Germany opens labor market to Croatians

19 Jun 15

GERMANY, CROATIA

IMPACT – MEDIUM

What is the change? Germany will lift all labor market restrictions on Croatian nationals beginning July 1.

What does the change mean? Croatian companies will be able to post employees to Germany without restrictions. Croatian workers will have free access to the German labor market, regardless of qualifications.

  • Implementation time frame: July 1.
  • Visas/permits affected: Croatian nationals will be able to work in Germany without obtaining a work permit.
  • Who is affected: German employers, Croatian companies posting employees to Germany and Croatian nationals looking to work in Germany.
  • Impact on processing times: The change will save time for some Croatian nationals because they will no longer be required to obtain a work permit to work in Germany.
  • Business impact: The German government has said the change will benefit both Germany and Croatia. The demand for workers in Germany continues to be greater than supply, and remittances Croatian workers send home could help Croatia’s domestic economy.

Background: Germany was among the EU countries that placed restrictions on Croatia’s access to its labor market when Croatia joined the EU in 2013.

Croatian nationals have been allowed to work in Germany with a work permit, and Germany carved out exceptions to its work-permit requirement for trainees, seasonal workers and Croatians with college degrees. Restrictions remained in place for other workers, however, including those in construction, cleaning services and interior decoration. Germany announced this week that it would not extend restrictions, which the country would have been able to do under EU law. Beginning July 1, all restrictions will be lifted.

The German government noted in a statement that it does not anticipate “wage dumping” of Croatian employees because Germany’s €8.50-per-hour minimum-wage law applies to all workers, regardless of nationality.

BAL Analysis: Germany called its decision to lift remaining restrictions on Croatia a “signal” that all EU nationals “should seek work and be free to take up job offers throughout the Union.” While Germany had previously exempted many high-skilled Croatian workers from work-permit requirements, its decision to lift remaining barriers will provide greater access to the German labor market for thousands of Croatian nationals.

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