bam says:

"My friends have been to Croatia before. We talked about it and corresponded. They told me that Croatia is a good country. If you want to come here, Croatia is the best place."

In that Asian country, they are mainly engaged in agriculture, and Nepal continues to be one of globe's poorest countries. The average salary there is around 1,300 kuna per month, and here they have all of their accommodation and food paid for, and they earn around 5,500 kuna each month. A handsome increase.

"Oh yeah, we get more money here than we would back home. And every month when we get paid, we send a portion of it back home to our families," Bam says. For some, the plan is to earn enough and return to Nepal, and for some, to bring their family here and stay and live and work in Croatia permanently, as it seems the Slavonian temperament suits them best.

"Yes, I love the people here. They're very friendly and polite," says Manoj Achary.

Slavonian food is not foreign to them either, he adds, although they still like to cook their own traditional chicken and rice. The Bam confirmed that all food and accommodation is provided by their employer, but despite that, they still love to cook their own Nepalese dishes that they know so well. They have, however, tried some Slavonian food, comically describing ''something that looks like sausage.''

These Osijek Nepalese residents also know how to make a good lunch, according to Achary:

"We come into town and we drink your beer. Then we go to the Drava river, then we head back home,'' said Achary, who said he has grown to like local beer a lot. They naturally have the most problems with the notoriously difficult Croatin language, but they are attending Croatian classes and have mastered the basics. In order to get along as well as possible, they founded the Association of Friends of Nepal. The City of Osijek is also helping them out, organising various gatherings through the local plan for the integration of migrants, and even though they prefer volleyball and cricket, they've visited the Osijek Football Club.

For more, make sure to check out our lifestyle section.

Tuesday, 16 November 2021

Import of Foreign Workers Hampered by Croatian Bureaucracy

November the 16th, 2021 - The import of foreign labour from outside the EEA into Croatia, typically from neighbouring countries such as Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia, is proving cumbersome with the infamously slow and arduous Croatian bureaucracy.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Dario Knezevic writes, with the stil impaired liquidity due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, ''getting the staff'' and having a qualified workforce is still the biggest problem of the Croatian hospitality and catering industry, especially since wages in the sector are still low and workers prefer to choose other occupations or instead opt for emigration.

Importing workers is currently an inevitable solution as the situation grows more tense, but there are a lot of problems in this regard as well, because there is a long procedure for obtaining work permits for foreigners and Croatian bureaucracy is still running at a snail's pace, hampered by draconian laws and what often seem to be senseless rules.

The sector is still plagued by high tax burdens, and the biggest problems are being faced cafes and nightclubs who suffered tremendously during lockdowns, warned participants in the Zagreb Caterers' Forum, held on Friday and organised by the Zagreb Caterers' Association and the Independent Caterers' Association.

Cafes are on the brink of survival

"Coffee bars and nightclubs have had and continue to have a very hard time surviving, when they have little or no traffic, restaurants are doing a little better because they haven't been closed for as long as bars and clubs were, and their traffic drop is around 30 percent when compared to 2019. If we fail to make more money during the advent season, we will have a very harsh winter and the number of 1,100 closed restaurants in Zagreb could increase in relation to the very beginning of the pandemic,'' warned Zakline Troskot, president of the Independent Association of Caterers.

Officially, three requests were sent from the Forum of Caterers to the City of Zagreb. They're looking for resolutions to the problem of being allowed to operate as normal in open spaces and on outdoor terraces. They are also seeking the lowering the coefficient of utility fees for these companies from 10 down to 7, as well as more involvement from representatives of those in the hospitality and catering sector when it comes to decision-making.

They want the state to reintroduce economic assistance measures to keep jobs and reimburse fixed costs, speed up the tragic state of Croatian bureaucracy, ie the process of issuing work permits for non-EU foreigners and further tax relief, in order to ensure higher incomes of employees working in the hospitality sector.

Namely, with the exception of large employers, wages in tourism and catering are still low, and many employers don't have room for raises due to the coronavirus pandemic, and workers are leaving en masse. Quality foreign workers aren't easy to come by either.

As it has been shown that workers from neighbouring countries manage and fit in much better among foreign workers than from distant cultures, the emphasis is on the search for workers in Croatia's immediate region, but the issue is that these European countries are not EEA/EU member states. This means that the paperwork and red rape is even more of a hassle for would-be employers.

The president of the Croatian Tourism Union, Eduard Andric, revealed that his union is negotiating with the Macedonian union, in order to bring Macedonian seasonal workers in an organised manner with less paperwork and fuss. According to current interest, there are about 5,000 to 10,000 of them.

