Do You Want To Work In Croatia? What Permits Must Employer Obtain For You?

Foreigners are all persons who do not have Croatian citizenship or the citizenship of one of the countries of the European Union, Liechtenstein, Norway or Iceland. Under certain conditions, foreigners are not Swiss citizens.


Foreigners can work in Croatia according to several different models. In the last few years, the largest contingent of the workforce comes through a residence and work certificate – so-called work permits, which employers obtain for them from the police. Work permits were obtained before as well, but over time the system was liberalized. Thus, ten years ago it was practically impossible to import labor if you did not already have foreign workers in the annual quota, but today imports would be free and without quotas.


Specialized workers – let them get you an EU blue card


A special form of work permit is the so-called European Blue Card. It is a work permit that is obtained only if the worker is highly educated or highly specialized.

This permit enables travel in all European Union countries and is therefore attractive for both workers and employers. In this way, a worker with a blue card can be sent on an official trip to another country and can travel for private purposes. The Blue Card actually gives the opportunity to live in the European Union. The holder of a blue card is allowed to bring family members from the first day, while with an ordinary work permit it is only allowed after two years of work in Croatia.


The monthly salary is at least 2,000 euros gross, which is three times lower than the salary for a blue card holder issued by Germany.


In practice, there is a number of difficulties, and the most important thing is to justify the need to employ workers via the blue card. It is especially complex in cases of obtaining a card for refugees from war zones, who cannot prove an immediate war threat in order to obtain refugee status, so they seek a blue card as a way to stay in Europe. This requires professional help.


You are waiting for a work permit – be good to your neighbors


All foreigners must pass a security check during the first approval of their work permit and EU blue card. The verification takes between one and two months, and it is the most time-consuming part of the entire permit process. There is no way to speed up the process, and in addition to the security check conducted by the Central Intelligence Agency, the police also conduct field checks on foreigners who are candidates for work permits.


These checks are unexpected, they often come down to the police talking to the neighbors or a representative of the co-owners about who the foreigners who rented an apartment in the building are and what they do. In the case of so-called family reunification, the police also check personal items, photographs and everything that can influence the impression of whether two people are in a real family relationship or not. In Croatia, the reunification of families and persons who are same-sex partners or different-sex partners is allowed, regardless of whether they have registered the fact of partnership in public registers.


Seasonal work in Croatia – one work permit for several seasons


Residence and work permits can also be for seasonal work, so an employer can hire a worker for 90 days for performing work in tourism, agriculture, catering.


An amendment to the law is expected, according to which permits will be issued for 5 seasons instead of one calendar year, which will reduce the costs and administration of work permits for seasonal workers.


Employment contracts with foreigners are flawed


In practice, difficulties arise for workers who live in accommodation provided by the employer. Workers are often from conflicting religious or ethnic groups in countries of origin, so it is necessary to specify the rules of behavior and respect for others in employment contracts.


Employment contracts are still in practice only in the Croatian language or possibly also in English, and in the event of a dispute about what and how the worker was supposed to work but did not, the worker’s understanding does not prevail. This is due to the fact that in most cases, dissatisfied workers leave their employers and go work for other employers in Croatia.


PS. Work permit tourism is becoming more and more common – which is a cynical description of the situation when local employers are used to obtain permits for foreign workers, and the intention of the workers was all along, to enter the European Union and only to travel.

For more information on this or any other legal, tax, or business topic, you may freely and with no charges reach out to us at [email protected] at any time or call us on the phone number +381113281914 during every working day from 08:30 to 16:30.

Information contained in this alert is for the general education and knowledge of our readers. It is not designed to be, and should not be used as, the sole source of information when analyzing and resolving a legal problem, and it should not be substituted for legal advice, which relies on a specific factual analysis. Moreover, the laws of each jurisdiction are different and are constantly changing. This information is not intended to create, and receipt of it does not constitute an attorney-client relationship. If you have specific questions regarding a particular fact situation, we urge you to consult the authors of this publication, your AK STATT representative, or other competent legal counsel.

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