Government has decided to ease regulations for the hiring of foreign labour. According to its latest proposed legislation, government would no longer set an annual quota for foreign work permits, instead, conditions for employers to obtain work permits for foreigners will be determined by the Employment Bureau.
Presenting the bill Deputy Prime Minister and Interior Minister Davor Božinović said: “Employers will be required to request a labour market test study from the Employment Bureau prior to applying for a foreign work permit. This process can last a maximum of thirty days. The bill foresees exceptions for the labour market study for those fields in which there is a labour shortage, such as carpenters, bricklayers, bartenders, butchers and with regard to seasonal workers, for the forestry, agriculture, hotel and tourism sectors.”
Unions say the proposed legislation will hurt domestic workers, as when the coronavirus travel restrictions are lifted there will be nothing to stop a flood of foreign workers from arriving in Croatia. Union leader Krešimir Sever also believes this will allow employers to further drive wages down: “Year-in and year-out we are increasingly making it easier for employers to bring in workers, and in that way we are contributing to the process of forcing Croatian workers out of Croatia and into foreign markets. If anyone thinks this labour market test means anything, they've been duped. This will now allow employers to easily claim that they looked for workers, but simply couldn't find any, and therefore needs to import cheaper labour from abroad.”