Monday, 27 June 2022

MUP Bogged Down by Croatian Employers Requesting Work Permits for Foreigners

June the 27th, 2022 - Croatian employers are requesting work permits for would-be foreign employees left, right and centre. With demographic issues and difficulties finding qualified local staff continuing to bite, MUP is having trouble getting through the paperwork in time for the height of the summer season.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, the ongoing problem of staff shortages escalated for Croatian employers last summer, and this year it has become even more pronounced because there are more guests, this tourist season could be better than that of 2019, and the desire to travel is great, leading some to describe it as being as if the dam has given way.

There is as much labour here on the domestic labour market as there is, and it isn't enough. As such, Croatian employers are continuing to turn to foreign workers from outside the EEA/EU who need work permits, Novi list reports.

Croatian employers say that even the pool often used in neighbouring non-EEA/EU countries such as Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia has been emptied, meaning that more and more workers are being brought in from distant countries like India, Nepal, the Philippines… To work in Croatia legally, non-EU foreigners, of course, need work permits. And there was a big problem with this at MUP last year as well.

People came from abroad and stayed in workers' accommodation units for weeks, until they got their work permits and began work. The tourism sector asked last year for MUP to speed up the process of issuing work permits, however, in principle the only thing that has changed is that applications can now be submitted online instead of being taken to administrative police stations in person. Despite very small changes, just like in previous years, overworked MUP employees continue to deal with all of these requests manually, one by one.

Robert Palic, an employer in tourism from Crikvenica, who has five catering and hospitality facilities in the very centre, explained what it looks like in practice. He applied for about fifty work permits back in early May and hasn't even received even half to date. However, he says, in the meantime, ten work permits have practically been made pointless because people gave up in the meantime and went and found another job elsewhere.

"There were seven Nepalese nationals among them. I paid the agency through which I can employ these people 10,500 kuna to bring those seven people to Croatia, and then another 4,000 kuna for their work permits. With the proviso that they had to come to New Delhi to the embassy with a work permit to get a visa. When I was told that work permits would be ready, those people headed to New Delhi which is, let's not forget, 550 kilometres away from their homes. They waited there for three days for their work permits to arrive to pick up their visas. However, as those work permits didn't arrive. So of course those people gave up on it,'' Palic explained.

He added that at the administrative police station in Crikvenica he asked if he could return those work permits or get the costs taken away for the paid for the work permits he'd paid for for other workers, because he obviously doesn't need these for Nepalese nationals anymore, but they said that no, he can't.

"I'm losing workers, I'm losing money, and on top of that I have to find a dozen new workers overnight. Until a few days ago, I had all my facilities closed because I can't complete my team, and it's already the middle of June,'' added Palic.

“I understand those two women who have to process all these requests and who are overwhelmed with work, but then things need to be arranged differently, more people need to be hired by MUP, as needed, or the whole story needs to be digitised. After all, the coronavirus pandemic taught us how to deal with everything online. Let them put themselves in my position, the tourist season is here, and there are no people, I can’t do all this and only have three workers. My employees who are already working, can’t do the whole season on their own, it’s unbearable, so I urgently need to find more workers. I need to find them tomorrow, not in a month's time,'' pointed out Palic.

The search for workers did indeed set off on time in Palic's case, but the paperwork issues and MUP's outdated way of handling administrative procedures clearly clouded the plans.

Quotas for foreign workers were abolished, but things are no easier...

When asked by the press about the situation with work permits this year, the Police Administration of Primorje-Gorski Kotar County told us that by Wednesday, June the 5th, the Crikvenica Police Station had received a total of 1,258 applications for residence and work permits for non-EU citizens.

"This number refers not only to seasonal work up to 90 days, but also to the extension of existing permits to one year and the request of the CES application, which includes seasonal work up to six months and so-called ''new employment'' for a period of one year. As for the number of requests received compared to the same period last year, it has more than doubled,'' they said from MUP.

"Every year, there's a growing problem when it comes to finding quality workers in Serbia, because instead of coming to Croatia, more and more of them are going off to work in Western European countries. So there's a shortage of people in this pool of ours as well. And that's why we will all have to look more and more for workers from more distant countries. As for the Nepalese, the idea was to have a dozen of them this year and then have them return home satisfied because then they'll say how much it pays to come here to work, so I'll be able to count on, let's say, 20 employees from this country. And that gives me some sense of security in a situation when this pool of ours is almost empty,'' said Palic, just one of many Croatian employers facing this huge problem which keeps on escalating each and every year.

