The German government will inform the European Commission that Germany will lift all remaining restrictions on the free movement of workers and freedom to provide services with respect to Croatian citizens.
The first stage of Croatia’s transition phase following EU accession ends on 30 June. Under EU law it would be permissible to extend the transitional regulation for Croatian workers. Germany has decided not to do so.
Since Croatia joined the European Union on 1 July 2013, Croatian citizens have been entitled to work in Germany provided they have a work permit. Since then the provisions governing Croatian graduates, trainees and seasonal workers have been eased significantly, such that they can work in Germany without a work permit.
Currently restrictions are still in place that restrict the right of Croatian companies to post their employees to Germany: these apply in the construction sector, in cleaning services and in interior decoration.
Germany’s economy and labour market are in a good state of health. In 2013 and 2014 many, mostly younger Croats made the most of the loosening of restrictions. In 2014 a total of 93,000 Croats were working in Germany in posts liable to pay social insurance contributions.
They are well integrated and generally work in areas where demand for workers is increasingly outstripping supply in Germany: in manufacturing and construction, in the health service and in social services.
When Germany lifts the last labour market restrictions for Croatian citizens on 1 July 2015 some 10,000 Croats a year are expected to come to Germany to work.
As of 1 July Croatian construction, cleaning and interior decoration companies will also be able to post their workers to Germany without restriction. They will then be free to offer their services in these branches in Germany.
Since 1 January 2015 the minimum wage in Germany has applied also to all non-Germans working in Germany. This also applies to workers posted to Germany by Croatian companies.
Croatia expects its own economy to grow and offer an increasing number of jobs. To date Croatians have left their country to work in Germany and Austria primarily to escape the high unemployment, particularly youth unemployment, at home.
The German government hopes that the full opening of the German labour market will be a signal. All EU citizens should seek work and be free to take up job offers throughout the Union.
Open labour markets in the EU benefit both companies and job-seekers.
Croats who work abroad are a boon for the Croatian economy too. The remittances they send home improve the income of their families at home, and thus strengthen the domestic market.