Croatia raises quota for foreign workers in 2019

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ZAGREB, June 19 (Xinhua) -- Croatian government on Wednesday decided to raise the number of permits for foreign workers in 2019 to boost its tourism and construction industries that are struggling with labor shortage.

The government announced that it is adding 3,000 more working permits for foreigners this year, raising the total number from 65,100 to 68,100. The quota for the tourism industry will be raised from 10,611 to 12,611, while quota for construction industry will be raised from 17,800 to 18,800.

Croatia, the youngest European Union member, is suffering a severe labor shortage, especially in the tourism industry that accounts for nearly 20 percent of the country's GDP.

Last week, the Croatian Employers' Association and the Croatian Tourism Association urged the government to raise the number of licenses for foreign workers, saying that the tourist season is in danger because there are not enough workers in bars, restaurants, and hotels in the high season that is about to begin.

Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic explained on Wednesday that the raising of quotas is a logical decision after the government has done everything to engage local workers and unemployed citizens to the labor market.

Since Croatia joined the EU in 2013, thousands of people have left the country looking for better working opportunities in western and northern Europe. The unemployment rate in April stood at 8.6 percent. The average monthly salary in Croatia in March was 6,464 kuna (976 U.S. dollars).

Minister of Labor and Pension System Marko Pavic said on Wednesday that most employers don't look for local workers before they employed foreign workers. In an interview with RTL television, he said that the government is considering introducing a new model in which employers will have to search first on domestic labor market. Enditem

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