Overview of the of the main changes since the previous report update


Country Report: Overview of the of the main changes since the previous report update Last updated: 10/07/24


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The report was previously updated in June 2023.

International protection

Legislative framework

In March 2023, the Croatian Parliament passed the Law on Amendments to the Law on International and Temporary Protection, which entered into force on 1 April 2023. Some important changes relate to:

  • Strengthening the role of the special guardian of unaccompanied minors;
  • the possibility to exceptionally submit an application for international protection in written form;
  • the possibility that the interview may also be held using electronic audio-visual equipment;
  • possibility to organize medical examinations;
  • in addition to undergoing verification and identification of the identity, applicants for international protection are obliged to undergo a verification of their country or region of origin, including language and dialect analysis with the possibility of using software technologies;
  • the possibility for competent authorities to search the applicants for international protection and their belongings;
  • broadening the reasons for the restriction of freedom of movement and/or detention;
  • the introduction of an obligation for the court to review the restriction of movement/detention within a reasonable time period, especially when it lasts longer than a month and the obligation for the Ministry of Interior to act without delay if a court decision proves that the mentioned restriction/detention is not lawful;
  • the regulation of the temporary accommodation for persons already granted international protection in reception centres which are primarily intended for accommodation of applicants for international protection;
  • applicants for international protection can access the labour market after a period of 3 months from the date of submission of the application;
  • beneficiaries of international protection, in addition to the current maximum of 2 years of the subsidized accommodation, can temporarily use a housing unit that is owned by the Republic of Croatia for an additional maximum of up to 2 years, provided that they do not have financial resources or property with which they can support themselves;
  • the possibility for humanitarian admission was introduced.


Asylum procedure

  • Access to the territory: Reports of push backs and violent police practices at the border were documented in 2023. According to the Danish Refugee Council (DRC), 3,323 persons were pushed back from Croatia to Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) in 2023. Out of the total number of pushbacks, 825 persons reported being denied access to asylum system. According to DRC, the number of persons reporting pushbacks does not necessarily represent the number of unique individuals, as the same individual(s) may experience repeated pushbacks to BiH.[1] UNHCR data further indicates that 89 persons were pushed back from Croatia to Serbia.[2]
  • Relevant case law on access to the territory: Concerning the case of H. and Others v. Croatia,[3] in July 2023, Human Rights House Zagreb and the Centre for Peace Studies, civil society organizations registered in Croatia, made a submission to respond to the Government’s Action Plan of 21 June 2023. Submission aims to inform the Committee of Ministers that the proposed measures are not sufficient for the appropriate implementation of the judgement. Organizations argued that individual measures have been ineffective and insufficient while the general measures proposed by the Government do not bring any real and systemic changes necessary for the full implementation of the European court’s judgement.[4]
  • Key statistics on the asylum procedure: The number of applicants for international protection increased significantly throughout 2023, going from 12,872 in 2022 to 68,114 people making an application for international protection in 2023. Out of the total number most applications were made at border police stations (35,992). The rest were made at police stations (31,426), the Reception Centre for Foreigners in Ježevo (106), Transit Reception Centre in Tovarnik (61) and Trilj (19) airport and maritime police stations (464), police administrations (35), the Ministry of Interior (10) and in the Reception Centre for Applicants for International Protection (1). However, out of this number, only 1,783 applications for international protection were lodged in 2023 (1,685 new applications and 98 subsequent). The recognition rate remained low, as only 52 persons were granted international protection in the course of 2023, while only 11 requests were dismissed as inadmissible, and only 112 were rejected on the merits in the first instance procedure.[5] However, Croatia is still perceived as transit country. According to the Ombudsperson in the course of 2023, 6,396 procedures for international protection were suspended regardless of the year on which applications were submitted.[6] The government reported (for the first 10 months of 2023) that Croatia mainly remained a transit country for asylum seekers, as 97% of persons who only made an application or reached the stage of lodging left or aimed at leaving the Croatia to reach other EU Member States. At the same time, 47% of persons who made an international protection application never reported to the reception centres for asylum applicants in Zagreb or Kutina.[7] According to the Ombudsperson, a large number of suspensions of the procedure – mostly related to cases of applicants abandoning reception centres -, both in relation to 2023 and to 2022 is still pending.[8]


Reception conditions

  • Reception centres: According to the Ministry of Interior, during 2023, more than 34,000 people were accommodated in Reception Centres for applicants for International Protection in Zagreb and Kutina. The Ministry of Interior reported that the average length of stay in the reception centers was 3 days, with the largest number of people leaving the reception center within 24 hours from the arrival.[9] As reported by NGOs, due to the high increase in the number of applicants for international protection in 2023, capacities of the Reception Centres for applicants of international protection were not enough. In some periods of 2023, applicants slept in the hallways of the centre in Zagreb.[10]


