Tuesday, 9 May 2023

Croatian Wages to Increase Owing to Measures, But Not for Everyone

May the 9th, 2023 - Croatian wages are set to increase for a significant proportion of the population thanks to recently introduced government measures, but it won't be the case for everyone.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, neither the complete abolition of surtaxes, nor the increase of the non-taxable part of Croatian wages, nor the reduction of income tax rates will raise the salaries of about two-thirds of taxpayers from next year on, because even with the current rules, those individuals don't pay those particular taxes, as Novi list reports.

Only those people with a net salary of at least 800 euros per month or even those who earn more than the average net salary stand to actually benefit financially from this latest government move aimed at increasing Croatian wages. This is the main reason why the government is seriously considering reducing pension contributions in the first place in order to raise the figure those who earn lower salaries take home each month.

That said, after the abolition of surtaxes, Croatian wages would not increase even for those with above-average incomes, because many of them live in cities and municipalities that have not introduced or abolished the surtaxes and so they'll keep on having to pay local levies.

Where surtaxes aren't already being paid, its cancellation from January the 1st will not actually bring anyone a higher salary, and it's highly unlikely that those cities and municipalities will take advantage of the opportunity to further reduce income tax rates, because they already tried to relieve the burden on their residents by deciding to waive the need to pay surtaxes previously.

Just many workers will actually be left without a salary increase from January the 1st due to these circumstances, although the government keeps on claiming that salaries will increase for everyone, is currently unknown. All we do know is that facts will need to be faced at some point or another, as the Croatian Government is expected to come out with this data when it presents its proposal for tax changes.

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

Friday, 5 May 2023

Igor Skrgatic Says New Labour Law Ensuring More Flexibility Needed

May the 5th, 2023 - The Croatian Employers' Association's Igor Skrgatic has stated that a new Labour Law which would allow for greater flexibility is now more necessary than before.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Josipa Ban writes, Croatia is a country lacking in people, warned Igor Skrgatic, the president of the Croatian Employers' Association's Association of Small and Medium Enterprises, at a working lunch with Minister of Labor Marin Piletic.

Igor Skrgatic stated that this problem, which has numerous consequences, the most important of which is the lack of manpower, should be properly addressed and work needs to be done properly and diligently on policies that will lead to a functional solution. Therefore, the Croatian Government must think and act in the direction of keeping those who have decided to remain in Croatia, as well as work harder on encouraging the return of those who have left.

Is an immigration strategy coming?

Irena Weber, the chief director of the Croatian Employers' Association (HUP), told Minister Piletic that the government must raise its general level of awareness of the importance of entrepreneurship because they are the ones who create jobs, fill the state budget and create much needed added value.

The best way to retain workers is by increasing their wages, and for higher wages, Weber repeated, tax relief is needed. As is already more than well known, this will be implemented next year, and while HUP welcomes it, they are also looking for a change in other policies.

In his part of the presentation at a recently held HUP gathering, where this year the topic was the labour market, the Labour Minister was supposed to give an overview of the policies implemented by the state to improve the unenviable position in which entrepreneurs currently find themselves. From everything that the minister said during the 20-minute speech, it turns out that the ruling party doesn't actually have many concrete policies in this regard, apart from active employment policy measures.

For example, a large influx of foreign labour requires certain properly laid out immigration policies, and Croatia does not yet have such a thing. Piletic announced that the first immigration strategy, which the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MUP) is in charge of, will be adopted by the end of the year.

In the meantime, 124,000 foreign (non-EU) workers arrived in Croatia last year alone (we know this because that's how many work permits were issued), and this number is expected to reach 200,000 this year. In addition, there are more and more people arriving from more ''exotic'' countries among the foreign workers currently arriving, warned Igor Skrgatic, such as Nepalese, Pakistanis, Indians, Uzbeks... all of whom need to be properly integrated into society, and Croatia simply isn't ready for that process.

