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Croatian workers free to work in 22 member states without restrictions


When Croatia joined the EU on 1 July 2013, a number of EU member states imposed a two-year restrictions on free movement of Croatian workers.

Overall the restriction was imposed by 13 countries - Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, France, Greece, Italy, Luxemburg, Malta, the Netherlands, Germany, Slovenia, Spain and Great Britain and Northern Ireland. Croatia in return imposed restrictions for citizens coming from the 13 before mentioned countries.

End of May this year, the European Commission provided a report to the Council about the effects of the transitional arrangements on free movement of workers from Croatia. The report includes information on movement of Croatian workers within other EU member states since 1 July 2013, as well as projections for the upcoming period. The Commission predicts thereby that lifting the restrictions will not significantly influence the number of Croatian workers in other member states (overall + 51,000 or just 0.01% of the European Union population) and is likely to bring a positive economic contribution. At the same time the report states that the lifting of the restrictions is unlikely to lead to labour market disturbances, even in the traditionally “main” destinations of Croatian workers (i.e. Austria, Italy and Germany).

Following the above, eight member states did not provide the Commission with their written notes on prolongation of restrictions (some of them even officially announced revocation of the subject restrictions in advance), while five member states (Austria, Slovenia, Malta, the Netherlands and Great Britain and Northern Ireland) announced the prolongation of restrictions for the next three-years’ period. According to the provisions of the Accession Treaty, Croatia will no longer apply its restrictions with relation to the citizens of the member states which did not prolong their restrictions towards Croatian citizens. However, the Ministry of labour announced that Croatia will continue to apply restrictions to employees coming from those member states which prolonged the restrictions on free movement of Croatian workers, meaning that citizens of Austria, Slovenia, Malta, the Netherlands and Great Britain and Northern Ireland will still be obliged to obtain some sort of work permit in order to work in Croatia.


Portrait of Ana-Marija Skoko
Ana-Marija Skoko