R.D. from Gvozd, Pješćanica 131, is a citizen of Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH). She was born in Suho Polje, Bijeljina municipality, BiH. She resided in the Republic of Croatia (RH) from 1981 to 1995, when she left the Republic of Croatia and returned on June 3, 2009. She then exercises the right to her first temporary residence in the Republic of Croatia.

After the expiration of five years of legal residence in the Republic of Croatia in accordance with Art. 92 paragraph 1 of the Foreigners Act, R.D. applied for permanent residence in the Republic of Croatia in June 2014, believing that she met the conditions for the same. The application for permanent residence is rejected because it did not meet the condition for granting permanent residence – there are no means of subsistence in the Republic of Croatia in accordance with the Decree on the method of calculation and amount of means of subsistence for third-country nationals in Croatia from 2012 /Official Gazette 51/12/. In that procedure, which was led by an attorney at law Ž.Z., a negative decision of the Administrative Lawsuit was received and no further proceedings were led.                     

Also, she submitted a request for the acquisition of the right to status of a returnee on February 9, 2015, and the request was rejected by the Decision of the State Administration Office of Sisak-Moslavina County, Department of Economy, Glina Branch Office dated February 10, 2015, stating the reason the request being untimely. In the proceedings, she received a negative decision from the second-instance body, and did not initiate an administrative dispute.

R.D. is currently on the 13th temporary residence as a third-country national in accordance with Art. 79, paragraph 1, item 6 of the Foreigners Act – seriously justified reasons of a humanitarian nature. An application for a 14th temporary residence permit in the Republic of Croatia is being submitted.       

No less important, R.D. is every month obliged to pay the compulsory health insurance of a foreigner in the Republic of Croatia, which amounts to approx. 600.00 HRK. She is the beneficiary of the family pension in the amount of HRK 1,050.00. Due to the threat to livelihood and the inability to pay monthly amounts in the name of health insurance during May 2022, an administrative procedure for debt write-off was initiated in accordance with the General Tax Law.

She submitted a new application for permanent residence on 19 June 2020. A court proceeding is currently underway before the Administrative Court in Zagreb.

At the same time, she submitted a request for the issuance of a declaratory Decision on the right to permanent residence, which was sent to the Ministry of the Interior in March 2021. R.D. in the request refers to Art. 79 Para 1 of the Law on Movement and Residence of Foreigners /OG 53/91/ which stipulated that the status of a permanently resident foreigner / today’s permanent residence / will be recognized on the condition of reciprocity, to persons who were considered Yugoslav citizens according to previous regulations, which is indisputable in this case, if they have their permanent residence in the Republic of Croatia on the day this Act enters into force. The client R.D. has ex lege acquired the status of permanently resident foreigner / permanent residence in the Republic of Croatia. In the alternative, it is pointed out that R.D. failed to obtain an identity card at the time, but not obtaining an identity card is a misdemeanor for which a fine is provided as indicated in the Foreigners Act of 2003. Nowhere is it stated that if an identity card is not requested, permanent residence ceases. An appeal procedure is currently underway before the High Administrative Court of the Republic of Croatia.

CRP Sisak is of the opinion that R.D. finds herself in legal limbo: threats to existence, violation of her dignity and systematic orientation against the very interests of the client. Namely, conducting the procedure of granting a residence permit for humanitarian reasons is only an extension of the agony for the client. This is the hopelessness of approved humanitarian stays, given that this status can be lived for a long time without ever being able to regulate permanent residence and citizenship, but this status is uncertain because it depends on one-year extended residence permits and discretionary consent of the Ministry of the Interior. It is also necessary to pay for health insurance. Also, the client has no rights from the social welfare system, as well as some other rights, which puts her at a disadvantage continuously and possibly for the rest of its life.

One procedure does not follow another, i.e. permanent residence does not follow temporary, which would be logical, and what is facilitating in temporary residence, (e.g. it is not necessary to attach proof of secured means of subsistence), may be negative circumstances, i.e.  negative for permanent residence, as a certain amount on behalf of the means of subsistence in the Republic of Croatia must be proved, which indicates double criteria, which raises the question that the amount of Croatian family pension, according to Croatian law, is not enough for permanent residence of the same person, a pensioner in the Republic of Croatia?

The case points to continuous discrimination of the client and the length of temporary residence, more than 13 years, which is unnecessary administration, in the Republic of Croatia in this case indicates the need for more prompt changes in the regulations of the Foreigners Act in this area.

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