Saturday, February 28, 2009

Croatia Online - Expats in Croatia

Ever changing and confusing rules on "aliens" in Croatia, don't make life easy.
However those of us that continue to choose to spend some time in Croatia, away from our homeland, have to take the rough with the smooth. And perhaps the rough isn't quite so unusually rough at all!
That fact was brought home to us after a short trip to England, visiting a relative in an upmarket care home, almost exclusively staffed by non UK carers. "Oh the bureaucracy" said one. "My friend is in exactly the same circumstances and got a completely different answer from the immigration officials" said another. Aged relative says "if they don't like it here why don't they go back home?" A simple, politically incorrect, question allowed from an 88 year old, who may not have remembered the short staffing before new countries came into the EU. But a good reminder for expats all around the world who occasionally feel moved to vent their frustrations.
The moral of the story is that it's not easy being an expat, wherever you are, wherever you are from, and whatever circumstances you are in. However, it's our firm belief that if you're a guest in someone else's country then you do your best to work with it and support whatever infrastructure you can, until you find that impossible and you "choose" to go home, or the decision is made for you. In between, you fight whatever battles you have to fight, in good faith, and according to the local customs and laws, as best you know and understand them. If you have a couple of good local friends to help you on the way then all the better!
Ex pats are an odd and varied bunch. Some are continually seeking something, some eternally escaping something, and some just find something so delightful, by accident, that they want to make more of it. We'd like to think that the small band of expats in Croatia falls into the last category, and good on Croatia for making it so hard on all of us, for the time being. As we've said before, many times, if it was easy everyone would want to live here!
In the light of current global challenges, a country like Croatia could do very well by spending some intelligent time to tap into the potential of its current and future ex pat resources. Those that have behaved in an exemplary fashion, trying to understand and meet the rules, and normally with the best to offer, have often been the hardest hit. Hiding under the radar still appears to pay.
It will be interesting to see if Croatia really is a dynamic transitional country that means business. It could do worse than offering an amnesty to current foreign residents, property owners, entrepreneurs and investors, on hard to understand residency and business visa rules, and spend a small amount of time tapping into the potential that this might reap.
Perhaps a little unfair on native entrepreneurs but it's a low investment, and easy short term step, for a long term goal. Tourism is a significant factor in Croatia's economy, and the small ex pat voice, wherever it comes from, has a history of being very loud around the world and can be the best or worst of ambassadors.
Today's photo is of Split Airport, a place for collecting all sorts of thoughts!


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