In addition, as Igor Skrgatic stated, employers would also like the new Labour Law to be looked into and amended. "Here in Croatia, there is a lot of unused man power, and according to statistics, this country is the record holder for having an inactive population. The lack of interest in taking up gainful work is part of the Croatian mentality and a consequence of rentierism, and on the other hand, a consequence of demographic trends and the general state of the labour market. In order to change that, we need to change the Labour Law and enable greater flexibility for both employers and workers,'' believes Igor Skrgatic, adding that the amendments to the Labour Law that came into force at the beginning of this year very much failed to meet employers' expectations.

Piletic stated that the plan and agreement is to start creating a new Labour Law, but that it isn't a realistic idea at least for the next year.

"Since the changes came into force at the beginning of the year and the drafting of by-laws and ordinances necessary for the implementation of a new Labour Law are yet to follow, it isn't realistic to start drafting a new law until we pass all of that,'' said Piletic.

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

Thursday, 30 March 2023

A Fifth of Croatian Employees Fear AI Will Take Their Jobs

March the 30th, 2023 - A fifth of Croatian employees see the frighteningly rapid development of artificial intelligence (AI) as a threat to their jobs. While we all have our varying opinions on the advancement of such ''intelligent'' technologies, it does make one wonder if we're consciously creating our own undoing.

As Josipa Ban/Poslovni Dnevnik writes, as many as two-thirds (69%) of Croatian employees believe that automation and the advancement of technology will threaten many jobs in the future, and less than half (43%) believe that it will open up more opportunities on the labour market as a whole.

Croatian employees appear to be more skeptical than they are optimistic about how the development of technology will affect their position on the labour market, according to a survey of 800 respondents conducted by the very popular MojPosao/MyJob portal.

In fact, one in five Croatian employees (22%) fears that in the next ten or so years, due to the rapid progress of technology we've been witnessing for some time now, they could lose their jobs. They believe that workers in industry, administration and trade will be the most threatened, and those in healthcare, services, art and law will be the least threatened by these rapid changes.

The survey of the attitudes of Croatian employees comes not long after ChatGPT and Bard appeared on the market, solutions that marked a big leap in the development of artificial intelligence (AI). The discussions about how the development of technology will affect the labour market have only intensified with this.

Croatian employees also worry, as research shows, about the social consequences of this type of rapid technology development. As many as 62% of them believe that it will cause high unemployment as well as that it will affect the increasing differences between the rich and the poor (73%).

For more, make sure to follow our dedicated news section.

Friday, 3 March 2023

Some Croatian Employees "Feel Poorer" Since Eurozone Accession

March the 3rd, 2023 - One thing I noticed when Croatia first joined the Eurozone, was that when my salary landed in my current account, it made me look twice. Gone are the days of kuna-dominated sums expressed in the thousands, and it's causing quite the psychological phenomenon. The illusion of money is affecting as many as two thirds of Croatian employees, who now feel ''poorer''.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, challenges with getting used to the euro as this country's new currency are partly due to a psychological phenomenon called the ''money illusion'', which isn't uncommon when changing currencies.

This year, at the moment when the clock struck midnight on the night of December the 31st, 2022, to January the 1st, 2023, Croatia officially got a new national currency. The kuna, which has served us more or less successfully for the past thirty years, gave way to the euro, and since then we've all been receiving our salaries, bonuses and other monetary items expressed in euros. Although essentially not much has changed - in most cases Croatian employees continued to receive the same amounts in terms of value as before, just expressed in a different currency - there was some dissatisfaction.

The above was confirmed by a survey conducted by the MojPosao/MyJob portal, in which almost 900 respondents shared their thoughts, according to which as many as two-thirds of Croatian employees feel poorer since receiving their salaries expressed in euros.

The psychological phenomenon of money illusion

Challenges with getting used to the euro are partly due to a psychological phenomenon called the money illusion, which is not uncommon when countries change their official currencies. As psychologists explain, this illusion occurs because numbers are more important to people than the value of money itself, and this results in a sense of dissatisfaction when nominally smaller amounts start arriving in our bank accounts than before. This is exactly what happened with the switch to the euro.

