CROATIA - 2011 Quota for "Non-Key Personnel" Set to Zero
In the last few weeks, the Croatian government has announced that the quota for foreign workers who do not qualify as key personnel has been set to zero for 2011. The protectionist measure has been taken in response to Croatia's rising unemployment rate, which currently stands at around 300,000, or 18% of the population.
How Does the Quota Affect Companies?
Staff who qualify as key personnel, i.e. who are highly skilled, hold specialist qualifications, are crucial to company operations and fill key executive positions, are exempt from the quota. Staff who are listed on the company register and able to represent the company legally are also exempt. Many corporate transferees will fulfil the key personnel criteria, but it is important to note that strong justification must be made for this category.
Staff with lower skills, salary and position will no longer be granted work permits, although the Croatia government has set aside a quota of 5300 for the renewal of such permits in 2011.
Why Has Croatia Taken This Step?
Setting the quota to zero for employees who do not qualify as key personnel is in line with the immigration approaches of many other countries.
One of the most fundamental purposes of immigration regulations, in every country, is to protect the local labour market. Since the recession hit, unemployment figures worldwide have been increasing, and many countries have reacted by refusing entry to lower skilled workers while attempting to entice highly skilled individuals capable of stimulating the economy.
In fact, two years ago, when the effects of the global financial crisis were first making themselves felt in immigration terms, Sophy King (Peregrine's Managing Director) wrote an article on this very topic (available here).
- Note that obtaining work permits for employees who do not qualify as "key personnel" in Croatia will be virtually impossible
- Note that the renewal of such permits is limited to 5300 for the rest of 2011; once this quota has been reached, no more renewals will be permitted.