ZAGREB — In December 2019, workers from Sri Lanka arrived in Croatia to work as in shoe manufacturing company Ivančica d.d. in the city of Ivanec. 

The manufacturing company hired the workers through Astra Centar, a benefit corporation that provides socially responsible recruitment for companies in Croatia. Astra is a social enterprise that is not only a full-cycle recruitment service provider but also assists with the proper integration of workers to ensure their success at their job as well as their adaptation to the community throughout the duration of their contract. This is first-time Croatia has a recruitment company that is dedicated to ethical recruitment combatting illegal recruitment systems, unfair labor practices and modern slavery. Astra Centar is part of a global movement of socially conscious companies that are building a positive impact in societies and economies. The Croatian manufacturing company Ivančica joined this movement through socially responsible recruitment of sewing operators. Migrant workers are well received by Ivančica employees, and the head of human resources Kristina Dubovečak-Držaić says that migrant workers from Sri Lanka are dedicated and highly responsible and conscientious in their work.

Feedbacks from the Sri Lankan workers are very positive. They are very thankful for the job opportunity in Croatia, they like the country and the company they are working for. People are very kind and helpful to them. Workers are following the instructions and work hard to give 100% to the company. While working, they are training to operate all kinds of sewing machines. The employer has put a lot of effort into arranging accommodation. Workers praised the employer as the kitchen was equipped with the groceries they use in Sri Lanka and they feel very welcomed after they were already invited to the company’s end of the business year dinner. Not only are they adapting to the new work environment, but also the climate which is very different from Sri Lanka.  They saw snow for the first time. Each morning, Sri Lankans greet each other with a smiling face which shows they are grateful for the work and the warm welcome in Croatia. Croatians can learn a lot from them about unity, loyalty and gratefulness.

Astra is bringing awareness to employers of the opportunity to grow their business by hiring migrant workers while creating a global impact on society.

By hiring Sri Lankan migrant workers, the manufacturing company is not only strengthening their commitment to build an inclusive and sustainable enterprise, they are also providing financially rewarding opportunities for the workers and their families It has been almost eight months since the Easter attack happened in Sri Lanka. Since then, the country has suffered major blows in its economy affecting its industries and job market. Job opportunities like the ones in Croatia bring renewed hope for workers to build or rebuild their lives.

Hiring third-country migrant workers is not easy or fast. But when done right, can bring sustainable economic rewards to both the employer and worker.  Croatia has been struggling to bring stability to its decreasing workforce for years. While third-country migrant workers are facing challenges in their home country due to job market inefficiencies due to slow economic growth, political unrest and lack of opportunities. Astra matches workers to the needs of Croatian companies. The workers whom Astra brings to Croatia are committed to full-time work that brings financial stability and personal and career advancement.

Astra has a community of reputable organizations to source workers in different countries such as Sri Lanka, Nepal, Honduras, Vietnam and the Philippines. These partners have the skills and resources to find the right workers and provide support for the visa applications and other government-mandated work and travel approvals. Astra is a Croatian company’s strategic partner when it comes to third-country migrant worker recruitment. From worker search, application review, visa processing, government approvals, logistics arrangement for travel to Croatia and worker’s well-being check throughout the duration of employment, an employer can rely on Astra’s socially responsible recruitment service.