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Finding Employment

Croatia - Finding Employment

Job-hunting in Croatia is no easy matter. Even once you have permission to live and work there, there are barriers to overcome. However, for many expats, the effort is worthwhile.

Some EU/EEA Citizens Need Permission To Work In Croatia

The majority of EU citizens can live and work in Croatia without official permission. However, some EU countries impose restrictions on the rights of Croatian people to live and work there, so Croatia operates a similar system for those countries.

Citizens from the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland are also required to obtain permission to work in Croatia. When the UK leaves the European Union, its people’s rights to live and work in Croatia may change, depending on the agreements reached during Brexit negotiations.

All Non-EU/EEA Citizens Must Apply For A Work Permit

You should begin by applying for a work and residence permit at your nearest Croatian embassy. The EU blue card is valid for up to two years, which is twice as long as the Croatian permits and therefore a preferable visa to obtain.

Sometimes a work registration certificate is acceptable. Performers, journalists and consultants are some of the professions that may be eligible. To obtain this certificate, the employer applies to the local police station.

You and your prospective employer will be asked for information and evidence to support your application. All documents must be in Croatian or come with a certified translation.

You should register your address with the local police and obtain a residence card within 30 days of arriving in Croatia.

If you later decide to extend your stay, you can apply to do so at your local police station. However, this must be done at least 60 days before your permit expires.

Unemployment Rates In Croatia

The level of unemployment in Croatia is high, which gives you an idea of the challenges ahead when looking for work there.

In December 2017, the unemployment rate for the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), of which Croatia is hoping to become a member, was just over five and a half percent. In the same month the European Union, which Croatia joined in 2013, had an unemployment rate of 7.3 percent.

Meanwhile, the national unemployment rate in Croatia was 12.2 percent. The youth unemployment rate was a staggering 24.5 percent. And yet both of these rates are near the lowest seen since the year 2000; in 2013, almost one in two young people were unemployed.

Seasons have a big effect upon the unemployment rates. More people are in employment during the summer months, when over twelve million tourists flock to the country. However, this means Croatia is affected significantly by global economic trends; if people abroad have less money to spend, fewer of them will visit Croatia.

The Language Barrier

As discussed elsewhere on ExpatFocus, the official language in the country is Croatian. Most workplaces will deal almost exclusively with their staff and customers in this language, except for the tourism and international trade sectors. Members of the public who are looking to employ the services of specialist professionals such as architects, builders or mobile hairdressers will expect to communicate in Croatian.

Tourists will generally expect staff in hotels, restaurants and cafes to have a basic grasp of English. Other languages which come in useful in such venues are German, Italian and perhaps French.

There is a clear message here. If you speak English, you can try to secure tourism-related work. It will be seasonal, involve a lot of unsociable hours and is usually low paid. The same can be said for English language teaching. Your professional skills also need to be good enough to make you a better employee than any of the available local people who have learnt enough English to communicate with tourists, and who will understand the local language and culture better than you.

If you want to work as a skilled professional in a long-term career, you have no choice but to learn Croatian, and keep learning it until you are truly proficient. No employer or private customer wants to use the services of someone who can barely communicate in the local language, as this means the work is unlikely to be done to the required specification. It may be possible to find lower paid work in jobs that local people don’t want to do, but you need to overcome the barriers of local networking and any suspicion about your reliability. After all, you might suddenly decide to pack up and go home without much warning, which causes a headache for the employer.

Many expats living in Croatia either earn their income online or by frequent trips to other European countries. Others buy property which they maintain and let to tourists.

Salary Expectations

At the end of 2017, the average monthly net salary in Croatia was 5,586 Kuna, which is roughly 751 Euros, £657 or US$920. This is obviously balanced by lower living costs, but is worth considering if you are likely to move back home after a long period of living and working in Croatia.

People who hold university level qualifications earn significantly more than those who have no qualifications or are low skilled, so the amount you can personally earn will depend on your individual situation.

If you work for a foreign-owned company, you have a good chance of being paid more than if you worked for a local firm, and you may also receive a more generous overall employment package.

A gender pay gap does exist, with women earning less than men. Women are concentrated in particular sectors and professions in Croatia, in common with many countries across the world. When compared to the EU average, the gender pay gap in the country is small, and women are generally accepted and respected in the workplace.

Types Of Employment In Croatia

Professionals working in the telecommunications and technology fields have access to some of the best paid jobs in Croatia. Conversely, work in the textiles and leather industries is poorly paid.

Croatia has a large public sector covering a wide range of services. Work there typically pays slightly more than for small local business, and their terms and conditions are more generous. However, it is difficult for expats to access these jobs. Fluent Croatian would be essential, and local applicants have the advantage of knowing how domestic systems work.

If you have a BA degree and a TEFL certificate, you can apply for a position teaching English as a foreign language. You will not be considered without these qualifications as a minimum. Most language schools will offer contracts of between 20 and 25 hours a week, but they are normally based in cities, so you need to consider whether you will cover your living costs. There are not many language and international schools in Croatia, meaning jobs are scarce. You can email schools directly, go to relevant job fairs, or accept the financial cost of signing up with a good school recruitment agency so they do the hard work for you.

If you can exist on seasonal employment, jobs in the tourism market are there for those who are prepared to work long, unsociable hours for low hourly rates.

Embrace The Experience

For those who overcome the barriers and find employment in Croatia, there are few complaints about the culture or employment practices. Reasons for moving there are typically centred around job satisfaction and personal development, and Croatia rarely disappoints.

Read more about this country

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