Detention of asylum seekers

  • Restrictions to the freedom of movement: According to the Ministry of Interior, in 2023, the Service for Reception and Accommodation of Applicants for International Protection issued 47 decisions on restrictions of freedom of movement with a measure of detention in the Reception Centre for Foreigners.[11] However, since decisions can also be issued by the police administrations/stations, the total number might be different.
  • Relevant case law: In January 2023, the European Court on Human Rights (ECtHR) published its ruling on the case Daraibou v. Croatia[12]. The case concerned a Moroccan applicant, Daraibou, who was detained in a border police station together with three other migrants. In March 2015, the border police found the applicant and three other persons, in a truck with Croatian license plates. It was established that the migrants had entered Croatia clandestinely, avoiding border control. They were taken to the nearest police station in Bajakovo. While waiting readmission to Serbia, they were placed in the premises for the detention of irregular migrants in the border police station. One of them allegedly set fire to the facility, which caused death of three migrants and serious injuries to the applicant. The ECtHR found a violation of the material and procedural aspect of Art. 2. of ECHR due to the fact that the domestic authorities did not take sufficient measures to protect the life and limb of the applicant, and due to the failure to conduct a sufficiently detailed and effective investigation following the event, according to the Conventional standards. The judgment became final on April 14, 2023. In October 2023, the Republic of Croatia submitted an Action Plan for the implementation of the judgment to the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe.[13]


Content of international protection

  • Inclusion: No new Integration Action Plan was adopted in 2023, even the previous Integration Action Plan expired at the end of 2019. At the local level, in May 2023, the City Assembly of the City of Zagreb adopted the new Action Plan of the City of Zagreb for the implementation of the Charter of Integrating Cities for 2023 and 2024.[14] The general objective of the Action Plan is to encourage and implement the integration of applicants for international protection, persons granted international or temporary protection, and foreign workers residing in the City of Zagreb, into society, and to contribute to the development of the entire migration policy in the Republic of Croatia.


 Other relevant developments

  • Schengen access: From 1 January 2023, Croatia joined Schengen and Eurozone. On 26 March 2023, international airports in Croatia started with the full application of the Schengen acquis. Passengers on internal flights, e., flights within the Schengen area, are no longer subject to border control.[15] However, on 21 October 2023, Slovenia introduced border control on the border with the Republic of Croatia, which on 22 December 2023 was extended for six months.

Temporary protection

The information given hereafter constitute a short summary of the annex on Temporary Protection to this report. For further information, see Annex on Temporary Protection.


Temporary protection procedure

  • Registration for temporary protection: On 7 March 2022, the Government of the Republic of Croatia adopted the decision introducing temporary protection[16] on the basis of Council Implementing Decision (EU) 2022/382 of 4 March 2022, which establishes the existence of a mass influx of persons in accordance with Article 5 of Directive 2001/55/ EC. Applications for temporary protection need to be submitted at police stations, while the competent authority for recognising the temporary protection status lies with the Ministry of Interior. The application can be submitted in person at the police station or administration based on the place of residence of the applicant or via an online form available at the e-platform Croatia4Ukraine.[17] An exception was foreseen for those persons who were accommodated in collective accommodation, at times of increased arrivals of persons displaced from Ukraine to Croatia.[18] These persons did not have to go personally to the police station/administration, but could submit the application directly to the officials of the Ministry of the Interior who visited the collective accommodations in order to speed up the process of receiving and further processing of the applications.
  • Scope of temporary protection: Pursuant to the aforementioned Government’s Decision, Croatia shall grant temporary protection to Ukrainian nationals and members of their families residing in Ukraine on 24 February 2022 and who left Ukraine from 24 February 2022 onwards; stateless persons and third country nationals who were under international or equivalent national protection in Ukraine on 24 February 2022 and members of their families who were granted residence in Ukraine on 24 February 2022 and who left Ukraine since 24 February 2022; third country nationals who had a valid permanent stay in Ukraine on 24 February 2022 in accordance with Ukrainian regulations and who cannot return to their country or region of origin in safe and permanent conditions and who left Ukraine since 24 February 2022. Regarding those who had fled Ukraine before 24 February 2022, temporary protection shall also be granted to the displaced citizens of Ukraine and members of their families who left Ukraine immediately before 24 February 2022 due to the security situation and cannot return to the country because of the armed conflict. According to the official statement of the Ministry of Interior, ‘immediately before’ is to be considered as starting from 1 January 2022.[19]


