Access to the labour market

Croatia

Country Report: Access to the labour market Last updated: 12/01/21

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Beneficiaries of international protection have the right to work in the Republic of Croatia, without a residence and work permit or certificate of registration of work.[1] Both asylees and foreigners under subsidiary protection have access to the labour market, without distinction.

However, access to rights and their exercise in the practical life of each beneficiary is challenging. The main obstacle is still the language barrier and the language courses, which is a precondition for successful integration and accessing the labour market.

In order to carry out the quality integration of asylees and foreigners under subsidiary protection in Croatian society, the Ministry of Science and Education, in cooperation with the Sector for Schengen Coordination and European Union funds of the Ministry of Interior, prepared the project "Integration of refugees and foreigners under subsidiary protection in Croatian society, education and preparation for inclusion in the labour market ". The program aims to provide 280 hours of language courses to refugees and foreigners under subsidiary protection.[2]

At the meeting of the Coordination for Integration, an informal network of NGOs, which was held in April 2019, it was reported that the official Croatian language course had begun in city of Zadar, while it was not conducted in other Croatian cities due to public procurement difficulties.

According to information provided by representatives of the Ministry of Science and Education during the national EMN meeting held in November 2019, the language course is organised for interested beneficiaries in Zagreb, Slavonski Brod, in Sisak and Karlovac.

As mentioned in Housing, asylees and foreigners under subsidiary protection have the right to accommodation if they do not hold financial resources or possessions of significant value, for no longer than 2 years from the day of the delivery of the decision approving international protection.[3] It is expected that within this period, they would learn the language and find a job to support themselves. 

However in practice, many of them after 2 years still do not know the Croatian language and accordingly have problems finding appropriate employment. According to information provided by the Croatian Red Cross, their employees and volunteers provide support to all beneficiaries of international protection during this integration period.[4]

In relation to employment, they provide support in terms of: finding employment, establishing contacts and organising meetings with (potential) employers; as well as coordinating with relevant institutions and the Croatian Employment Service (CES).

The so-called “Integration House” arranged in the premises of the Croatian Red Cross serves as contact and drop-in centre for beneficiaries of international protection, and is run by Croatian Red Cross staff and volunteers. The Integration House is open every working day and offers activities targeting beneficiaries created and implemented by volunteers and persons granted international protection. Once a month lawyers of the Croatian Law Centre are providing legal information in the Integration House to beneficiaries of international protection, including information on employment and their rights within the system.

The Croatian Red Cross reported problems in integration of vulnerable beneficiaries of protection (single parents, persons with disability, chronically ill persons) as in many cases they are not able to work. After the 2 years of paid accommodation, they are thus at risk of falling into poverty.[5]

Many other NGOs such as JRS, the Centre for Peace Studies, the Rehabilitation Centre for Stress and Trauma, Are you Syrious also provide assistance during integration. The Integration Centre “SOL”, which is run by JRS and was opened in 2018, provides support and guidance to individuals and families in the Republic of Croatia, who have been granted international protection, in their integration process.[6]

The Croatian Employment Service (CES) is responsible for the implementation of measures in the field of employment of foreigners, with particular emphasis on asylees and foreigners under subsidiary protection. According to the Law on the Labour Market asylee and foreigner under subsidiary protection, as well as their family members may apply to the CES. According to this Law, they are equal with Croatian citizens in terms of rights and obligations.

The Ordinance on the records of the CES regulates, among other things, the registration to the CES’s records of the beneficiaries of international protection.[7]

According to 2019 figures provided by the CES, 146 asylees (of which 64 women), 12 foreigners under subsidiary protection (of which 5 women) and 13 family members of beneficiaries of international protection (of which 10 women) were registered in their records of unemployed persons.[8] In the course of 2019, 125 persons (100 asylees, 12 foreigners under subsidiary protection and 13 family members of beneficiaries of international protection) were included in individual counselling at CES, while 18 persons (11 asylees, 6 foreigners under subsidiary protection and 1 family member of the beneficiary of international protection) were included in active employment policy measures.

The majority of persons registered were from Syria (117) and Iraq (24). CES highlights the lack of knowledge of Croatian and/or English language as well as the low motivation to learn the language and to be engaged in other programs that can raise the chances of gaining employment as a major obstacle to the integration of beneficiaries of protection. Furthermore, as an additional challenge to integration, CES highlights work attitudes and cultural differences, especially among women.



[1]  Article 68(1) LITP.

[2]  European Commission and EMN, Ad hod query in 2019 – Early language support, requested on 29 January 2019, available at: https://bit.ly/2XnH3fQ.

[3]  Article 67(4) LITP.

[4]  Information provided by the Croatian Red Cross, 20 December 2019.

[5]  Information provided by the Croatian Red Cross, 20 December 2019.

[6]  JRS, 'Refuge Integration Centre „SOL“ opened' , 2018, available at: https://bit.ly/3chtSBs.

[7]  Official Gazette 28/2019

[8]  Information provided by the Croatian Employment Service, 15 January 2020.

 

Table of contents

  • Statistics
  • Overview of the legal framework
  • Overview of the of the main changes since the previous report update
  • Asylum Procedure
  • Reception Conditions
  • Detention of Asylum Seekers
  • Content of International Protection
  • ANNEX I – Transposition of the CEAS in national legislation