November 22, 2019 / 11:12 AM / 20 days ago

Croatia lifts quota for foreign workers in 2020

ZAGREB, Nov 22 (Reuters) - Croatia said on Friday it would increase its quota for employment of foreign workers in 2020 to offset skill shortages in the tourism and construction sectors.

The overall number of permits for foreign workers from countries outside the European Union (EU) has been raised to 103,470 from 68,100 this year.

Labour Minister Josip Aladrovic told cabinet that 25,000 existing work permits for non-EU foreigners would be extended for 2020 while 78,470 new permits would be issued next year.

The biggest number of permits will be used in construction and tourism, slightly more than 30,000 each.

Croatia’s tourism industry amounts to nearly 20% of gross domestic product and since 2018 employers have often urged the government to open the local job market more to foreigners to combat a shortage of skilled domestic workers.

Many Croats have left the country to work in more affluent EU countries since Croatia’s accession to the bloc in 2013.

An average monthly salary in Croatia was 6,418 kuna ($953.73) in September. The jobless rate at the end of October was 7.2%.

Foreign workers who come to Croatia are mostly from non-EU Balkan neighbours as well as Ukraine and some Asian countries.

$1 = 6.7294 kuna Reporting by Igor Ilic; Editing by Andrew Cawthorne

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