Content of temporary protection

  • Residence permit: After the person has been granted the status of temporary protection, the police administration, e., the police station competent based on the place of residence of the applicant, or officials of the Ministry of Interior or of the police administrations or police stations who are present in collective accommodation facilities issue the identity card of a foreigner under temporary protection to the person. The card is proof of having been granted TP status, represents the residence permit and serves as a valid document for exercising all the rights that beneficiaries are entitled to under the scope of protection status. Given the fact that the circumstances related to the introducing of temporary protection did not change over the course of this second year, in October 2023, a decision was reached at the EU level to extend the TPD for an additional third year. Consequently, the Croatian Government implemented this decision, extending the duration of temporary protection until March 4, 2025.[20] According to the instructions of the Ministry, persons displaced from Ukraine who have been granted temporary protection in the Republic of Croatia should personally reach a police department or police station according to their place of residence in order to certify the extension of the validity of the identity card until 30 May 2024. The extension will be recorded in the existing identity card, and it is not necessary to submit a request for the extension of temporary protection. Persons who do not extend their identity cards until 30 May, will not lose their status of temporary protection.
  • Access to rights: Beneficiaries of temporary protection enjoy a wide range of rights in the Republic of Croatia, and no significant obstacles to their realization have been observed due to the fast reaction of the authorities and the early establishment of an effective reception and care system. By amending the Law on Social Welfare, beneficiaries of temporary protection gained the right to receive all social services and benefits provided by law under the same conditions as Croatian citizens.
  • Access to the labour market: Beneficiaries of temporary protection have unrestricted access to the labour market, as do Croatian citizens. What represents a difficulty is the insufficient knowledge of the Croatian language (and the lack of official language courses organized by the state) and the lengthy and expensive procedure of recognition and evaluation of foreign qualifications (especially for professions regulated by law). Therefore, options for employment in certain professions are significantly limited.
  • Access to education: Access to primary and secondary education is fully facilitated and accessible. As for admission to higher education institutions, only some universities or their constituents decided to facilitate enrolment or continuation of studies, while the rest kept the quota system for third country nationals, which implies high tuition fees.
  • Housing: Persons who cannot afford to live in private accommodation have two options available: accommodation in a collective centre where they are provided with free accommodation and food, and accommodation in private units that meet the prescribed conditions, for which a contract is concluded between the landlord and the State.
  • Health care: Within the framework of exercising the right to health care, beneficiaries of temporary protection face problems that represent a general feature of the health care system in the Republic of Croatia – long-term waiting for specialist examinations. In addition, they are not entitled to contract supplementary health insurance. They enjoy the right to health care to the extent enjoyed by persons who are compulsorily insured, but at the same time they are not insured and the costs of their health care are covered directly from the budget of the Republic of Croatia. As a result, they are not able to contract supplementary insurance, except in the case of employment, which would avoid additional (and large) health care costs that exceed the scope of protection provided by compulsory insurance.




[1] Danish Refugee Council (DRC): Border Monitoring Factsheets January- December 2023, available in English at: https://bit.ly/3KKqbaH.

[2] UNHCR, Serbia- Snapshots January- July 2023, available at: https://bit.ly/4ckWUiI.   

[3] ECtHR, Judgment in the case of M.H. and others v. Croatia (Applications nos. 15670/18 and 43115/18), available at: https://bit.ly/43wOzE9.

[4] Human Rights House Zagreb and Centre for Peace Studies, Rule 9.2. Communication, 18 July 2023; available in English at: https://bit.ly/3VMzAVL.

[5] Information provided by the Ministry of Interior, 8 March 2024. See also: Statistics 2023, available at: https://bit.ly/3Xr1uYp

[6] Ombudswoman: Report of the Ombudswoman for 2023, available in Croatian at: https://bit.ly/4crt2kR.

[7] Government of the Republic of Croatia: Report on the situation of illegal migration in the territory of the Republic of Croatia for the period since  Croatia’s entry into the Schengen area, available at: https://bit.ly/3z72PcY, 4.

[8] Ombudswoman: Report of the Ombudswoman for 2023, available in Croatian at: https://bit.ly/4crt2kR.

[9] Information provided by the Ministry of Interior, 8 March 2024.

[10] See, e.g., https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mZh1Mz9MkLk; Information also provided by Croatian Red Cross, 15 January 2024; by AYS, 29 January 2024; by JRS, 5 February 2024.

[11] Information provided by the Ministry of Interior, 8 March 2024.

[12] ECtHR, judgment in the case of Daraibou v. Croatia; Application no. 84523/17, available at: https://bit.ly/3THBvbb; Press Release: Judgment Daraibou v. Croatia – fatal fire in police-station basement room used to detain illegal migrants, available at: https://bit.ly/3lFUYfS.

[13] Action plan (17/10/2023) – Communication from Croatia concerning the case of Daraibou v. Croatia (Application No. 84523/17), available at: https://bit.ly/3KO1om4.

[14] City of Zagreb: Action Plan of the City of Zagreb for the implementation of the Charter of Integrating Cities for 2023 and 2024, available in Croatian at: https://bit.ly/3xmVYeN.

[15] Ministry of Interior: As of today, nine international airports in Croatia will start fully applying the Schengen acquis, available in Croatian at: https://bit.ly/4b7IBNB.

[16] Government of the Republic of Croatia: Decision on the Introduction of Temporary Protection in the Republic of Croatia for Displaced Persons from Ukraine, available in Croatian at: https://bit.ly/3VHeVlQ.  

[17] Application is available in English, Croatian and Ukrainian at the following link: https://croatia4ukraine.mup.hr/Pages/Zahtjev.

[18] Government of the Republic of Croatia: Information on the status of temporary protection, available at:  https://bit.ly/4c0Rf1D.  

[19] Information provided by the Ministry of Interior on 10 November 2022.

[20] Government of the Republic of Croatia: Decision on the Extension of Temporary Protection for Displaced Persons from Ukraine, available at: https://bit.ly/4b0Ugh7.

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