At the same time, the Macedonians are willing and interested in their employers to give them some preparatory training, whether someone comes to them or they come to Croatia a little earlier for some training.

''Because as much as Macedonians are willing to work, we've had situations where they didn't know things like the names of certain drinks, the names of certain dishes, and we'd have to really educate them to make it better,'' pointed out Andric, adding that workers from that country are more desirable to work in Croatia than, for example, Filipinos, as their culture and language are closer, and communication is therefore far easier.

He revealed that they are also talking to Slovenes about a model to employ their workers in this country during the summer, and for them to go to Slovenia in the winter, which has more developed winter tourism. And this will be worked on in cooperation with the Slovenian trade union.

For more, follow our business section.

Tuesday, 28 September 2021

North of Croatia Seeing Growing Number of Foreign Workers - Večernji List Daily

ZAGREB, 28 Sept, 2021 - A growing number of foreign workers are coming to work in the north of Croatia as local metal, manufacturing and construction companies have difficulty finding labour on the domestic market, Večernji List daily said on Tuesday.

Workers are coming from the Philippines, Ukraine, Nepal, India and elsewhere and there are already so many of them that there is a shortage of accommodation for them. They are staying in hotels, holiday apartments or rented accommodation, the newspaper said.

In the Međimurje region, more and more old and renovated houses in which no one has lived for years are being rented. A 200 square metre house is rented to four persons for HRK 3,200 (€425) a month, or HRK 800 (€105) per person.

"We have been well received. We don't go out much. After work, we go to our flat and watch television. Sometimes we go to the lake or to the nearest cafe for a cup of coffee," says a Ukrainian who has found a job in the catering industry. He shares the rent with a workmate, and earns twice as much as he would in Ukraine. He plans on going to Germany one day.

"There are almost no young workers available on the domestic market, notably in occupations such as bricklayers, carpenters or rebar workers. These occupations are dying out in this region," a CEO was quoted as saying.

The question of whether an inclusive centre should be opened has been raised in Varaždin County. The county's head, Anđelko Stričak, said that the local economy would have difficulty functioning without foreign labour and that the foreign nationals living and working in the region should be looked after.

Nearly 57,000 work and residence permits have been issued to foreign nationals in Croatia this year, the newspaper said.

For more about business in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Wednesday, 2 June 2021

Guidelines for 3rd Country Nationals Who Want to Work in Croatia by Anenias Zapošljavanje JDOO

June 2, 2020 - Are you a non-EU national and interested in working in Croatia? Joško Jakus, the founder of Anenias Zapošljavanje, who has hired over 300 Filipino workers since 2019, shares everything you need to know about getting a job in this beautiful European country!

As Večernji List reported in July 2017, Davor Štern, a businessman, former Economy Minister, and the Honorary Consul General to the Philippine Consulate in Zagreb, proposed to the Croatian Chamber of Commerce (HGK) a temporary solution to the labour shortage in the Croatian economy - and that is to hire Filipino workers to remedy the workforce problems in tourism, hospitality, health, and construction. Mirjana Čagalj, the Vice President of HGK, agreed to further discuss this proposal after stating that there is still a shortage of as many as 3,000 employees in the tourism sector even after using up the quota of 2,080 for hiring foreign workers. She expressed the need to raise the quota for foreign workers so that Croatian companies can survive and maintain their competitiveness. According to Štern, the Philippines has state agencies for overseas employment that find and screen candidates, process their paperwork, negotiate the contract and basic salaries, organise their transport, and make sure that their workers return to the Philippines upon the termination of their contract. He claims that Filipinos are educated and industrious people and that the Croatian standard salary of 500 to 600 euros would not be too small for them. The proposal earned a lot of negative reactions including the worries that the arrival of Filipino workers would reduce the cost of wages in Croatia while the amount of work required for employees would rise because Filipinos are known for their high productivity. However, Minister of Labor Marko Pavić was not supportive of this proposal - to him, retraining Croats is his priority and hiring workers from neighboring countries is better because the arrival of Filipinos would cause a culture shock to Croatian people. 

Four years since the release of this article, Croatia has now hired over a thousand Filipino workers. 

How does Anenias Zapošljavanje JDOO work? 

We are a Croatian-based recruitment agency and together with our partner Prime Destination International Recruitment Agency, Inc, a Philippine-based agency, we recruit Filipinos to work for Croatian companies and employers, especially in the hotel, hospitality and tourism industry. So far, we have hired drivers, hotel staff, restaurant staff, bartenders, caregivers, factory workers, fish farmers, carpenters, electricians, yacht-builders, builders and fitters, butchers, and agricultural workers. We have now brought in more than 300 Filipino workers in Croatia.

