Working in Macedonia
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Macedonia has been facing a liberalization of markets and consequently a phase of economic growth: the job market reflects this modernization of the economy and some interesting opportunities are available for expats. Read on for more information on the economy, work permits and taxation.
Employment in Macedonia
Since declaring itself independent after the breakup of the Republic of Yugoslavia in 1991, Macedonia has been transitioning to a free market economy. Although the first decade was difficult for the country, its total GDP has seen significant growth every year since 2000, mainly due to foreign investment and liberal economic reform, and now stands at 27.41 billion USD or 13,200 USD per capita.
Its main economic sectors are services (63% of GDP), industry (26%), and agriculture (10%). Much of its economy relies on export products, with textiles, vegetables, iron, steel, and wine the most significant.
Macedonia’s economy also relies heavily on tourism, and the country receives nearly a million tourists each year. The most visited area is Lake Ohrid, in the southwest of the country, with the capital city Skopje in second place. Its many forests and national parks are also popular with tourists.
Expatriates working in Macedonia are usually employed in government, diplomacy, in English speaking schools, or for NGOs.
Work Permits for Macedonia
Expatriates working in Macedonia need a work permit and applications must be made to the Employment Service Agency of the Republic of Macedonia through your embassy or consulate.
Work permits are issued on a temporary basis, and will typically run for more than three months but for no longer than a year. The work permit process will be much easier if you have already secured work in Macedonia before applying, as your prospective employer can then sponsor your application.
However, you must already have a residency permit in place before applying for a permit to work in Macedonia, and in most cases your work permit will not be issued for longer than your residency permit. This means that you will need to renew both simultaneously to stay and work in Macedonia for longer than the time allotted by your work permit.
Unlike many countries, the application for permits to work in Macedonia is completely free of charge.
Taxation in Macedonia
As an expatriate living and working in Macedonia, you will need to pay income tax on your earnings. Unlike many other countries, Macedonia has a flat rate for income tax. This means that no matter how much you earn in a fiscal year whilst working in Macedonia, you will only be required to pay income tax at 10%.
This generous income tax system is one of the main reasons many expatriates are drawn to the country. As a resident living and working Macedonia for more than 183 days in the fiscal year, you will need to pay tax on your worldwide income; if you work in Macedonia for less than 183 days, you will only pay income tax on your Macedonian income.
However, be aware that as a resident of Macedonia you will also be required to pay social security contributions, including mandatory public health insurance, which can take the total tax rate for income up to around 30%.