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 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.

Friday, 20 May 2022

Lack of Croatian Labour Causing Huge Issues for Tourism Employers

May the 20th, 2022 - The lacking Croatian labour force and the situation of just ''not being able to get the staff'' is having a seriously negative effect on tourism employers across the country. Some are having to close their doors.

We recently wrote about the Croatian tourism sector lacking enormous numbers of workers for the rapidly approaching summer tourist season, and it seems that the situation is being felt up and down the country in areas which would usually be rubbing their hands in excitement for a decent post-pandemic season.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, the Northern Adriatic region of Kvarner has always been among the tourist champions, but now it is among those in the worst situation in terms of a total lack of Croatian labour. Nikola, a local restaurant owner, had to close one of his restaurants in Rijeka because he had no one to employ to work there, which is absolutely disastrous considering the sheer importance of the tourism sector for the Croatian economy and the nation's overall GDP.

"Every now and then someone would leave, they'd receive immoral offers both in terms of working for the summer season, as well as for some other variants of employment. They'd leave Croatia, there would be a huge amount of dissatisfaction among workers and we were simply forced to close our doors, we could not stay open and run properly with only half the number of workers we need,'' said the president of the National Association of Caterers, Nikola Eterovic.

Some are also trying to patch things up in more innovative ways. Although he is the owner, Nikola also works as a waiter himself to try to make things run smoothly in his facility.

Most of the facilities that have operated before, will open this year, but the thing is that they will work with a reduced number of staff and an inadequately educated workforce, which can only result in poorer service and less customer satisfaction.

The Croatian labour market has been depleted owing to demographic trends, and the procedures enforced by MUP are still too complicated and go on for too long when it comes to trying to hire foreign (non EEA) workers from neighbouring countries like Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia, RTL writes.

"In some places, work permits are waited on for three to four weeks, and in some places we have the situation in which employers are forced to wait for MUP to deal with their request to hire foreigners for four to five months,'' warned the director of the Croatian Tourism Association, Veljko Ostojic.

For more on the Croatian labour force, or the lack of it, check out our dedicated business section.

Wednesday, 2 March 2022

EIZ: Labour Demand up 72% Compared to February 2021

ZAGREB, 2 March 2022 - The EIZ Online Vacancy Index (OVI) for February shows continued positive trends on the Croatian labour market as labour demand increased by 72% from February 2021, the Zagreb Institute of Economics (EIZ) said on Wednesday.

"Positive movements on the labor market, which have been recorded since mid-2021, continue. According to OVI index for February 2022, labor demand is 72% higher than in February 2021, and 41 and 35% higher than in February 2020 and 2019 respectively," the EIZ said on its website.

The most sought-after occupations in February this year were salespersons, cooks, waiters, warehouse workers and bookkeepers.

The EIZ said that 43% of job advertisements offered permanent employment, while 44% offered fixed-term employment. Some 1.9% mentioned the possibility of working from home, while 3% of advertisements targeted pensioners, reflecting the trend of higher demand for pensioners in the past months. 

The OVI is a monthly index of online job advertisements developed by the EIZ in cooperation with the MojPosao job search website to provide timely information on current labour demand.

For more, check out our business and lifestyle sections.

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.

Friday, 3 September 2021

Legislation to Be Amended to Regulate Teleworking

ZAGREB, 3 Sept 2021 - The process of amending the Labour Act to regulate teleworking will be initiated before the end of this year, and the amended legislation should be passed no later than August 2022, a conference on remote work was told in Split on Friday.

The conference was held within the Devote programme, which is being implemented by the Croatian Employers' Association (HUP) in cooperation with the Oil Industry Union (SING) and the Confederation of Norwegian Enterprise (NHO).

"It is our duty to adjust our legislation, including the Labour Act, to the European Union's 2019 directives, and deadlines expire in August 2022," said Josipa Klišanin of the Croatian Labour Ministry.

The EU directives will have the greatest impact on contracts on teleworking enabling employees to choose their place of work in agreement with their employer, according to Klišanin.

It is a worker's workload and performance that matters and not the place where they perform their duties, she underscored.

