How to hire a foreign worker: Requesting a labor market test and work permit in Croatia

Person applying online for labor market test in Croatia
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Starting in 2021, work quotas for hiring foreign workers are abolished. As a result, there is no annual limit on the number of foreign workers that can be hired in Croatia. However, if you own a Croatian company and want to employ a foreign worker (non-EU/EEA national), first, you must get the green light from HZZ.

Hrvatski zavod za zapošljavanje – HZZ (Croatian Employment Service) is the Croatian state employment agency.

Before you are approved to hire, HZZ will perform a labor market test. If you meet all the requirements, HZZ will allow you to hire your future foreign employee. Next, MUP will review the residence application for the foreign employee. If MUP approves the work and stay permit, your foreign employee can begin work and legally stay in Croatia.

In this post, we cover:

The facts are these…

How to hire a foreign worker: Requesting a labor market test and work permit in Croatia

What is a labor market test

When hiring foreign non-EU/EEA employees part-time or full-time, every Croatian company must first pass a procedure called “test tržišta rada” (labor market test). A labor market test is performed by HZZ before foreign workers can be hired. [Read: Types of businesses in Croatia]

As part of the test, HZZ will check if there are any workers on HZZ’s list of unemployed that meet the requirements of the Croatian employer. If no one meets the requirements from the job application, the employer will receive permission to hire the foreign worker.

If HZZ finds someone on their list of unemployed who meets the requirements, they will refer them to the employer for consideration.

HZZ must perform a labor market test within 15 days of a company’s request. If a company gets the green light, they have 90 days to hire the foreign employee. However, before hiring them, they must also obtain a work and stay permit on behalf of the foreign worker from Croatian MUP.

Exemption from a labor market test

In some scenarios, HZZ will make an exemption and the labor market test won’t be required to hire a foreigner.

The exemptions include the following scenarios:

  • Deficient occupations
  • Extension of a work permit for the same employer and the same third-country national employee
  • Seasonal employment of third-country nationals in agriculture, forestry, catering, and tourism (for up to 90 days during one calendar year)
  • Groups listed in Article 110 of the Aliens Act (key staff in companies, EU blue card, persons transferred within the company, etc.)

Exempt occupations

A labor market test isn’t required for certain occupations. This is referred to as “brz uvoz radnika” (rapid import of workers). Exempt occupations have worker shortages, so there is an increased and sustained demand for them in the Croatian labor market.

Occupations exempt from the labor market test include:

  • Auto mechanics (Automehaničar)
  • Baker (Pekar)
  • Building worker (Radnik visokogradnje)
  • Butcher (Mesar)
  • Auto body worker (Autolimar)
  • Auto paint worker (Autolakirer)
  • Carpenter (Tesar)
  • Chef of national cuisine (Kuhar nacionalne kuhinje)
  • Civil engineering worker (Radnik niskogradnje)
  • Concrete mixer (Betonirač)
  • Confectioner (Pastry chef)
  • Construction operator (Rukovatelj građevinskim strojevima)
  • Crane operator (Rukovatelj kranom)
  • Electrical installer (Elektroinstalater)
  • Electrician (Elektromonter)
  • Fur and leather cutter (Krojitelj krzna i kože)
  • Heating and air conditioning (Instalater grijanja i klimatizacije)
  • House painter and painter (Soboslikar i ličilac)
  • Installer of building elements (Monter građevinskih elemenata)
  • Installer of metal structures (Monter metalnih konstrukcija)
  • Insulators (Izolater)
  • Joiner (Stolar)
  • Layer of ceramic tiles (Polagač keramičkih pločica)
  • Leather worker (Kožarski radnik)
  • Locksmith (Bravar)
  • Maintenance electrician (Električar održavanja)
  • Mason (Zidar)
  • Pipeline fitter (Monter cjevovoda)
  • Plasterer (Fasader)
  • Plumber (Vodoinstalater)
  • Programmer (Programer)
  • Reinforcer (Armirač)
  • Roofer (Krovopokrivač)
  • Stonemason (Klesar)
  • System administrator (Sistemski administrator)
  • Tinsmith (Limar)
  • Truck driver (Vozač teretnog vozila)
  • Truck driver with trailer (Vozač teretnog vozila s prikolicom)
  • Underlayer (Podopolagač)
  • User interface designer (Dizajner korisničkog sučelja)
  • Waterproofing (Hidroizolater)
  • Welder (Zavarivač)

Prerequisites for a labor market test

If you are an owner of a Croatian company and you need to perform a labor market test, calling HZZ before testing is always a good idea. They will provide you with the latest information and explain the process in short. Also, this serves as a notification that you intend to ask for permission to hire a foreign worker, which has its benefits.

To perform a labor market test, the Croatian company must meet initial requirements to qualify. Otherwise, the hiring won’t be approved.

To hire a foreign national, the company must meet the following requirements:

  • Company must perform a business activity registered in Croatia
  • Company must have at least one full-time permanently employed Croatian worker who has been employed for at least 6 months on an indefinite contract (“na neodređeno”). If they meet this requirement, owners count as well.
  • You have not been convicted for criminal acts in the field of labor relations and social security.
  • At least ¼ of the company’s employees have to be citizens of Croatia or an EU/EEA Member State
  • Future part-time employees must have a minimum “neto” salary of approximately 449 euro or more.
  • Company must have no debts (income tax and contributions for health insurance is paid).

How to perform a labor market test

#1 Create HZZ account for the company

First, create an account for your Croatian company on HZZ’s web site. You can create a new account here. If your company already has an account, then log in to start the process.

To register a new account, insert an identification number (matični broj) and/or OIB of the company in textboxes. Then click to “Potraži tvrtku” (Find the company).