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

Saturday, 9 November 2019

Croatian Tourism Sector Still Dissatisfied Despite Quota Abolition Decision

While the Croatian Government has decided on the total abolition of foreign employment quotas, which should boost the economy by providing easier access to the Croatian labour market for third country (non-EU) nationals, and take effect in early 2020, it seems that the Croatian economy will still spend some time proverbially biting its nails as certain key industries struggle until then.

As Novac/Dora Koretic writes on the 9th of November, 2019, Jutarnji list is in possession of the first unofficial version of the 2020 quota decision, which was delivered to all stakeholders in the negotiation process for foreign workers last week. And it has, again unofficially, caused a considerable level of dissatisfaction with a good part of the sector.

The dissatisfaction is being felt primarily by the tourist sector, which is Croatia's strongest economic branch. According to the first (still unofficial) version of next year's quota decision, a mere 20,000 of the total 81,600 proposed quotas have been allocated to the tourism sector, mainly new employment and seasonal workers.

The reason for dissatisfaction lies in the fact that the aforementioned figure is almost identical to the quotas available to the sector this year, but also in the fact that from 2020 onwards, Croatia will face new circumstances that will see it require a significantly larger number of foreigners.

"We in tourism expect that we'll need between 30 and 35 thousand foreigners in total if we want to cover all our needs," said the director of the Croatian Tourism Association, Veljko Ostojić.

Ostojić pointed out that the increase in quotas is necessary because, as of January the 1st, 2020, the Austrian labour market will finally open its doors to Croatian citizens, meaning they will no longer require work permits and will be treated the same as other EU nationals. This means that an even larger proportion of seasonal workers will be employed by companies from outside of Croatia, and will move across the border.

“We're already getting information from larger hotel companies that some seasonal workers have announced that they're going to Austria, which is relatively nearby, and they can then can earn higher wages from next year on. Our suggestion, therefore, is to reach the figure of 30 thousand quotas plus an additional five thousand which could be activated at the minister's discretion. We don't want to start having petty arguments about the numbers like we did last year,'' said Ostojić, emphasising the fact that hoteliers must start recruiting all available manpower already.

"That's why [the figures] were sent to all the addresses to give people from the sector a chance to voice all of their comments and suggestions, only then will a final proposal be drafted for adoption,'' an informed source assured Novac. In addition, the source noted that a quota of 20,000 tourism workers has been set in order to bridge the period until quotas are completely abolished, which, according to the updated Law on Foreigners, is expected in spring 2020.

The subject of foreign workers for Croatian tourism was also touched on by Tourism Minister Gari Cappelli at the London Tourism Fair over recent days. However, the ministry didn't want to comment specifically on the first unofficial, much-lower-than-expected (and apparently disappointing) quota proposal.

Make sure to follow our dedicated business page for more.

Saturday, 17 August 2019

Work Permits in Croatia Explained: Application, EU, Annual Quotas and More

August the 17th, 2019 - We've tackled the ins and outs of legal residence, citizenship through descent, marriage, naturalisation and special interest, and now we're venturing into the world of work permits in Croatia.

In this article, we'll explore who issues permits, the procedures, what work permits both inside and outside of the annual quotas mean, and who needs a work permit to carry out economic activities in Croatia.

UPDATE: The Croatian Government has opted to abolish quotas for third country nationals. To find out what that means for you, click here.

First things first: Who doesn't need a work permit to work legally in Croatia?

1.) Citizens of any country (regardless of whether or not their country of citizenship is an EU member state) who hold permanent residence in Croatia can work in any sense, without any need for a permit, and without any restrictions.

2.) Nationals of the European Union (nationals of the EU's member states, including nationals of Switzerland, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein) can work in Croatia freely, without any need for any type of work permit, and are treated in the same way as Croatian nationals.

If they intend to live in Croatia (stay for more than three months), then they will still need to apply for a residence permit. This permit will not be a stay and work permit, because EU nationals who are not Austrian nationals, do not need any type of work permit to work in Croatia.

Why have I mentioned Austrian nationals, you ask?

The only nationals of the EU who continue to need work permits to be able to legally work in Croatia are Austrian nationals. 