The future amendments will introduce the protection of teleworkers, and labour inspectors will be able to visit them only if they announce their visit and have the substantive reason  for such a visit, she said.

The HUP director-general, Damir Zorić, said that the amendments should produce better regulation of remote work.

HUP's chief economist Iva Tomić said that on average, 3% of employed Croatians were teleworkers, however, during the COVID-19 pandemic this percentage had risen by 30%.

 Surveys show that an estimated 100 million people will soon be teleworking worldwide.

For more on politics, CLICK HERE.

Wednesday, 18 August 2021

Minister Says Croatian Labor Market Stable and Has Recovered From COVID Crisis

ZAGREB, 18 Aug 2021 - Labour Minister Josip Aladrović said on Wednesday that the labor market was stable and had recovered from the corona crisis.

"The data for the first 15 days in August show that we are going in the right direction. We are switching from job preservation to job creation," Aladrović told the press while arriving at a meeting of the inner cabinet.

The minister is hopeful about retaining record high levels in employment since official statistics started to be kept 21 years ago.

In the period to come, the biggest challenge will be finding skilled manpower, said Aladrović who expects a rise in workers' pay.

However, the situation with the corona crisis still requires caution, and some branches of the economy will continue to need grants to keep jobs, according to his explanation.

As for August, we do not have any intensive requests from employers' associations, and a strong rebound can be perceived. A strong tourist season has positively impacted the labor market and businesses, he added.

The minister added that the talks would soon be held with the Croatian Employers' Association and trade unions on who would be eligible for the job retention grants in August.

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

Friday, 18 June 2021

Average Net Salary for April Increases to HRK 7,082

ZAGREB, 18 June 2021- Croatia's average net pay in April was HRK 7,082, which is an increase of 6.9% on the year in nominal terms and of 4.7% in real terms, according to data released by the national statistical office (DZS) on Friday.

Compared with March 2021, the average net wage was lower by 0.8% in nominal terms and by 1.5% in real terms.

The highest average monthly net salary per person employed in legal entities for April 2021 was paid in Extraction of crude petroleum and natural gas, amounting to HRK 11,652, and the lowest was paid in Manufacture of wearing apparel, amounting to HRK 4,361.

The average monthly gross salary in April 2021 was HRK 9,529, which is a decrease of 0.7% in nominal terms and of 1.4% in real terms compared to March. Compared to April 2020, the average gross pay was higher by 5.2% in nominal terms and by 3% in real terms.

For more on business in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated business section.

Wednesday, 16 June 2021

Labour Costs in Croatia Grow For First Time Since Pandemic Started

ZAGREB, 16 June, 2021 - Slower salary growth halted the growth of hourly labour costs in the EU in the first quarter of 2021, while in Croatia labour costs increased for the first time since the start of the pandemic, Eurostat data show on Wednesday.

In the first quarter of 2021, the hourly labour costs rose by 1.7% in the EU, compared with the same quarter of the previous year. In the fourth quarter of 2020, hourly labour costs increased by 3.2%.

The costs of hourly wages and salaries increased by 2.6%, after growing 3.8% in Q4 2020.

The costs of salaries increased the most in arts, entertainment and recreation (+8.3%), followed by accommodation and food service activities (+6.1%).

The costs of contributions at the start of this year went up 1%.

The highest increases in hourly labour costs in Q1 2021 were registered in Lithuania (+12%) and Slovenia (+11.1%), while the lowest were in Austria (+0.3%) and Belgium (+0.9%).

In Croatia, they went up 2.3%, for the first time since Q2 2020. In Q4 2020, they dropped 1.1%. The costs of hourly wages and salaries increased 2.3% after falling 0.2% at the end of last year. The costs of contributions went up 2.2%, after falling 6.4% at the end of 2020.

The largest decrease in hourly labour costs in Q1 2021 was registered in Malta (-2.6%), followed by Ireland (-2.5%).

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

Friday, 28 May 2021

Job Retention Subsidies to Continue in June

ZAGREB, 28 May 2021 - Croatia will continue in June with job-retention measures for enterprises affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and those in earthquake-hit areas, and the criteria, enterprises concerned and subsidy amounts will stay the same, Prime Minister Andrej Plenković said at a cabinet meeting on Friday.