Challenges with getting used to the euro are partly due to a psychological phenomenon called the money illusion, which is not uncommon when changing currencies.

Namely, almost two-thirds of Croatian employees (63% of them) state that they feel poorer since receiving their salary in euros instead of kuna. Now, they explain, they receive their salary in "hundreds of euros, while it used to be thousands of kuna, which has a negative effect on their satisfaction". Additionally, as a result of inflation, the cost of living has increased, so the salary itself, apart from the nominal amount, has also fallen in real terms compared to before, say the interviewees.

"At first it seems smaller, but it's the same"

On the other hand, a third of Croatian employees (32%) point out that they haven't felt the effects of the money illusion for themselves and feel the same as before the currency change. They state that they were afraid that they would be made to feel that they had suddenly become poorer, but that in the end it was a peaceful transition.

Although in the minority, some people (5%) feel richer since January the 1st than before. According to their thinking, the euro is a stronger currency than the kuna, and thus money expressed in euros has a greater value.

For more, check out our news section.

Thursday, 23 February 2023

Croatian Labour Market Severely Lacking Workers for 28 Professions

February the 23rd, 2023 - The Croatian labour market is no stranger to lacking when it comes to getting the staff, and it is now proposing certain solutions to the fact that it is currently missing workers for around 28 different professions.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, owing to the chronic lack of workers with the necessary skills on the Croatian labour market, the European Commission (EC) declared 2023 the year of skills. An entire spectrum of occupations is lacking in the area of Dalmatia, with a struggle to find employees in almost every field from construction to tourism. One of the solutions is retraining, writes HRT.

Irena Radic from Komiza is one of the sixty participants of the pottery and ceramics workshop. After thirty years of working in a store, she decided to take a different direction.

"It's about retraining the production of souvenirs for our Komiza, today everything is focused on digital skills, but I think these skills should be developed as well," she believes.

"People come to us - some because it's just something they want to do for pleasure, but some people come because they want to take on new jobs. There are no rules when it comes to which genders approach us, and men and women come here," said Sandra Sumic, the head of a pottery and ceramics workshop in Split.

Only 37 percent of adults regularly attend training, and the representative office of the European Commission in Croatia, in cooperation with the Europa Direct Centre in Split, pointed out the problem through the holding of various different workshops and lectures.

"The whole of Europe is facing a labour shortage, both with highly qualified and lower professional qualifications. Three quarters of employers in the EU are coping with difficulties in finding labour both in Croatia and elsewhere in Europe," said the deputy head of the European Commission's representation in Croatia, Andrea Covic Vidovic.

"The Croatian labour market is lacking in tourism and healthcare workers, and that's why in the last two years, we have opened courses for nurses and we also have a competence centre," said Blazenko Boban, the Prefect of Split-Dalmatia County.

Back in 2021, there was a shortage of workers on the Croatian labour market for as many as 28 professions!

"This issue spans the whole spectrum of occupations, from construction, personnel such as carpenters, masons... and on the other hand tourism workers, cooks, bartenders... That's why we're constantly organising retraining and training sessions," said Marin Kanajet from the Croatian Employment Service's (CES) regional office in the City of Split.

"We have an institution that deals with lifelong training. We'll also strengthen this and we have to educate our people, not only the young, but also the elderly, because artificial intelligence (AI) is taking over jobs and that's why they need to be retrained for something else," said the mayor of Split, Ivica Puljak.

Undoubtedly, training and retraining are a big step in business across the European Union as a bloc, and these are issues which stretch far beyond the Croatian labor market.

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

Wednesday, 15 February 2023

Croatian Labour Market Strong Regardless of Crisis, Unemployment Falls

February the 15th, 2023 - Despite the economic crisis that we're still stuck in owing to not only the negative effects left behind by the coronavirus pandemic but also the ongoing war in Ukraine, the Croatian labour market is coping well. There's even been a considerable drop in the unemployment rate.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Suzana Varosanec writes, it's to be expected that the start of seasonal employment will break the trend of the increase in the number of unemployed people on a monthly basis, as it always does each and every year. In January, 122,369 unemployed people were registered with the Croatian Employment Service (CES), meaning that on a monthly basis, the number of registered unemployed persons continued to grow for the fourth month in a row. Compared to December, it increased by 4553 or 3.9%.

