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Agreement on the employment as a new step towards improving the situation of migrant workers from Bosnia and Herzegovina

 

Minister of Labour, Family and Social Affairs Dr. Ivan Svetlik and Minister of Civil Affairs of BiH Sredoje Nović, MSc, today at Brdo Castle in Kranj, signed the Agreement between the Government of the Republic of Slovenia and the Council of Ministers of Bosnia and Herzegovina on the employment of citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina in the Republic of Slovenia and the Protocol to implement the agreement.

 

The agreement comprehensively regulates the conditions and procedures of employment and seasonal employment of citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina in the Republic of Slovenia. It sets out general principles regulating relations between two countries for the employment of citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina in Slovenia. Principles of the agreement follow the reference framework of EU policies on a comprehensive migration policy, with emphasis on strengthening the partnership dialogue with third countries, the importance of circular migration, reducing the effects of brain drain, ethical recruitment, etc..

 

The Agreement provides:

  • conditions and scope of employment of citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina in Slovenia
  • conditions and procedures for issuing license which provide employment
  • rights and obligations of employers and migrant workers
  • encourage of the integration processes for inclusion into the labour market and in society of the country of employment
  • method of exchanging of information between the competent institutions of the implementation of the agreement
  • conditions for the re-return to the country of employment
  • monitoring and supervising the implementation of the agreement by the competent authorities.

The Protocol regulates the manner of cooperation between the competent institutions in a way that defines the recruitment process of migrant workers and provides information and evidence necessary for the procedure. Before the start of the agreement it must be ratified by the parliaments of both countries.

 

"With this agreement, we want with BiH, which is our largest partner in the field of employment, to regulate employment that will benefit to both countries, particularly for the benefit of workers," minister Svetlik stressed and explained that Institute for employment will provide jobs and workers who may also be previously familiar with employers. In this way getting workers will no longer be conducted over the so-called informal networks.

 

The agreement also regulates the procedures for obtaining appropriate work permits and for returning workers to their home countries. "Workers will be better protected because they will get to work under better conditions. At the same time the agreement is for the benefit of both communities because it provides opportunity to those who gain experience in Slovenia, returning home in Bosnia and Herzegovina, there they may find appropriate jobs and in this way not only enrich Slovenia, but also their country," stressed the Minister Svetlik.

 

He also explained that the agreement exactly defines that after three years each worker who has a work for the future, can stay in Slovenia and extend the work permit and obtain a condition for permanent housing. After three years, will return only those workers from Bosnia and Herzegovina, which will not have a job. The Minister has rejected the objections of ZSSS that the agreement is discriminatory to the Bosnian workers.

 

At the end of April 2011 had valid work permits 38.620 citizens of BiH. Of these was 33.551 valid personal work permits, 4.140 employment permits and 929 work permits. Compared with April 2010 the total number of valid work permits did not significantly decreased (38.736). For quite some time, is notable the trend of increasing number of personal work permits and the decline in the number of employment permits and work permits. From this it appears that the majority of citizens of Bosnia managed to arrange personal work permits and to obtain free access to the labour market.

 

Other activities in the field of regulating the status of migrant workers from Bosnia and Herzegovina in Slovenia:

  • material support for foreign workers:
    The Government of Slovenia in February 2011 adopted a decision for third-country nationals who find themselves in difficult material situation and could not exercise rights to social benefits, providing 300,000 euros of emergency funds to survive. Ministry of Labour, Family and Social Affairs, divided the amount distributed in equal shares between the Red Cross of Slovenia and the Slovenian Caritas, through which the beneficiaries received the allocated money. Any worker who is qualified was entitled to 230 euros in aid and to an additional 230 euros with the continuation of distress. The activities held since the beginning of March up to 6th May 2011, when the last payment was made. Commissions approved 1.362 applications and the money was paid to 1,330 people (some because of different reasons did not come).
  • Agreement on social security between Slovenia and Bosnia and Herzegovina:
    Agreement and administrative arrangement for the implementation of the agreement entered into force on 1st July 2008. During the implementation of the agreement, provision governing unemployment benefits proved problematic. Since the 5th Article of the agreement as a condition for obtaining unemployment benefit provides residence, the majority of workers from Bosnia and Herzegovina can not receive compensation. Therefore, the Ministry of Labour, Family and Social Affairs proposed Bosnia and Herzegovina the amendment to the agreement, so that to obtain unemployment benefits requires permanent or temporary residence in Slovenia, not only residence. Citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina will also be eligible for unemployment benefits equal with the Slovenian and other EU citizens working in the Slovenian market, as well as workers from those countries of the former Yugoslavia, with which Slovenia has concluded agreements (Croatia, Serbia). Modification of the Agreement the competent ministers signed 17th December 2010, the National Assembly ratified the agreement in March this year - by this all the conditions for enforcement are met on the Slovenian side - unfortunately, BiH has not yet ratified the agreement. Amendment to the Agreement will be implemented as soon as it is ratified by Bosnia and Herzegovina.
  • The new Employment and Work of Aliens Act, which came into force on 23th April 2011, improves the situation of foreign workers in Slovenia.
  • Info point for foreigners:
    Information for all foreign workers on their rights and obligations are also available at the Info Point (Slovenska 55, Ljubljana, phone: +386 1 472 64 60, +386 41 659 228, Fax: +386 1 472 64 66, e-mail: info-foreigners(at)ess.gov.si).

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