The Slovenia Times

Over 32,000 Slovenian residents working abroad


Ljubljana - While some Slovenian employers are struggling to find staff, more than 32,000 Slovenian residents commute daily to work abroad, most of them to Austria, where the average pay is more than double Slovenia's.

The Slovenian Financial Administration (FURS) does not keep record of workers living in Slovenia but commuting to work in Austria, Italy, Hungary and Croatia.

However, it has data on taxpayers who are tax residents in Slovenia and pay taxes under the principle of taxation of worldwide income, which means they are taxed on all income earned inside and outside Slovenia.

The number of "cross-border migrant workers", as they are known in Slovenia, increased by 7.6% to a total of 32,678 in 2020 from 2019.

FURS has explained these persons live in Slovenia but (also) generate income abroad that is reported to FURS or which FURS obtains via an automatic data exchange system.

Since they pay income tax in the country where they work, some have complained about double taxation, especially those working in Austria.

The Trade Union of Migrant Workers of Slovenia has pushed for legislative changes several times, with the third attempt in recent years currently ongoing.

But FURS denies the allegation of double taxation. It says that Slovenia has an agreement on avoidance of double taxation signed with Austria and that the migrant workers working there only pay the difference to Slovenia's income tax.

What makes Austria particularly attractive for Slovenian workers is higher pay.

While the average gross monthly pay in Slovenia amounted to around EUR 1,860 in 2020, it was EUR 3,800 in Austria and EUR 2,440 in Italy, according to data provided by the Slovenian SPIRIT agency. The pay was meanwhile lower in Hungary and Croatia, at just over EUR 1,200 in both countries.

Austria is also interesting for seasonal workers. Slovenia's Employment Service had an add in August for a larger number of workers at ski centres in the Austrian regions of Salzburg and Carinthia, chiefly for cooks, waiters, chambermaids, receptionists, and ski teachers.

An average monthly net pay for chief cook in Slovenia was EUR 1,086 net in 2020, while an ordinary cook received EUR 868 and a waiter EUR 823, Statistics Office data shows. Austrian employers meanwhile offer EUR 1,600-1,800 to a cook or waiter with three years of work experience.

And if the minimum wage in Slovenia is set at EUR 1,024 gross for this year, it amounts to EUR 1,550 gross in the Austrian hospitality sector.

Employers in Slovenia, on the other hand, report about a record shortage of workers. The country's Employment Service has told the STA the employers reported 116,600 vacancies in the first nine months, up 30% from the same period in 2020.


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