The Government of the Republic of Croatia has published a draft proposal for a decision amending the Decision on determining the annual quota of permits for the employment of foreigners for the calendar year 2018.A quota in the total amount of 29 thousand work permits has been proposed. Of that, 17.810 for new employment, while the quota for the extension of already issued work permits is nine thousand, and for seasonal employment 1940 permits. The largest number of workers will be available to construction companies that will be able to hire 12.170 foreigners, carpenters and masons, and then fitters and concrete workers, as well as other occupations in construction, but also a part of the tourism sector. “Labor import quotas are just a ‘firefighting’ measure that should enable builders to implement already contracted projects, while in the long run we need to think about reforming the education system. That is why we need quotas as an urgent measure that will bridge the problem until the implementation of a long-term solution”, Said the Vice President of the Croatian Chamber of Commerce for Construction, Transport and Communications Mirjana Čagalj and added that it is crucial in the whole story that employers in the sector raise wages to prevent the outflow of workers abroad. Currently, the average salary in construction is around 4500 kuna, and that should rise to at least 7000 in order to be competitive as a country. The same goes for the tourism sector.As they point out from the Croatian Chamber of Commerce, they are currently working on this in cooperation with the competent institutions, advocating the introduction of dual vocational education that will harmonize the education system with the needs of our businessmen. According to this model, companies would decide which occupations they need and in what number, and then, in cooperation with schools, agree on the enrollment of the required number of students. During the schooling, the students would spend half of their time in internships in companies, acquiring relevant knowledge and skills, so that they are ready to work immediately after finishing school. In the meantime, they would receive some financial compensation for the internship, which should encourage them to enroll in deficit occupations.HUP also supports the Proposal of the Decision on setting annual quotas for foreignersThe Croatian Employers’ Association supports the Proposal of the decision on determining the annual quota of permits for employment of foreigners for the calendar year 2018. Adoption of the proposed decision will greatly facilitate employment in branches that are in high expansion such as construction and tourism, HUP points out.The proposed quota totals 29.000 work permits, of which 17.810 for new employment, 9000 for the extension of already issued permits and 1940 for seasonal employment permits (1.400 tourism and 540 agriculture). HUP points out that they are satisfied with the proposed quota and understanding for the issue of labor shortage expressed by the relevant Ministry, but they point out two key things that HUP has been warning about for several years.First, for a long-term solution to the problem, it is necessary to implement a comprehensive reform of education, which is key to restructuring the entire system that should monitor the needs of the economy and adjust educational programs accordingly, because only in this way labor shortages can be solved by hiring domestic workers. As this is not possible today, the future Croatian labor market, despite the fact of approximately 180.000 unemployed people is not able, given their structure to meet the needs of the economy and Croatian entrepreneurs are forced to turn to foreign workers to fulfill their contractual obligations. Secondly, in addition to the reform of education, a series of measures should be implemented that will enable the needs for labor force to be met in the coming years by employing domestic workers.The current quota system is not a permanent solution, it is a firefighting measure that tries to overcome the problem of lack of skilled labor, which is the result of many years of neglect of workers and the tourism profession, of course with lower fixed costs and increased earnings. Man is the key to success in tourism, but obviously not in Croatia.
HGK and HUP support new quotas for foreigners
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