Croatia rolls out €133m subsidy scheme to lure back expats, combat brain drain

Government's new scheme to lure back Croatians who had emigrated abroad will involve a one-time grant of 50,000 kuna (€6,700) should they choose to start their businesses in Croatia, plus a 150,000 kuna (€20,000) subsidy for self-employment, the Jutarnji List daily wrote on Wednesday, citing government sources.

In addition, existing businesses which choose to relocate to less developed areas of the country will be entitled to 25,000 kuna (€3,400).

The program, tentatively dubbed I Choose Croatia, is part of the government’s new active employment plan. The scheme will be outlined at the regular cabinet meeting on Thursday, and should be adopted by the state employment service next week, Jutarnji said. About 1 billion kuna (€133m) has been earmarked for the program.

In an effort to motivate young people to return to Croatia from other EU countries like Germany or Ireland, the government has increased the subsidy for self-employment in green and digital industries to 150,000 kuna (€20,000) for a period of two years. This, in particular, refers to the manufacturing industry,  electricity, gas, steam and air conditioning supply sector, environment protection activities, landscaping and construction.

Another measure is directed towards including young people in the labor market through internships in the workplace in green and digital industries. The government will subsidize salaries for interns to the tune of 50,000 kuna (€6,700) a year for employers who hire young interns with secondary-school diplomas, and up to 60,000 kuna (€8,000) for recruits with college degrees.

The government will also subsidize the employment of people from disadvantaged groups such as the disabled in green and digital industries. Businesses will receive up to 45,000 kuna (€6,000) a year if they employ disadvantaged groups, and up to 70,000 kuna (€9,300) for employing someone with a disability, Jutarnji said.

(€1 = 7.52 kuna)