At this step, you must enter:

  • Identification number (matični broj)
  • OIB
  • Name of the company (naziv subjekta)
  • Branch office (podružnica)
  • E-mail address (e-mail adresa)
  • Password (lozinka)
  • Password confirmation (provjera lozinke)
  • Name (ime)
  • Surname (prezime)
  • Contact phone (kontakt telefon)
  • Contact mobile phone (kontakt mobitel)

After you enter the data, mark “Prihvaćam navedene uvjete” (I accept the above conditions) and click on “Registrirajte se” (Register). HZZ will receive and process your request for creating an account. You will be able to use the account after 24 hours.

#2 Initiate a labor market test

Next, apply for a labor market test by submitting a request here. Log in with the HZZ account through section “Poslodavci” (Employers).

Click on the section “Podnošenje zahtjeva” (Submitting a request). In this application form, you have to describe the job of the future foreign worker. In other words, you have to define an open work position including conditions and requirements you demand from the worker.

The application form consists of 5 sections including:

  • Data on the employer (podaci o poslodavcu)
  • Data on the working place (podaci o radnom mjestu)
  • Working place conditions (uvjeti radnog mjesta)
  • Additional data on the working place (dodatni podaci o radnom mjestu)
  • Duration of the labor market test and the manner of sending candidates (trajanje testa tržišta rada i način upućivanja kandidata)

Data on the employer

In this section, you must provide:

  • Full name of the company (puni naziv)
  • Identification number (matični broj)
  • OIB
  • Address (adresa)
  • Contact person (kontakt osoba)
  • Contact e-mail address (kontakt e-mail adresa)
  • Contact phone (kontakt telefon)
  • Contact mobile phone (kontakt mobitel)

The name of the company, ID, and OIB will be entered automatically from your account.

Data on the working place

In this section, you must:

  • Pick a job/work position from the drop-down menu
  • Define whether work experience is needed (and how many years) or not
  • Describe a job/work position
  • Enter a number of required workers for the position
  • Mark level of education

When picking the name of the job/work position, try to define the name clearly. The system will offer you the closest positions according to the words you enter.

Explain the job/work position in detail. Describe all the tasks that position includes. Also, include all the requirements and conditions that a candidate has to fulfill to get the job. The better you explain your special needs, the better your chances are of approval.

Work place conditions

In this section, you must provide:

  • Place of work (mjesto rada)
  • Estimated “bruto” salary (predviđena bruto plaća)
  • Type of employment (vrsta zaposlenja)
  • Accommodation (smještaj)
  • Transportation fee (naknada za prijevoz)
  • Working hours timetable (raspored radnog vremena)

Additional data 

In this section, you must:

  • Educational program (obrazovni program)
  • Foreign languages (strani jezici)
  • Computer knowledge (informatička znanja)
  • Other knowledge and skills (druga znanja i vještine)
  • Driver’s license (vozački ispit)

For an educational program, pick the education that you find the most appropriate for the job. It is possible to pick more than one educational program.

Duration of labor market test and the manner of sending candidates

In this section, you have to define:

  • Date of sending the request – Request will be valid for 15 days from this date
  • Methods for contact
    • Personal arrival at your address
    • Phone announcement
    • Written request to your address
    • E-mail
    • Link

You can save your request by clicking “Spremi zahtjev” (Save request) anytime. This means that you don’t have to finish with the application right away and can save it for later.

After you finish the application form, click on “Pošalji” (Send) and the request will be sent to HZZ. You should get the labor market test results from HZZ within 15 days after submitting the request.

If you want to see your requests, click on the section “Popis zahtjeva” (List of requests) that provides:

  • Saved requests (spremljeni zahtjevi)
  • Requests submitted to the advisor (zahtjevi predani savjetniku)
  • Active requests (aktivni zahtjevi)
  • Archive of requests (arhiva zahtjeva)

#3 HZZ provides you with an advisor

After you submit the request, HZZ will process it and assign a personal advisor from HZZ.

When Expat in Croatia applied for a labor market test, our advisor contacted us immediately (the day after). Our advisor led us through the rest of the labor market test process. The advisor will let you know if you need to make changes.

#4 HZZ checks their database of unemployed

After the advisor confirms that your request is complete and well defined, HZZ will publish the job ad on their site.

At this point, their obligation is to check whether there are any unemployed people on their list that fit your job ad. If they find someone, they will recommend them to contact you. You must evaluate everyone that HZZ sent you and decide whether or not they fit the role.

#5 HZZ provides you with results

If there are no candidates that fit your job ad, HZZ will give you permission to hire a foreign worker. They will send you a written notification by email called “Obavijest o rezultatu provedbe testa tržišta rada” (Notification of the result of the labor market test implementation).

The notification includes the deadline within which you must hire a foreign worker. The deadline is 90 days from the day you submit the request.

#6 Apply for work and stay permit at MUP

After you receive approval from HZZ, it is time to request a work and stay permit for your future foreign employee. This is done at MUP/Croatian police.

A guide on how to apply for a work and stay permit is available here. If you need professional guidance during the application process, contact us.

#7 Hire your foreign worker

If you receive a positive answer from MUP and they approve work and stay permit for your foreign worker, celebrate. Now, you can finally hire them and they can begin work.

View other work articles

Novi sustav zapošljavanja stranaca by HZZ 
Hrvatski zavod za zapošljavanje – Portal Burza rada
Radne dozvole MUP

Please note: Information provided by Expat in Croatia is only for the purposes of guidance. It does not constitute legal or financial advice in any form. Croatian laws and bureaucratic rules often change, and each personal case is individual, so different rules may apply. For legal advice, contact us to consult with a licensed Croatian lawyer. For financial advice, contact us to consult with a licensed Croatian tax advisor or accountant.

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