Development of researchers mobility policy guidelines for the region of Western Balkans - 2005-2007

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Legislation review for incoming mobility in Croatia

 Barriers to incoming mobility:

  • the process of acquiring residence and work permits
  • lack of English language courses
  • high taxation of student fellowships
  • lack of experience of incoming mobility in the institutions in charge
  • very limited number of fellowships rarely open to foreigners
  • general attitude that foreigners take jobs from locals (and research is considered employment, not studying, and is taxed as such)
  • low remuneration

Personal experiences:

Dr Paul STUBBS, Senior Research Fellow, The Institute of Economics, Zagreb 


“In order to obtain a full-time job in a Croatian research institute, together with the normal requirements for any Croatian citizen (public competition, etc), I had to

  1. regularise my status – obtaining permanent residence . This was fairly easy as I was married to a Croatian citizen but it also took a long time. The Law on Foreigners keeps changing and you need to be an expert to understand the changes. I was fortunate in that the lawyer in the Institute was helpful and, also the police Department for Foreigners (in Zapresic, the one in Zagreb is impossible with very long queues and inconsistent information)
  2. get my doctorate recognised. This also was a slow process which should now have been speeded up by the establishment of a new agency.
The most frustrating thing is, always, that every document needs to be translated, certified as a translation, and then certified by a public notary. In addition, there is never a list of what you have to hand in … so the bureaucrat can always ask for one more things. There is a need for written info and a help line. “

The Employment of Foreign Nationals Act

The Law on Employment of Alines stipulates that a foreigner may be employed in Croatia only in case of acquiring a work permit and accomplishing the conditions of employment. Thus, a foreigner with permission for permanent residence, who intends and can prove that he/she will engage in specific activities, and will perform professional activities as stipulated in the technology transfer contract or the long-term production co-operation contract, must personally submit the request for obtaining a work permit. The role of a domestic employer who employs a foreigner is to request a work permit for a foreigner who has been granted a prolonged stay in Croatia. Generally, a work permit is issued for a limited period of time, i.e. for the duration of specific activities or professional work. The Employment Office issues work permits in its Central Office Zagreb or via their appropriate local service.

Recognition of Academic Degrees

National ENIC/NARIC office for recognition of academic and professional qualification


Act on the recognition of foreign educational qualifications

This act may be found here.


National Efforts

The National Foundation for Science, Higher Education and Technological Development of the Republic of Croatia
The NFS gives support to scientific, higher education and technological programmes and projects, and also promotes mobility in the field of higher education. Good example is the “Homing programme – Attracting researchers” for foreign researchers and Croatian researchers with foreign experience.


Incoming mobility experience with the foreign students of the International Master of Science Programme Sustainable Energy Engineering at the FSB, UZ:

  • In order to get residence permit foreigners are required to arrange health insurance for at least first 3 months (depending of embassy). However, when they come to Croatia, in order to get temporary JMBG they are obliged to pay Croatian health insurance, although they have valid health insurance policy in some insurance company. Croatian health insurance should be paid from the date of residence permit issuing, although date of arrival in Croatia might be even some months latter!
  • Lack of cooperation in some embassies (experience from students from Africa). It is not transparent what documentation is needed. Rules slightly differ from embassy to embassy.
  • All documentation submitted to embassy or to the Ministry of internal affairs (MUP) should be translated in Croatian language. In some countries there is no official translator for Croatian language (or in Croatia there is no official translator for some of the foreign languages)! Embassies are certified to do translation is such cases, but they have to much work (as they say) and do not want to do it. Students are lost and no one can help them.
  • Problems with accommodation for students. There is no appropriate accommodation (apartments, etc.) for visiting researchers. They were placed in costly hotels. I am not aware of the fact that visiting researchers might be placed in dormitory.
  • Foreign students can not get student card x-ca
  • Foreign students can not find student job
  • Low level of English language knowledge of MUP employees

Patrick Flower, MSc student of Sustainable Energy Engineering, Faculty of Mechanical Engineering and Naval Architecture, Zagreb


"Streamline Visa applications, general social administration needs much more coordination!! General organisation and governmental interactions need to be simpler, more flexible and faster!!"


WEB-MOB project is an
INCO FP6 project supported by
the European Commission

Development of researchers mobility policy guidelines for the region of Western Balkans - 2005-2007