However, at the annual level, as RBA analysts point out in their analysis, the downward trend that began back in April 2021 has continued, and compared to the same period in 2022, a decrease of 8,624 persons or 6.6% was recorded.

"Compared to January 2021, the number of unemployed people registered at the CES is lower by 42,976 people or 26%, while compared to January 2020, it's lower by 17,555 people or 12.5%. This is a reflection of the recovery of economic activity after the coronavirus pandemic, but also of generally positive trends across the Croatian labour market, which has been reflected in the improvement compared to the period before the outbreak of the pandemic," the analysis states.

Under the influence of these processes, the Croatian labour market is active and the demand for workers definitely hasn't decreased, and according to RBA analysts, the lack of labour in certain industries is also reflected in the increase in the number of workers coming into Croatia from third countries.

According to the Institute's data, the number of received applications for residence and work permits for foreign (non-EEA) workers in 2022 stood at almost 130,000, and 109,241 were granted by MUP. During January, 12,653 applications were received for 163 occupations, and the most requested were from the construction industry. Most of the requests received came from the City of Zagreb, followed by Istria and Split-Dalmatia counties.

However, reliable statistics on the total number of workers from third countries don't yet exist, so we can only talk about estimates, the analysis emphasises. Economist Damir Novotny has drawn attention to the fact that it isn't a question of the general robustness of the Croatian labour market, but of the sectoral one, because the Croatian labour market is quite shallow and there's a big difference from sector to sector, as well as territorially, so one type of trends applies to Adriatic Croatia, and the other for the continental part of the country, and especially for the City of Zagreb.

"The whole of eastern Slavonia has a weak offer of jobs spanning all sectors, while Istria has a trend of immigration because it has a very strong offer of jobs in the tourism sector, but also in the accompanying activities that supply it with food and various services, which is why Istria is the most developed Croatian region after Zagreb,'' explained Novotny.

Of the total number of unemployed registered back in January, 12,996 (77.1%) came from previous employment, and the most common reason for their job termination was the expiration of a fixed-term employment contract (52.4%). Back at the end of January, there were almost 28,000 vacancies, which is 77.5% more than there were back at the end of 2022 and 5.3% on an annual basis.

According to RBA analysts, the Croatian labour market is continuing to show very strong resistance to unfavourable economic and geopolitical trends so far in 2023 - this is a characteristic of the entire EU, which is contributed to by the already present labour shortage. In the coming months, they expect the continuation of positive trends, but at a lower intensity due to the slowdown in economic activities.

Novotny notes that tourism, despite the global slowdown in economic activity, will continue the strong growth that began last year as new capacities are opened and investments are being made, and this is similar to the construction sector, which is facing an investment cycle funded by the EU. Processes on the Croatian labour market in the upcoming period will also continue to differ greatly from sector to sector.

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

Saturday, 17 December 2022

Croatian Law on Employment of Foreign Seasonal Workers Simplified

December the 17th, 2022 - The Croatian law on the employment of foreigners (third country nationals/non-EEA nationals) has been simplified, making life much easier for sectors like the hospitality, catering and tourism sector going forward.

As Marija Crnjak/Poslovni Dnevnik writes, the operative group of employers within the tourism and hospitality sector, the Croatian Employment Service (CES) and the Ministry of the Interior (MUP) have come together to devise a workable solution within Croatian law that will significantly simplify the procedures for issuing stay and work permits for returning foreign workers.

Instructions for police administrations and police stations have been prepared, as have all of the proper recommendations for employers for the correct submission of such requests, in order to facilitate the entire procedure to the satisfaction of both parties within the scope of Croatian law. Over the following days, detailed instructions for applications for returning workers will be provided to police administrations as well as to employers.

