“Foreign Workers in Croatia: Challenges and Opportunities for Economic and Social Development”, Hrvoje Butković, Višnja Samardžija and Ivana Rukavina (IRMO, Croatia)

This book presents results of a research conducted in Croatia within the project “Bargaining for working conditions and social rights of migrant works in CEE countries – BARMIG”. The project lasted from September 2020 to July 2022, was financially supported by the European Commission (EC) and coordinated by the Marie Curie Sklodowska University (UMCS) in Lublin. UMCS implemented this project in partnership with the Institute for Development and International Relations (IRMO) in Zagreb, the Slovak Association of Electrical Engineering (ZEP SR) in Bratislava, the Central European Institute for Labor Affairs (CELSI) in Bratislava and the University of Tartu (UT). IRMO conducted the research in Croatia according to the same methodology applied in the other mentioned countries. In recent years, general labour shortages have caused Croatia to become highly dependent on migrant workers. The national economy has been faced with a huge outflow of the labour force following accession to the EU, which has been most prominent in the public healthcare sector. The construction sector is facing growing labour shortages and in the next ten years, most of the workers in that sector can be expected to be foreigners. Croatia recently amended its formerly rigid and restrictive legislative framework regulating the work of third country nationals. However, the country still lacks a consistent and forward-looking migration policy that would view labour force immigration as an opportunity for economic and social development. There is a further lack of policies that would facilitate the integration of migrant workers and their families into Croatian society. In national social dialogue forums, the topic of migrant work has not yet gained the importance that it deserves. This is due in part to the relatively small number of migrant workers as compared to Western European countries. In recent years, social partners have become more aware of the importance of third country nationals for the smooth functioning of the Croatian economy. Nevertheless, both trade unions and employers lack strategies for dealing with this group of workers.

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