Transitional restrictions on the access of workers from Croatia to the labour markets of other EU member states currently still apply in Austria. They previously applied in Malta, the Netherlands, Slovenia and the United Kingdom, but those countries have since dropped all restrictions for Croatian nationals, and Croatia has therefore done the same for Maltese, Dutch, Slovenian and British citizens.

This law means that Austria regulates the access of Croatian workers to its labour market by national law and not EU law, and as such may require work permits from Croatian workers.

Croatia has equivalent transitional restrictions for workers from Austria. This will continue until Austria removes any barrier to the Austrian labour market for Croatian citizens.

What about third country nationals? (Citizens of countries from outside of the European Economic Area)

All citizens of third countries (non EEA nationals) who do not hold permanent residence in Croatia must apply for a work permit should they be offered employment in Croatia.

Work permits are regulated by an annual quota, and there are a certain number of permits issued for each type of ''activity'' (economic) in Croatia each year. Recently, the quota has been increased to allow for third country nationals to fill the work positions Croats and EU nationals are not doing, primarily owing to the current demographic crisis in Croatia.

How does a third country national or an Austrian citizen apply for a work permit in Croatia?

In order to get a work permit, you'll need to either apply from within Croatia if you're already here, or at a diplomatic mission in your own country. Should you need to extend the work permit you've been granted when here in Croatia, you may do so in person at your local administrative police station. 

Please note that the law states you must do this 60 days before your work permit is due to expire. There are exceptions of course, and discretion is commonly used by MUP, but it's best to stick to this rule to avoid needless complications and possible extra paperwork, not to mention a fine.

What does a third country national need to present when applying for a work permit for Croatia?

1.) You'll need to present an official (government issued) ID, such as a biometric ID card or a passport, and a copy of the information page

2.) An employment contract (it's wise to make a couple of copies), or other appropriate proof of having concluded (signed) a work contract

3.) If you're not technically being employed by a third party, and you intend to carry out your work in Croatia as a self employed person, you'll need to provide proof of you having registered your company, craft (obrt), etc, in Croatia. (Extracts from the relevant registers should not be more than six months of age)

4.) A completed application for the work permit (this can be picked up at the administrative police station when you apply, or at the competent diplomatic mission outside of Croatia)

5.) Your OIB (personal identification number used for tax purposes)

6.) If you've registered your address in Croatia, you'll need to provide proof of you having done so (either via a registration certificate, proof of you having submitted that particular document, or your Croatian ID card if you already have it)

7.) A photo of you (done in passport style but not necessarily passport size, MUP will tell you more)

8.) Proof of having paid the applicable fees for the application (Form 9a)

You may be asked for proof of your education and qualifications, proof of sufficient funds, and other documents depending on your individual situation.

You'll notice that unlike when third country nationals apply for residence in Croatia, you may not need to provide proof of having health insurance when applying for a work/stay and work permit if you are being hired by a Croatian employer/company, as this will be paid by them.

In some cases, however, third country nationals continue to be asked for this, and it is prescribed by law even though this often isn't asked about.

Croatia is part of the EU Blue Card Scheme, which often proves useful for third country nationals in Croatia. If you're highly skilled and are offered an EU Blue Card, this can entitle you to two years of being able to work in Croatia. Other work/stay and work permits typically only allow for twelve months at a time and in some cases can prove problematic to extend.

For certain jobs, you don't need a work permit, but a work registration certificate, and your employer can get this for you from the police. If you're unsure of whether or not this applies to you, ask MUP and your employer.

Does the third country national's Croatian employer need to be involved at all in this process?


The work/stay and work permit procedure can either be done by you, or by your employer who has their company seat in Croatia. You'll both be required to provide supporting documents as and when asked for them. You may also be asked to provide official translations for any documents you provide which are not already in Croatian.

What does being inside or outside of the annual quota mean?

If you're confused about Croatia's annual quotas and just what they mean, MUP explains in detail what each of them is and who falls under which category. 

For details on the issuance of stay and work permits outside of the annual quota, click here.

For details on the issuance of stay and work permits inside the annual quota, click here.

Brexit is looming, what do you do if you're a British national wanting to work/already living and working in Croatia?

If you're a British national who is already living in Croatia with regulated residence (a residence permit), then you can continue to carry out whatever economic activities you are currently doing without the need for any special permissions or work registration.

Croatia has vowed to protect the rights of all British nationals who are legally living and/or working in Croatia, regardless of the outcome of the Brexit negotiations (deal or no deal), and who hold a valid residence permit before the UK leaves the EU.

