ZAGREB (Reuters) - The Croatian government will increase a quota for foreign workers in tourism and construction for this year, following a recent appeal by employers.
Croatia’s tourist businesses urged the government last week to let in more foreign workers to help staff bars, restaurants and other tourist facilities in the coming high season.
“Our primary goal is to see employment of local people. However, we also decided to increase by 2,000 a number of licenses for foreign workers in tourism and by 1,000 in construction,” Labour Minister Marko Pavic told a cabinet session.
The number of licenses will automatically rise by 1,000 in each sector should further need arise.
“By this decision we believe we have paved way to have a good (tourist) season,” Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic said.
Croatia’s tourist industry, mostly focused on the summer months, accounts to almost 20% of gross domestic product.
Croatia originally approved 65,100 licenses for foreign workers for this year, up from 38,769 last year. The quota for workers in tourism was set at 15,611 and for construction at 17,800 licenses.
Retail, manufacturing and transport also suffer from a shortage of workers.
The average monthly salary in Croatia was 6,434 kuna ($973.18) in April. The jobless rate at the end of May was 7.5%.
Foreign workers who come to Croatia are mostly from non-European Union Balkan states, Ukraine and some Asian countries.
Reporting by Igor Ilic, editing by Larry King