20 May 15
Montenegro Work Permit Limit Worries Foreign Firms
The largest business association in Montenegro says newly adopted curbs on the employment of foreigners could deter international companies from operating in the country.
Montenegro’s Business Alliance has urged the government to allow foreign managers to extend their work permits after the country adopted new limits designed to protect the local workforce.
The association warns that many foreign companies could stop doing business in Montenegro, if the country does not allow foreign nationals in management positions to extend their work permits.
For some years, Montenegro has set annual quotas for the employment of foreigners within which employers can hire workers of any nationality. The quota for 2015 was set at 23,500.
The new law on foreign workers in force since April 1 provides that, regardless of the annual quota, foreign nationals may only be taken on if domestic workers with the appropriate qualifications are unavailable.
Under pressure from employers, however, particularly in the field of tourism, last week the government sought parliamentary approval to delay implementation of the controversial new curb.
The business alliance believes that the problem must be solved quickly.
“If we do not solve this, many foreign companies will stop doing business in Montenegro…In an environment in which each country is competing to attract investment [the curb] will not bring anything good to Montenegro,” the association said.
The government argues that it has a duty to protect domestic workers from being undercut after many in Montenegro say a disproportionately large number of foreigners were allowed to work in the country.
In 2014, Montenegro issued more than 30,000 of the total of 57,000 work permits for foreigners issued by six countries in the region.
Source: Balkan Insight (Montenegro)