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Migrant Integration Governance in Croatia

Croatia is not a country of immigration: departures are larger than arrivals and the presence of foreigners in the country is very limited. To integrate these relatively small communities of foreigners, the national integration policy is primarily focused on teaching the country’s language, history and culture.

Statistics

Foreign population in Croatia On 1 January 2017, 14 168 Third Country Nationals (TCNs) were living in Croatia. They represented 0,3 % of the total population, according to the Ministry of Interior and the Croatian Statistics Bureau.

Most came from former Yugoslavian states Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia and Kosovo. 6 061 had valid temporary resident permits and 8 107 were permanent residents. They were mainly family members of EEA and Croatian citizens (11 127). Another 3 115 had work permits and 99 were beneficiaries of international or subsidiary protection.

 

There are no statistics available on the overall stock of TCNs who have acquired Croatian citizenship. Data from the 2011 census suggest that around 13% of the population is foreign-born. Most new nationals are from Bosnia and Herzegovina and obtained citizenship as “ethnic Croat repatriates”.

Integration Strategy

To integrate or foster the social inclusion of populations with migrant background, the Croatian Government set up an Action Plan for the Removal of Obstacles to the Exercise of Particular Rights in the Area of Integration of Foreigners for the period 2013-2015. The strategic document focused on social welfare and health protection, accommodation and housing, as well as language learning and education.

A follow-up Plan for the period of 2017-2019, limited to persons granted international or subsidiary protection, was approved in early December 2017. It comprises provisions on their rights to work, descent accommodation and education. It also focuses on their obligations to participate in the economic, social and cultural development of the country.

Integration Programme

There is no Integration Programme as such in Croatia. However, in 2014, the country designed a Learning Programme on Croatian language, history and culture for beneficiaries of international protection. The Programme has been implemented on a case-by-case basis, although it was originally intended to be mandatory.

  language courses

  civic education

  vocational training

The Government also published a Guide through integration a year later, inviting foreign residents to become active citizens in their host country. The document contains basic information on their key rights and duties, the main integration steps, and available services.

Evaluation

Activities carried out within the framework of the Integration Action Plan have been published in activity reports in 2014 and 2015 but no official evaluation of Third Country Nationals’ integration outcomes has so far been published in Croatia.

Legislation

  Foreigners Law

The Law 30/2011 of 4 November 2011 regulates procedures for visas and travel documents of foreigners. It also introduces measures to restrict foreigners’ freedom of movement in Croatia. Amendment 69/2017 of 5 July 2017 adds new categories of vulnerable people and family members, and defines responsibilities of the Minister for Foreign Affairs in the process of issuing ID cards.

☑   Asylum Law

In June 2015, the Parliament approved a new Law on International and Temporary Protection (LITP) which repeals the previous legislation. All applications lodged prior to 2 July 2015 were regulated by the Law on Asylum 103/2003 and its amendments of 2007 and 2013 which laid down principles, conditions and procedures for the granting of asylum and temporary protection, and defined the status, rights and obligations of both asylum seekers and refugees. The new law transposes several EU Directives into the domestic law.

☒  Integration Law

There is no self-standing law on the integration in Croatia.

  Nationality Law

The Croatian Citizenship Act of 1991 was last amended in October 2015. There is currently a proposal to amend the law in such a way that persons who are deprived of their ability to work would still be able to acquire Croatian citizenship through the regular process.

☑  Anti-discrimination

The law 85/08 promotes equality as the highest value of the constitutional order of the Republic of Croatia. It provides for protection from discrimination on multiple grounds, including race, ethnicity, colour of skin, language and religion. The 2012 amendment regulates that “encouraging discrimination shall be considered discrimination in the sense of the provisions of this Act”.

 

In addition, a National strategy to fight discrimination has been introduced for the period 2017 to 2022. The 3 first years will be implemented through an Action Plan.

Public authorities

The entity leading on migrant integration governance in Croatia is the Government's Office for Human Rights and the Rights of National Minorities and particularly the Monitoring Unit for the implementation of the National programme for the integration policy. The Office is Croatia’s representative at the European Integration Network. It designed the Integration Action Plan which operational implementation is mainly the responsibility of the Standing Committee for the integration of foreigners into the Croatian society. The Action Plan is otherwise implemented through activities led by the Ministry of the Interior, other ministries and civil society organisations.

At the local level, municipalities provide support and assistance in employment, healthcare, housing and education services.

Civil society

Croatia does not have a consultative body on integration. Civil society organisations and other stakeholders were however consulted during the process of designing the 2017-2019 Action Plan for the integration of beneficiaries of international protection.

Non-governmental organisations, together with primary schools, open universities, local administration offices, local and regional governments, the Education and Training Agency, the Institute for Health Insurance and the Employment Service, also provide a variety of integration services.

Funding

Non-profit organisations and local authorities can apply for financing through several funds. EU’s Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund (AMIF) is the most important one in terms of budget. The national allocation for Croatia under AMIF for the period 2014-2010 is € 17 133 800. 40% are dedicated to asylum and 25% to legal migration and integration which budget is coordinated by the Ministry of Interior. National priorities presented in the Croatian AMIF programme reflect the Integration Action Plan (adequate accommodation, access to education, Croatian language courses, introduction to Croatian history and culture, as well social participation).

In addition, national funds are made available for service providers and other stakeholders to carry out projects aiming for a better integration of the migrant population.

Public funding
  • Ministry of Regional Development and EU Funds
  • National Foundation for Civil Society Development
  • Croatian Government’s Office or Cooperation with NGOs
  • Croatian Government’s Office for Human Rights and the Rights of National Minorities

Other stakeholders

☑  Providing integration services

☑  Implementing Integration Programme

  • Institute for Health Insurance, the Employment Service

☑  Campaigning

☑  Publishing research and statistics