Croatia’s entry into the European Union as a full member in 2013 has certainly brought with it summits and valleys. Without a doubt one of the most concerning factors has been the exodus of Croatian workers abroad. It is estimated that over the past few years over 200,000 people have left Croatia. And the most qualified professionals in the country are the most sought after by head-hunters from the EU.
Around 1,300 Croatian doctors have all the documentation they require to work in another EU country and until now 520 doctors have actually left. The most attractive destinations for Croatian doctors are Ireland, Germany, Sweden and the United Kingdom. Around 200 Croatian doctors are currently working in the UK. Exact figures show that there are 99 specialists, 8 GP’s, 75 without specialist experience and 7 with completed specialist experience.
However, after the Brexit referendum Great Britain is slowly becoming a much less attractive destination for foreign doctors. According to information from the British Medical Association half of the foreign doctors currently working in the UK are thinking of leaving after Brexit comes into force. One of the main reasons for leaving is the fear that salaries will fall as the pound drops in value to the Euro.
Dr. Ante Marušić spent three years working in Chester before returning to Zagreb to continue his career this year. “After the European referendum it seems to me that foreign workers are more nervous about their status in the future,” commented to the Croatian newspaper Jutarnji List. Adding that the reason he left the UK was not connected to Brexit but that after three years he had gained enough experience.
The number of Croatian doctors in the UK is relatively small when compared to other countries. Latest data shows that there are 261,820 doctors in the UK of which 177,376 are British. Of this foreign contingent only 23,000 are from European Union countries, with the most from Poland (2,226), Hungary (1,525) and the Czech Republic (1,335). The fear of Brexit and its consequences has left Croatian doctors looking to Ireland and Sweden as possible destinations.