CROATIA - New Foreigners’ Act Passed – Key Personnel Category Defined
The Croatian government has passed the new Foreigners’ Act, in effect as of 1 January 2012. The new Act provides clarity in several areas, including a definition of “key personnel” or “highly skilled” workers.
The Key Personnel (or Highly Skilled) category in Croatia provides an exemption from the annual work permit quota for staff who are highly skilled, possess relevant qualifications and experience, and are crucial to company operations. The new Foreigners’ Act gives a clear definition of the necessary criteria to qualify for this route.
The annual quota on work permits will remain in place. Croatia’s unemployment rate is high and the government is keen to protect jobs for local residents. In addition, companies are required to have a certain percentage of Croatian workers, as determined by the government.
New Work Permit Exemptions
The new Act also introduces new work permit exemptions. Foreigners employed by a company based in an EU/EEA member state are now permitted to work without a work permit for up to 90 days in Croatia, provided that the employee is working in Croatia at a branch office of the sending company, or further to a signed agreement between the branch office and the Croatia host company.
Combined Work and Residence Permit
The new Act states that a combined work and residence permit will be issued, rather than separate documents. This is designed to bring Croatia in line with its neighbouring countries in the European Union. The EU has recently passed a new “single permit” directive designed to simplify immigration procedures across the EU. Members have two years to adapt their national laws to the new rules.
The new Act also defines minimum salary requirements, procedures for self-employed non-EU citizens, and permanent residence application criteria.
- Note the changes listed above, specifically the work permit exemptions for certain short term assignments and the definition of key personnel/highly skilled workers
- Note that the changes will likely take some weeks to be implemented