 

anenias_2.jpg

Photo Credit: Anenias Zapošljavane JDOO

 

Why is there a need for foreign workers in Croatia? Is it cheaper to hire foreign workers and in this case, Filipino workers?

The salary always depends on the kind of work and the company they are working for but the company that hires a Filipino worker is required to pay for their flight tickets, visas, accommodation and food costs so in the end, hiring a Filipino worker costs almost the same as hiring a Croatian national. 

The Croatian government has been having problems with their workforce because a lot of Croatians leave the country to work in Germany and in other European countries because there, they would have better salaries and benefits. Before, the Croatian government hired workers from nearby countries like Bosnia and Serbia but there is still a lack of workforce especially for the tourism sector. Around 2018, the government became more open to foreign workers and from then on, a lot of agencies have opened to hire 3rd country nationals. By 2019, Anenias Zapošljavanje has brought in more than 100 Filipino workers.

A lot of Croatian companies and employers like to hire Filipino workers because they are good workers and are very flexible. For example, most Filipino workers have no problem doing overtime or having changing and flexible shifts; whereas most Croatians are very stern with their working time and hours. The downside in hiring Filipino workers is that they tend to talk and gossip a lot and Croatian employers are not really fond of that! Haha.

What is the first thing you need to have before working in Croatia?

 Find a good and trustworthy agency

  • Make sure you check the legitimacy of your agency first. For Filipino workers, please check if the agency you are considering is registered in the Philippines Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) in this link: https://www.poea.gov.ph/cgi-bin/agSearch.asp Here, you can find agencies the are blacklisted too.
  • It is important that the agency is registered in POEA (or your country's equivalent) because then, the employment administration could oversee and regulate the contract and make sure that it meets the requirements and standards needed to legally employ a worker.
  • It is also important to know that foreign-based recruitment agencies are only legally allowed to recruit through POEA-accredited Philippine recruitment agencies - and that is Prime Destination International Recruitment Agency, Inc. (our Philippine-based company partner), for us.

What are the documents needed to prepare by Filipinos to get a job in Croatia? 

Placement fees

These are charges for services rendered and the standard recruiting fee from agencies. The fee varies from agency to agency, but with our partner Prime Destination International Recruitment Agency, Inc, it is usually equivalent to an employee's one-month salary.

Medical fees 

Filipinos are required to undergo full medical check-ups before getting a job abroad. This usually costs between 3,000PHP to 5,000PHP (388kHRK to 645HRK)

Shipping fee for visas 

Unfortunately, the Philippines only has the Croatian Consulate so they need to pay for passport and visa shipping from Manila to Jakarta, Indonesia where the Croatian Embassy is based. Although since the COVID-19 pandemic, the Croatian Consulate has been temporarily closed due to the main employee getting infected with the virus. Now, we need to use third-party services such as VFS Global, and this costs around 8,000PHP to 9,000PHP (1033.44HRK to 1162.62HRK); but through Croatian Consulate, it costs 2,900PHP (374.60HRK).

IMPORTANT: For this year, a new rule has been placed - the National Bureau of Investigation clearance with apostille mark and COVID-19 PCR test with 72-hours validity before their flight are now required to get a job in Croatia.

How does Anenias Zapošljavanje process this paperwork? 

Our Philippine-based partner Prime Destination International Agency organize the papers, medical and transportation of our Filipino workers in the Philippines. The candidates who were chosen to work in Croatia need to provide to Anenias Zapošljavanje the following: National Bureau of Investigation clearance, TESDA certificates, copy of passport, and resume. With these documents, we can apply for their working permit here in Croatia and the working permit usually gets released more or less within 16 days upon submission.

After Anenias Zapošljavanje secures the working permit, the employer/company will pay what they need to shoulder. This includes visa fees, cost of the working permits, flight tickets and travel insurance of the Filipino workers. 

What are the salary and benefits a Filipino worker can get in Croatia?

After Filipino workers arrive in Croatia, they need to report to the nearest police station where they will be staying. After this, Filipino workers will get their OIB (tax identification number), a bank account with their work contract, pension fund (Mirovinski), and healthcare card (Zdravstveno Osiguranje)

Salary

It depends from job to job but usually, the minimum salary is from 3,700HRK to 4,000HRK. To calculate your gross salary vs. net salary: you may refer here: https://www.rrif.hr/wct_index.php?run=kalk116&wct=230&fbclid=IwAR2OARxLCRrslLvmj1pis1eTsg-5G9dlCYsemds2EsjzCkFiylcqhi3fpPU

Meals and accommodation 

It is mandatory for the company who hired them to provide their workers food and accommodation. If food is not provided, they should at least give a meal allowance of 500HRK. If meals and accommodation are not provided by the company, Filipino workers may refuse to work and are allowed to break the contract with the company. This is usually stated in the contract that follows the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration.