In addition to the above, on January the 12th, 2023, a workshop will be held where employers will have all of the details of the the model of issuing stay and work permits, as well as the methods of properly submitting requests, explained and clarified to them in full. On top of all of that, the possibility of upgrading the CES application is being investigated, so that through the application, it will be possible to check the status of any ongoing procedure, whether the request has been processed, when the work permit was issued and other similar information.

This method of cooperation and communication between the public and private sectors has showcased some truly excellent results and can be an exemplary example of efficient and high-quality communication that results in solutions that, on the one hand, relieve MUP clerks, and on the other hand, truly ensure a quality response to problems on the domestic labour market.

"In the short term of this initiative, our ministry established a dialogue with the representatives of employers within the tourism sector, in order to speed up and simplify the process of issuing residence and work permits, especially for seasonal workers who have been working in Croatia for several consecutive seasons. Both the employers and our Ministry are satisfied with the agreed concrete measures, and this is the way we'll continue our further cooperation. The first such opportunity is their inclusion in the drafting of the new Croatian immigration policy", said Interior Minister Davor Bozinovic.

"This kind of dialogue between MUP and Croatian employers is an excellent example of quality and efficient cooperation that very concretely helps both employers and workers. In a short period of time, we've facilitated the continuous employment of foreign workers who have proven themselves as quality employees in previous years. These changes to the Croatian law will make it easier for employers to prepare for the tourist season," said Irena Weber, CEO of the Croatian Association of Employers (HUP).

For more, check out our news section.

Wednesday, 30 November 2022

How to Croatia - How Can I Work Legally and How Do I Find a Job?

November the 30th, 2022 - Imagining yourself lounging around on a Dalmatian beach with a cold beer in hand is all well and good, but unless you've won the lottery or have a foreign wage or pension coming in every month, how do you fund it? Here's how to get a job (legally), in this edition of our How to Croatia series.

I know, it might be funny to read ‘working in Croatia’ considering the reality that the Croatian economy isn’t exactly booming and an enormous number of people are out of work for various reasons. There is a demographic crisis which is still ongoing, a brain drain, and there are employers seeking employees but can’t pay them what they’d like to. It’s a complicated situation that requires a book of its own, but one of many Croatian paradoxes is that you just can’t get the staff, despite the fact that the staff are quite literally everywhere.

I’m aware that many expats in Croatia earn their money abroad, or are drawing a foreign pension. In that case, you can safely skip this part, but for those who want the experience of working for a Croatian company, read on!

Now, it’s important to note that being able to work in Croatia and under what conditions also depends, much like residence, on your nationality. 

So, who can work in Croatia? Do I need a work permit?

If you’re an EEA citizen, or you’re from Switzerland, you are free to take up work or self-employment in Croatia much like a Croat can. You don’t need any type of work permit or special permission to do that. If a Croatian company wants to hire you, they can.

If you’re a third country national, then things are a bit more difficult. Not impossible, might I add, but more difficult. If you’re a third country national and you haven’t yet been granted permanent residence, then you’ll need to seek a work permit if you’re offered employment.

If you’re a British national covered by the Withdrawal Agreement (a pre-Brexit Brit), then you can work without a work permit. Post-Brexit Brits, however, fall under the third country national category.

If you have permanent residence in Croatia, you can work in Croatia regardless of your nationality, be it an EEA citizenship or a third country one, being a permanent resident in Croatia more or less equals you with a citizen, especially in this regard.

Seems simple enough… How do I get a work permit?

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 (shock, horror, it’s the police again!)

Please note that the law states you must begin the work permit extension procedure 60 days before your current 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?

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.

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

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/trade (tvrtka or obrt), etc, in Croatia. (Extracts from the relevant registers should not be more than six months of age).

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).

Your OIB (personal identification number used for tax purposes that was touched on earlier).

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).

A photo of you (this is done in the same way as with the residence permit, so MUP will tell you more).

Proof of having paid the applicable fees for the application.

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 you as a third country national applied for residence in Croatia, you may not need to provide proof of having Croatian state 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 anyway.

