Croatia is increasingly becoming an important destination for North Macedonians seeking seasonal work while the country that recently joined the Schengen area deals with labour shortages.
However, the upward trend of seasonal workers from North Macedonia is seriously impacting the Balkan country’s economy, as Bojan Blazhevski from Meta News Agency pointed out.
Blazhevski says that the main reason for Macedonian workers headed to Croatia is low salaries, as Croatian employers pay them almost half a year or more wage worth of pay during a three-month period.
“This year Croatia is a very popular destination for summer work. Practically, for summer work, there are going people with different jobs or different backgrounds. I even know people that take their holiday or unpaid three months in order to work for the summer,” Blazhevski told SchengenVisaInfo.com.
He also points out that it is absolutely worth working for three months in other countries like Croatia, Greece, Spain and Malta for Macedonian workers.
Despite remittances and the benefits that seasonal work brings to the country, it risks the labour market as well as encourages demographic changes, as more people seeking to have a better life migrate to European countries.
The phenomenon of skilled workers leaving the country, also known as the “brain drain” threatens the country’s economy, and Blazhevski says that what is even more concerning is that such workers are often leaving North Macedonia forever.
“Here, we are talking about high-professional and very skilled persons with high education from the IT sector or medicine. They are not going for the low salaries, but the corruption in the country and general problems with the rule of law. People are furious because of this and they simply want to live in a better society, which respects them. So, not only bigger salaries or appreciation of their work, but a better environment to live in,” he also noted.
He also said that the sector of medicine has felt the hardest hit by the brain drain, as workers get their necessary academic training and expertise in North Macedonia and they apply for a job in Germany or other countries.
This also costs a lot for the country itself as it invests time, money and knowledge to prepare workers that won’t even stay in the country.
This phenomenon is becoming more common among all Balkan countries, with the medicine sector being especially impacted. SchengenVisaInfo previously reported that the migration of skilled workers from Balkan countries has impacted the living standard in these countries, which are not only dealing with labour shortages but have witnessed some medical centres being entirely closed.