No Deal Brexit: British nationals who are legally resident before Brexit in the case of a no deal Brexit can continue to work, be self employed or be hired just as they did before. British nationals who arrive after a no deal Brexit will be subject to the national rules on third country nationals.

Brexit with a deal: British nationals who are legally resident and continue to be at the end of December 2020can continue to work, be self employed or be hired just as they did before. British nationals who arrive after the end of the transition (implementation) period will be subject to the national rules on third country nationals.

For much more detailed information on that, make sure you register your residence now, and click here.

For more information on working and living in Croatia, make sure to follow our dedicated lifestyle page.


Tuesday, 6 August 2019

Croatian Employers Hire Third Country Nationals, Wait Months for Permits

As Novac writes on the 6th of August, 2019, the now burning problem of a lack of qualified personnel in the Croatian tourism industry began escalating to unseen levels last year, and this year it has only intensified.

Labour import quotas have been increasing owing to the now rather desperate demand in the tourism sector, and as it has become difficult to find people from the Balkans, let alone people from the European Union, all of whom can work in Croatia without needing a work permit (apart from Austrian citizens, who still require one because of the barriers to Croatian nationals on the Austrian labour market).

Even third country nationals from other, nearby Balkan countries (non-EU countries such as Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina) have been hard to come by. Therefore, third country nationals from distant lands such as Filipinos, Indians and even seasonal workers from African countries can often be seen working in Croatian hospitality establishments. Raising quotas has somewhat solved the issues of this tourist season, in a sense, but the problem now, as Novi List writes, continues to be Croatia's mundane, draconian and utterly senseless processes for registering workers from outside of the territory of the European Economic Area.

Although we now in the very height of the Croatian tourist season, Robert Marić from the popular coastal town of Crikvenica still can't get the papers he needs for his employee from neighbouring Bosnia and Herzegovina to work, who is still awaiting approval of his residence, he is also experiencing the same issues with his workers who come from Serbia. Both of these countries are outside of the EU.

''Two months ago, I handed over the papers to the police for two of my employees, one is a woman from Bosnia and Herzegovina and the other is Serbian. To this day, this hasn't been resolved. I guess I'll get them in early September, when I don't even need them anymore. It's now early August, and we don't have people yet. The fact is that people can't be found for work, and in many hospitality establishments, grandparents, parents and uncles are having to come to the rescue... And when you find staff from outside [of Croatia and the EU], you can't get their paperwork done,'' this rightfully angry employer explained, adding that one such form he submitted to the police took twelve days to reach another floor of the same building. Something which is utterly unjustifiable given the workforce issues Croatia now faces.

Srećko Blažević, the husband of a tourism worker who lives in Croatia, said he came to live in Crikvenica from Vrbovec, and he married his wife thirteen years ago, who is originally from Bosnia and Herzegovina and has citizenship of that country.

''In Croatia, we have our own property, among other things, we've got a house in Vrgorac. However, we came to live in Crikvenica, we rented an apartment legally... However, the problem arose with the police where we asked for a residence permit [attesting to that new address] and they asked us for a wedding certificate to prove that we were married, as well as proof of having deposited 35,000 kuna in a bank in order to guarantee that my wife would have something to live on.

We already had a work contract to show she was starting work the next day, and thus in a month's time she'd receive a salary, and regardless, we own property in Croatia. But the worst part is that we submitted this request two months ago and we're still waiting. I don't know when we will get the approval,'' said Blažević in total disbelief, pointing out that it was not a problem at all that they had to pay, but just that these very necessary papers were taking such a ridiculously long time.

He also pointed out that his wife even wanted to open a cleaning service, in perspective, but if she has to wait for the most basic paperwork for three whole months, then that doesn't make any sense at all. Croatia has lost out once again with its draconian paper-loving policies, as their idea was to hire two more employees in that would-have-been cleaning business.

Robert Palić, who has several catering establishments and a hotel in Crikvenica said that as many as forty employees had to be sought from outside of Croatian territory this year. But luckily for him, the issue of paperwork went relatively painlessly, and everything was resolved and done in about twenty or so days.

''I found 90 percent of my people in Belgrade. All my chefs are from there. I found them upon recommendation. Otherwise, I even have an employee from Tanzania, a waiter who graduated in political science in Belgrade, and who worked on a cruiser, so we're pleased with that,'' concluded Palić.

Make sure to follow our dedicated lifestyle and business pages for much more.