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, so do be prepared for the question.

Is Croatia part of the EU Blue Card scheme?

Croatia is indeed 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.

I’m a third country national going through this process, does my 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.

There used to be a quota system in place, but it has been abolished… Why?

Croatia used to use a quota for the employment of third country nationals in various sectors in need of workers. This has been abolished, so I won’t go too deeply into it. 

Under the no-more-quotas-rule, an employer from Croatia seeking to hire a foreign (non-EU) worker will have to contact their Croatian Employment Service’s (CES) regional office to verify whether or not there are any unemployed persons in their records who meet their requirements.

If there are any, the CES will mediate the employment of that (usually Croatian or EEA) individual, otherwise, it will issue an opinion on the basis of which MUP will issue work permits for foreigners. Once again, this refers to third country nationals, not EEA citizens, who can work freely just like Croatian citizens, without the need for any type of permit. If you’re an EEA citizen, just ignore this entirely.

It’s worth bearing in mind that these tests aren’t carried out in the case of seasonal agricultural workers, and there’s no need for the test in certain other professions either. I’m aware this comes across as somewhat vague, but these tests are also 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’.

In other words, it’s all about context and the situation at hand. Much like just about everything else in Croatia.

Now that bit is (hopefully) cleared up, how do I actually find a job?

I’ll be honest, it’s no easy feat. Croatia is a nation of paradoxes in many regards, and this is just one of them. There’s an ongoing demographic crisis, employers can’t get the staff, everyone is out of work, there is plenty of work and there’s also no work. I know, it’s difficult to wrap your head around.

Employment in Croatia is, on the whole, very seasonal. The unemployment rate traditionally drops like a tonne of bricks the closer we edge to the summer tourist season, and we all get to read about it each and every year in the newspapers like it’s some economy-rescuing phenomenon. Talk about groundhog day. I digress, finding a job in the catering, hospitality and tourism sector isn’t that difficult as the warmer weather approaches, especially as the demographic crisis is biting even harder.

Traditionally, citizens of Croatia’s neighbouring countries such as Serbia and the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina come to work as bar staff, waiters and chefs in coastal Croatian destinations to fill labour market gaps. Many people from Bosnia and Herzegovina also hold Croatian citizenship and of course speak Croatian, so it’s easy for them to hop over the border and get a job. Given that Dubrovnik for example is so close to the border with Bosnia and Herzegovina, people from a town called Trebinje which belongs to Republika Srpska often travel the few miles into the extreme south of Dalmatia and gain employment as seasonal workers during summer, repeating the same thing each year, much to the disdain of Dubrovnik’s locals.

More recently, Croatia has been importing labour from much more distant countries, including India, Nepal and the Philippines. There are even agencies which facilitate precisely this. Since the war broke out in Ukraine following the Russian invasion in February 2022, many Ukrainians have also taken up residence and work in Croatia. Ukraine is hardly a distant country, but it is a third country (a non-EEA member state) and this is worth mentioning because the number of Ukrainians working in Croatia has increased significantly since Croatia facilitated this for refugees.

Many Croats have gone off to Ireland, Germany and all over the place to seek work and better prospects. This was made extremely easy when Croatia joined the EU in July 2013, allowing Croats to work in most countries across the bloc without the need for a work permit, with only a few continuing to maintain labour restrictions which would expire after a period of however many years. The United Kingdom and Austria were just two of several of the countries which imposed this. Those restrictions were eventually dropped.

Background over, let’s get back to the practicalities.

How do I find a job in Croatia?

There are a multitude of ways. In a country so set in the ways of connections and someone’s friend’s uncle knowing someone else’s cousin who used to work for so and so (apparently it’s called networking now), word of mouth is king. 

Talk to who you know, and ask them to talk to who they know

Word of mouth is, as I stated above, king in Croatia. Many people find jobs through someone who knows someone else, so put yourself out there. If you’re fluent in a language like English or German, you can absolutely use this to your advantage.