Basic Health Care

All workers are entitled to basic health care paid by their employers. In Anenias Zapošljavanje, we also get our Filipino workers' supplementary insurance (dopunsko osiguranje).

Mirovinski Pension Fund

All Filipino workers are entitled to have a basic pension fund. In Croatia, they will get a Mirovinski 1 fund for pension and a Mirovinski 2 fund for an investment fund. Depending on how long they have worked in Croatia and how much they have contributed to this fund, Filipino workers would be entitled to receive their basic pension when they reach a certain age which is usually after the age of 60 - there is an ongoing reform on Croatian pension system so you can refer to this link to get the latest updates on your Mirovinski pension fund: https://www.mirovinsko.hr/hr/mirovine/10

Additional benefits

If you manage to get a good job in Croatia that has a higher salary which is around 7,000HRK, you will have a chance to bring a family member to Croatia. The law in Croatia is that you can reunite with a family member if you are financially able to support them - you need to at least have 2,000HRK per dependent. This is highly beneficial for single parents with 1 kid or 2 kids because unlike in the Philippines, education and health care in Croatia are free.

If your employer likes your performance and asked you to stay permanently - then you will be considered as a highly qualified 3rd-country national. After continuously working in Croatia for at least 4 years, you will be entitled to apply for a permanent residency in Croatia. If you manage to work in Croatia continuously for 7 years, then you will be entitled to apply for citizenship considering you have a certificate of Croatian language proficiency.

Since Croatia relies a lot on tourism, how long does a working contract with a Filipino worker last? Are they entitled to go home at least once per year in the Philippines?

We always give them a one-year contract, if not, at least for 8 months. They are entitled to go home after that. It always depends on the company if they want to renew the contract or send them home after the contract finishes. 

What is your advice to Filipinos who want to work in Croatia? 

Always, always always check your contract!!! Prior to departing the Philippines, you will sign a contract that was checked and approved by POEA. When you arrive in Croatia, the company will provide you with another contract both written in English and in Croatian. Always double-check this contract. If anything, the only contract you are entitled to follow is the one that you signed in the Philippines - which is government-approved. 

What should Filipino workers know?

Cross-country recruiting. Recently, there have been a lot of agencies that recruit from the Middle East and this is very dangerous for Filipino workers. Although these agencies are legally allowed to recruit Filipino workers who are already working overseas in the Middle East, this kind of contract would not be registered in the Philippines Overseas Employment Agency. This will leave you in a vulnerable position because your government would not be able to protect you if the contract gets breached. For example, the POEA-approved contract always makes sure that Filipino workers get free accommodation and food. It makes sure that when you arrive back in the Philippines, you will be entitled to OFW (Overseas Filipino Workers) benefits - the government will pay for your quarantine stay in a hotel and all the costs of your transportation and COVID-19 tests. Also, if you get any medical emergencies, your government would not be able to assist your repatriation. This is very dangerous especially with the current circumstances of the coronavirus pandemic.

Also, usually, Filipinos who were recruited from the Middle East have reported that they have spent 150,000PHP to 200,000PHP (2000EUR and 3x more than what Filipinos who were hired through POEA-licensed companies usually pay) because they also have to cover the flight ticket and visa expenses which should not happen if the contract is registered under POEA.

If your company decides to terminate your contract unfairly, your government would not be able to protect you. Without a working contract, your working permit in Croatia will be cancelled and this will turn you into an illegal alien in Croatia. If the police catches you, you would have to do the following:

You have 30 days to leave Croatia. If you don’t leave within 30 days, by Croatian law, you will receive extradition plus jail time until you secure a flight home. You need to pay a fine and on top of that, you will be black-listed. You will need to shoulder these expenses - the company and the agency who hired you would not be held liable for this.

How did COVID-19 affect your company and the Filipino workers?

Filipino workers received government Covid support during the pandemic time. Not all Filipinos did because not all employers can apply for that - only the ones that were affected by the pandemic most especially the tourism and travel sector.

It affected Anenias Zapošljavanje a lot. We were supposed to bring 86 people last year for the tourism industry and I managed to bring only one. 

Any message you want to send to the 3rd country nationals who want to work in Croatia?

Be smart and use your brain! 

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