Does the idea of hiring foreign workers in Croatia appeal to you?

As a member of the European Union and the Schengen Area, Croatia has a promising labor market for both growing companies and migrant workers.

According to Croatia Week, there is a rising trend in domestic companies hiring foreign workers, particularly from economically disadvantaged Asian nations.

As a result, thousands of Croatian companies have sought approval from the Croatian Employment Service (HZZ) to employ tens of thousands of foreign individuals across various industries.

If you, too, own a Croatian company and want to employ workers from outside the EU, read on.

This article sheds light on the requirements that local employers must meet to get the green light from the competent authorities and legally hire non-EU employees in Croatia.


Legal Requirements to Fulfill Before Hiring Foreign Workers in Croatia


Under the new law on foreign nationals which has been in force since January 2021, the Croatian Government has abolished the yearly work quotas for hiring migrant workers.

As a result, there is no longer an annual limit on the number of non-EU nationals that employers can hire in Croatia.

Nevertheless, local companies must still show evidence to the Croatian Employment Service (Hrvatski zavod za zapošljavanje – HZZ) of the unavailability of local employees to fill the position.

Below you can find all the steps you must take as an employer to comply with the country’s labor laws when hiring foreigners in Croatia.


Step 1: Check If You Qualify for the Employment of Foreign Workers


As we mentioned before, employers looking to hire foreign workers in Croatia must first conduct a labor market test.

However, you must ensure that your company meets specific requirements for testing the labor market.

These requirements include:

  • The business must be legally registered in Croatia


  • A minimum of 25% of the company’s workforce should consist of citizens of Croatia or another EU State


  • The company does not have any tax arrears


  • The company has not been found guilty of an employment-related crime


  • At least one employee is a national of Croatia, EEA, or Switzerland and has been working full-time for the company under an indefinite contract for at least 6 months. Business owners can also fulfill this requirement



Step 2: Conduct a Labor Market Test


Before getting permission to hire foreigners, you must submit a request to HZZ to conduct a labor market test (test tržišta rada).

To submit your request, use the following link to log into your company account (or create one if you don’t have it yet):

When submitting your request for a labor market test, you need to provide information such as:

  • Company details (e.g., OIB, address, contact details, etc.)


  • Information about the position (job title and requirements)


  • Employment conditions (e.g., estimated salary, place of work, accommodation, etc.)


Following the submission of your request, HZZ has 15 days to check its database of unemployed people and identify potential candidates who could be a good fit for the position.

If HZZ identifies local workers who meet the requirements for the position, they will recommend the candidate to you for evaluation. Then, you will be required to send feedback on every referred foreign national. Based on the feedback, HZZ will determine the outcome of the labor market test.

If there are no local candidates to fill the role and your application receives a positive response, you will be granted a 90-day period to initiate the recruitment of foreign nationals.


Labor Market Testing in Croatia: Exemptions and Alternatives


Under certain circumstances, local companies do not need to test the market to employ foreign workers in Croatia.

These circumstances include:

  • The position is classified as a labor-shortage position.


  • The company is applying for an extension of the work permit of a non-EU national.


  • The company seeks to hire non-EU workers for a period of up to 90 days in specific industries, such as tourism, catering, forestry, and agriculture.


  • The prospective employee falls under one of the categories listed in Article 110 of the Aliens Act (e.g., media reporters, intra-corporate transferees, professional athletes, scientific researchers, etc.)


  • The company is hiring under the “rapid import of workers” scheme (brz uvoz radnika). This scheme allows local companies to hire migrants to fill occupations with labor shortages. These occupations include carpenters, bakers, butchers, insulators, electricians, plumbers, truck drivers, welders, and many others.



Step 3: Request a Work and Residence Permit


Upon receiving approval from HZZ, you can request a work and residence permit on behalf of your prospective employee.

Do note that signing an employment contract is a mandatory step in the work permit application process.

You cannot apply for a work and residence permit on behalf of your prospective employee without signing a work contract first.

If a labor market test is required, you can submit the request via the HZZ web platform:

If you do not need to conduct a labor market test before hiring foreign workers in Croatia, you can submit the application to the competent police administration or police station.

The processing fee for a work and residence permit is around 75 EUR. You will also have to pay around 32 EUR for a separate biometric residence permit.

The work and residence permit will be granted for the duration required to fulfill the job responsibilities for a maximum initial period of up to one year. However, you have the option to renew the permit on behalf of your employee for a period of up to two years.

Important note: If you’re looking to hire foreign workers in Croatia on a short-term basis, you must request a work registration certificate (instead of a work and residence permit).

The work registration certificate is issued by the competent police department or police station for foreigners who will be working in Croatia for a period of up to 90 days.

The fee for a work registration certificate is around 40 EUR.


Work and Residence Permit for Croatia: Supporting Documents


The supporting documents you must submit with your application are as follows:


  • Employee’s passport


  • Work contract signed by both parties


  • Evidence that the candidate meets the job requirements (e.g., educational documents and diplomas, professional certificates, and work experience)


  • Police clearance apostilled/legalized by the competent authorities


  • Evidence of the company’s registration


Step 4: Your Future Employee Applies for a Croatia Work Visa


Upon approval of the work and residence permit, your future employees can apply for a Croatia work visa (type D).

They can submit the application to the competent Embassy or Consulate or at the VFS Global Visa Application Center. This must be done no earlier than two months before and no later than two months after the residence and work permit becomes valid.

The required documents for a Croatia work visa are as follows:


  • Passport with at least two empty pages. The passport must be valid for at least three months beyond the validity period of the work and residence permit


  • One photograph of 35X40 mm


  • Schengen medical insurance with a minimum coverage of 30,000 EUR


  • Flight reservation


  • Work and residence permit


  • Proof of paid visa fee (93 EUR)


In most scenarios, these documents should be enough for a Croatia work visa application. Nevertheless, Embassies and Consulates reserve the right to request additional documentation.

Typically, the processing time for a Croatia work visa ranges between 60 and 90 days.

After obtaining a work visa, applicants have a 30-day window to contact the relevant police department. This step is mandatory in order to register their place of residence and apply for a biometric residence permit.

Please note that if you wish to hire foreign employees in Croatia on a short-term basis under a work registration certificate, your future employee must apply for a Schengen Visa (type C).

The application process remains similar. The only difference is that the Schengen Visa incurs an 80 EUR processing fee and typically takes 15 working days for processing.


Hiring Foreign Workers in Croatia: Final Considerations


Croatia is currently facing a significant labor demand, particularly in industries such as construction and tourism.

In these industries, lots of job openings remain unfilled due to a shortage of available workers.

For this reason, a large number of local companies are turning to international recruitment to address this issue.

Migrant workers not only address labor shortages but also bring a variety of skills to the workforce, fostering innovation and enhancing productivity.

Want to find top talent for your Croatian company? Join VideoWorkers today and get access to the largest database of international candidates to help you solve your labor shortage. Whether you’re looking for carpenters, welders, truck drivers, or software developers, you’ll find many talented people having the exact skills and experience you need to propel your business to success. 

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