The Croatian Employment Service (CES)

In Croatian, this is Hrvatski zavod za zapošljavanje, or HZZ for short. It is a state institution which implements employment programmes. It is by no means a legal requirement as a jobseeker to apply to be kept up to date with new jobs on offer linked to your desired field of work, education and profession in this way, but it might help you. What you need to commit to if you do choose to do this is to visit their office once a month, then once every two months after some time passes. You’ll need to find the office closest to your place of residence if you choose to take this route. 

You can unsubscribe from their service and from receiving information on available jobs from them at any time, whether you’ve found work or not.

Facebook groups

There’s a Facebook group for just about anything, and finding jobs and staff is no exception. Numerous Facebook groups exist solely for this purpose. Many of these groups are regionally based, or city/town based. A quick Facebook search will allow you to narrow down the sort of thing you’re looking for, be that freelancing, work in the blossoming Croatian IT sector, seasonal work, or even work as a skipper, videographer or photographer.

Most of these groups will contain the words ‘trebam’ (I need), ‘tražim’ (I’m looking for), ‘nudim’ (I’m offering) and posao (work/a job). Add your location if that is important to you and you’re not a remote worker, and off you go. Just watch out for scams and spam posts. They’re usually obvious and properly administered Facebook groups will quickly take such posts down, but sometimes they aren’t as obvious as one might hope. This is a very legitimate way to seek and find work, with thousands of people doing it, but it always pays to keep your wits about you.

Websites and platforms

Just like in most other places, Croatia has its own array of websites and platforms dedicated to job searches. Posao (posao.hr) is a very popular one, as is Moj Posao (moj-posao.hr), Jooble (hr.jooble.org), Oglasnik (oglasnik.hr), Freelance (freelance.hr) and even Njuškalo (njuskalo.hr) all have a huge amount of jobs on offer spanning a very wide array of different fields and professions. There are some which offer information and even live chats in English, such as danasradim.hr, which is a Croatian language website with a live English language chat option, and PickJobs, which is available in multiple languages. 

I’m not endorsing any of the above websites, nor do I have any affiliation to them, but this is just an example of (only a mere handful) the amount of websites in Croatia dedicated to employment, be you the employer or the would-be employee. LinkedIN is also extremely helpful and will show you jobs best suited to you, as will websites like the aforementioned Moj Posao which have a newsletter you can subscribe to.

Target Croatian companies specifically

If you’re qualified and interested in a highly specific field, such as engineering for example, the likes of Rimac Automobili and Infobip might well be on your radar. There are many rapidly growing, wildly successful companies in Croatia (contrary to what you might hear and read), and they’re more or less constantly expanding and trying their hands at new things. These are the types of companies that you need to contact directly. They might be a safer option if you’re a non-EEA national without permanent residence, meaning you need a work permit in order to legally work in Croatia, as highly qualified employees who aren’t EU Blue Card holders are still deeply desired by companies like the aforementioned who are willing to go the extra mile to get you sorted legally.

Language schools

There are multiple language schools spread across Croatia who are often on the hunt for native English speakers (and indeed the native speakers of a number of other languages). A quick Google search will reveal their details. It’s absolutely worth contacting them.

Things to note

There are more and more large multinational companies popping up in Croatia, particularly in larger cities Zagreb and Split, who require staff who speak other languages. Some don’t even make speaking or understanding Croatian a requirement.

When the quota system (which I talked about a little bit in the Working in Croatia chapter) was in force, things were a bit different for companies seeking to employ third country nationals. They didn’t have to contact the Croatian Government and were free to facilitate the employment of a third country national (and have their work permit approved) as long as their skills matched what the quota needed. That is no longer the case. Now quotas are a thing of the past (and have been since January the 1st, 2021), employers must still contact the powers that be and make sure there are no Croats or permanent residents registered on the labour market who would fit the bill for the job before being able to hire you.

Many job posts being posted on Facebook groups in particular will state that they want people who have ‘EU papers’ (meaning either an EU passport, or someone who isn’t an EU citizen but who does have permanent residence in Croatia).