He said that from March 2020 through 25 May 2021, the state set aside HRK 10.5 billion for job-retention subsidies, covering more than 680,000 workers in over 120,000 enterprises.

Plenković said that despite the extraordinary circumstances caused by the pandemic, the number of Croatian Pension Insurance Institute insurees was twice as high as in 2019 and 2020, and that the average net pay was over HRK 7,000.

"With further measures and activities, we will support the work and survival of our enterprises because employment and job retention is one of the most important priorities of economic development and recovery."

"We can be extremely satisfied with the result the measures have yielded so far. The labour market is stable, there has been no disaster as many predicted, which shows that the government's measures have succeeded," Plenković said, adding that relief for enterprises would last as long as the pandemic.

For more on news in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated news section.

Wednesday, 6 November 2019

Croatia to Abolish Quotas - Doors Open to Non-EU Workers

I recently wrote an article on work permits in Croatia, and delved into what being inside and being outside of the annual quota means. Click here for that, and then read this article which discusses the changes to the Law on Foreigners to see how the changes may apply to you should you be attempting to get a work permit as a third country national in Croatia.

The information provided here should allow you to know what to do (should you need to do anything at all) in order to act accordingly depending on your personal situation.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 6th of November, 2019, the annual quotas for the import of foreign workers set by the Croatian Government will soon be condemned to the history books. In future, employers will employ foreign workers on the basis of a labour market test conducted by the Croatian Employment Service, and in some professions, the import of foreign workers will be fully liberalised, again at the discretion of the CES Governing Council.

The move stems from the draft of the new Law on Foreigners, which has been in public consultation since last week.

Under the new law, an employer from Croatia seeking to hire a foreign (non-EU) worker will have to contact the CES/HZZ regional office to verify whether or not there are any unemployed persons in their records who meet the employer’s requirements.

If there are any, the CES will mediate employment, otherwise, it will issue an opinion on the basis of which MUP (Ministry of the Interior) will issue work permits for foreigners. Once again, this refers to third country nationals, not EU citizens, who can work freely just like Croatian citizens, without the need for any type of permit.

However, these tests will not be carried out in the case of seasonal agricultural workers, and there will be no need for the test in certain other professions either, depending on the decisions of the Governing Council.

The draft law also specifies that these tests will also be overlooked for occupations that are lacking on the local and regional labour market and cannot be ''stoked'' by migration into the country, the implementation of strategic and investment projects, and "other circumstances relevant to economic growth and sustainable development".

The law also provided for exceptions, that is, there will be certain employers who will not be allowed to hire foreign/non EU workers. In such cases, third country nationals would not be allowed to be imported by employers who are subject to proceedings for the non-payment of salaries, those who have companies in liquidation or who have had their accounts blocked for more than thirty days, those who do not pay taxes, and those who have no actual contracted employees. It is also explicitly stipulated that the share of third country nationals among the total number of employees under one employer should not exceed one third, according to a report from Vecernji list.

Since time for the adaptation to this new model is required, above all by the CES, it has been circulating (albeit unofficially for now) that a temporary quota for the employment of non-EU workers will be granted during the first months of next year.

HUP has warned that with the full opening of the Austrian labour market, which has remained limited to Croatian workers owing to a right provided to member states of the EU, it will be even harder for employers to retain domestic workers, as well as foreign seasonal workers next year, which is why they consider the abolition of quotas entirely to be a very reasonable measure.

HUP's Davor Majetić emphasised that it is necessary to prepare a model of employment that will be more competitive than the countries in Croatia's immediate region, but also emphasised that such a model must be functional, which requires quality preparation of the system.

''We therefore support the government's acceptance of our initiative to introduce the Law on Foreigners through a regular procedure in order to implement the process of adjusting the system and stakeholders in a timely manner,'' Majetić said. He warned, however, that the checking of various employers to allow them to import foreign workers could bring with it even more, new administrative burdens, since the employer has so far only required proof of company registration.

Make sure to follow our dedicated politics page for much more.

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