The position of cross-border labor migrants in the border crossing with Croatia

25 August 2020

On Friday, 21 August 2020, the Ordinance of imposing and implementing measures to prevent the spread of epidemic COVID-19 at the border crossing points at the external border and inspection posts within national borders of the Republic of Slovenia (hereinafter the "Ordinance") entered into force, which changed the regime of entering into the Republic of Slovenia from the countries put on the so called "red list", which, based on the government's decision, among other countries currently applies to neighbouring Croatia. From now on, persons entering the territory of the Republic of Slovenia from Croatia will be ordered a 14-day quarantine when crossing the border. However, the Ordinance provides for a wide range of exceptions, including for cross-border daily and weekly labor migrants (Article 10 of the Ordinance, point 1 and 2).

The exception applies to daily and weekly cross-border migrant workers with permanent residency in one of the EU Member States or in the Schengen area. All migrant workers, both daily and weekly, must provide proof for that (for example, an employment contract) or a signed statement by the employer justifying the reason for crossing the border (this could be the employer's certificate of employment and a statement that border crossing is required for the performance of work tasks). Daily cross-border labor migrants are not required to submit a negative test result for the presence of COVID-19 upon entry into Slovenia, while weekly cross-border labor migrants must submit a negative test result, which should not be older than 36 hours, at each border crossing.

More detailed information on how the justification of crossing the border will be assessed in the case of weekly migrant workers (and other workers in the performance of their duties) and on the time for which weekly cross-border migrant workers can stay in Croatia is not yet known. The government provided the following definition of a weekly migrant:

"A weekly migrant has an employment relationship in Slovenia (or in a neighbouring country) and does not cross the state border due to coming to work every day, but usually crosses the border due to coming to work or leaving work once, twice or three times a week, including in uneven cycles. He/she may also have a place of residence in the country where he/she works."

It should also be pointed out that a person who has a permanent or temporary residence in a country on the red list is ordered 14-days quarantine when entering the territory of the Republic of Slovenia, even when entering from a country, which is not on the red list. An exception applies to Slovenian citizens and persons with permanent or temporary residence in the Republic of Slovenia, if they present proof at the border that they do not come from countries on the red list, for example an original invoice for accommodation in these (epidemiologically safe) countries, proof of ownership of real estate or vessels or other appropriate evidence.