The economy isn’t ideal at the minute (it feels like we’ve been saying that for an eternity, doesn’t it?), and finding a job is not easy, so don’t be put off if you don’t hear back from some of the places you apply to. Unfortunately, ignoring applications as opposed to sending out a ‘thanks, but no thanks’ in response has become the norm just about everywhere.

As I talked about before, because Croatia’s demographic crisis is becoming more and more problematic, many Croatian employers are importing foreign (non-EEA) labour, either from neighbouring countries or from much further afield. If you are a non-EEA national and you manage to land a job, just be prepared for MUP to take a while to approve your work permit. They have been struggling with an increasing backlog and there are unfortunate (and infuriating) cases in which Croatian employers in the tourism, catering and hospitality sectors are waiting for weeks for their employees’ work permits to be processed, leaving them short of staff in the height of the summer season purely due to complicated red tape. 

Because of this, if you’re a non-EEA citizen and you want to work in Croatia’s tourism, catering or hospitality sector, you must begin your job hunt months before summer arrives to make sure (as best you can), that your paperwork is all done and dusted and you can begin work and legally receive a wage before the tourist season hits.

You’re much more likely to find work in less formal ways than through the CES. I’m not saying that it doesn’t help, but most people simply don’t fall into jobs through that service, particularly if they’re foreign, and every other way I’ve listed is more popular and usually yields more fruit.

For more on our How to Croatia series which is published each week, check out our lifestyle section.

Sunday, 20 November 2022

Seasonal Workers from Third Countries Getting Scammed by Croatian Agencies

November 20, 2022 - After the summer season in Croatia, thousands of seasonal workers from the so-called third countries were left unemployed.

As Poslovni / Dnevnik report, this year alone, 105,000 work permits were issued. There are more and more workers from third-world countries like Nepal, the Philippines, and India. Agencies promised them good salaries, accommodation, meals, transportation, and visa processing, but many still had to pay hundreds of euros to come and work in Croatia.

Many were left on the road, without money, and practically in debt to slavery. What is worrying is that the Croatian institutions have almost no control over the whole situation, writes Dnevnik. The agencies through which they come often take money to get a job, and when they arrive, the salary and working conditions are nowhere near what was promised. Thus, they practically fall into debt slavery. Croatian institutions have no control over this situation nor a migration policy, but by October of this year, more than 105,000 work permits had already been issued.

Debt slavery

According to the Ministry of Labour, there are around 440 agencies that deal with temporary employment and bring foreign workers to Croatia. Another 424 natural and legal persons are involved in employment mediation.
"Let's say that they would come to work in Croatia and if you promise someone that they will have a salary of 1200, 1300 euros, then they will give that money without any problem because he thinks that in two or three months they will earn enough to cover those debts. However, it happens that they come there and work for 500 euros, and with that money, they can never pay back that debt, and they are practically forced to work for even less in the future so that they can pay back that debt and somehow survive," revealed the interviewee for Dnevnik.
The trade union says that this practice is entirely illegal.


Most of the workers claim that Croatian agencies took their money. To the e-mails sent to a dozen of these agencies, some more, some less politely replied that they do not take money from workers.

"I know from the stories that prostitution already appeared, and for very little money, because somehow they have to survive, they have to buy rice and food. And that's the simplest, so to say, the easiest way to make money," said one of the agency's owners.

Who knows?

The Ministry of Interior stated that they "do not maintain data collections on reports of irregularities in the labour relations of citizens of the third countries." In doing so, they issued almost 82,000 residence and work permits in 202 and nearly 106,000 in 2022 by the end of October.

What happens to these people, where they end up, and even whether the employer and temporary employment agencies that are, by the Labour Act, even at the Employment Office, they do not know.

The State Inspectorate responded to the journalist's question that they do not keep precise records of where people are from when it comes to violating the law but that they have received a large number of petitions related to violations of the law regarding the work of foreigners.

In these cases, both employers and workers who worked illegally were punished. That was about 395 citizens of third countries during this year, and the employers paid HRK 4,650,000, writes Dnevnik.

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

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