Setting up a Business

Official Name: Republic of Macedonia

Capital: Skopje (Population of 600.000)

Other Major Cities (Population of over 100.000): Kumanovo, Bitola, Tetovo, Veles, Prilep, Stip

Population: 2,05 million

Area: 25,713 sq.km

Location: Macedonia is located in the central Balkan peninsula in Southeast Europe. It is one of the successor states of the former Yugoslavia, from which it declared independence in 1991. It became a member of the United Nations in 1993. It shares a border with Greece to the south, Bulgaria to the east, Serbia and Kosovo to the north, and Albania to the west. The country is 80% mountainous, rising to its highest point at Mt. Korab (peak 2.764 meters).

Time Zone: GMT + 1

Political System: Parliamentary democracy

Currency: Macedonian Denar – MKD (€1 = MKD 61,5)

Country Phone Code: + 389

Country Internet domain: .mk

Macroeconomic Stability

Macedonia’s high-potential economic and financial stability is expressed through positive key economic indicators such as a steady GDP, low and stable inflation rate (average <2% annually), decade-long stable currency, and excellent fiscal discipline confirmed by the international financial institutions.

Macedonia was forecast to achieve the highest economic growth rate in Europe in 2015 and 2016, according to the European Commission’s 2015 Spring economic report. Based on the Ministry of Finance’s projections, Macedonia’s GDP annual growth rate is expected to reach 3,2% in 2018.

Macedonia’s exports have also had a positive track record. The export growth rate was 9,1% in 2015, 7,4% in 2016, 14,1% in 2017, and is projected to reach 10,1% in 2018.

GDP (REAL GROWTH RATES)
2005200620072008200920102011201220132014201520162017
4,75,16,55,5-0,43,42,3-0,52,93,63,92,91,2
INFLATION (AVERAGE, ON CUMULATIVE BASIS,IN %)
2005200620072008200920102011201220132014201520162017
0,53,22,38,3-0,81,63,93,32,8-0,3-0,3-0,21,4
UNEMPLOYMENT RATE (IN %)
2005200620072008200920102011201220132014201520162017
37,336,034,933,832,232,031,431,029,028,026,123,722,4
BUDGET DEFICIT: (% of GDP)
2005200620072008200920102011201220132014201520162017
0,2-0,50,6-0,9-2,6-2,4-2,5-3,8-3,8-4,2-3,5-2,7-2,7
AVERAGE EXCHANGE RATE MKD/EUR
2005200620072008200920102011201220132014201520162017
61,3061,1961,1861,2761,2761,5161,5361,5361,5861,6261,6161,5861,69
FDI  (% of GDP)
2005200620072008200920102011201220132014201520162017
1,56,38,35,92,12,34,61,53,12,42,43,52,3

GENERAL OVERVIEW

Macedonia prides itself on its educated, highly-qualified, and ethical workforce available to foreign investors. The average gross monthly salary at the national level in 2015 was €522. Educational standards at technical higher educational institutions in Macedonia resemble those of Western countries. Workers welcome continuing education and life-long learning, successfully completing customized vocational training programs. The Government aids investors in the process of labor force training by participating in such programs.

EDUCATION GEARED FOR BUSINESS

Elementary and high school education, as well as English language learning, are mandatory in the Macedonian educational system and begin   in the first grade of elementary school. In addition to standard high schools, many vocational high schools in each city enable students to learn various trades. There are five public and numerous private internationally recognized universities and colleges. Both, vocational schools and universities offer tailor-made training programs in an effort to meet the specific needs of companies investing in Macedonia. In the past several years, Macedonia on average spent 6% of its GDP on education, a percentage higher than the corresponding one in most of the OECD countries.

Every year approximately 80% of high school graduates are enrolled in universities, and there was a 35% increase in the total number of undergraduate degrees in the past several years. With 45% of the population under 30 years of age, Macedonia offers a young, educated, and skilled workforce.

SALARIES

Although the average gross monthly salary at the national level in 2015 was €522, the average gross monthly salary in the manufacturing sector was €393. These amounts include the net salary, personal income tax and social contributions for pension and disability insurance, health insurance and employment insurance. The minimum salary for each professional branch is defined by Collective agreements.

SOCIAL CONTRIBUTIONS

Social Contributions200820092010-2016
Contribution for Pension and Disability Insurance Fund21.2%19.0%18%
Contribution for Health Insurance Fund9.2%7.5%7.3%
Contribution for Employment Fund1.6%1.4%1.2%
Additional Health Insurance0.5%0.5%0.5%
TOTAL27.0%

Registering a Company

The current Company Law is effective since 2004. The amendment to the Company Law in 2005 facilitated the start of the Central Register at the beginning of 2006, as the body authorized to perform all company registrations and maintain a trade register of all companies. This is the primary law regulating business activity in Macedonia. It defines the types of companies, procedures and regulations for their establishment and operations. As all foreign investors are granted the same rights and privileges as Macedonian nationals, they are entitled to establish and operate all types of self-owned private companies or joint-stock companies. Foreign investors are not required to obtain special permission from state-authorized institutions, other than what is customarily required by law.

Under the Company Law, companies are formed as separate legal entities that operate independently and are distinct from their founders, shareholders and managers. Depending on the type, companies have their own rights, liabilities, names and registered offices. The law defines five forms of companies: General Partnership, Limited Partnership, Limited Liability Company, Joint Stock Company and Limited Partnership by Shares.

Macedonia has introduced a ONE-STOP-SHOP SYSTEM that enables investors to register their business after 2 hours of submitting an application. One can register a company in Macedonia by visiting one office, obtaining the information from a single place, and addressing one employee. This significantly reduces administrative barriers and start-up costs.

Work Visas and Permits

Foreign residents can easily establish employment in the Republic of Macedonia, after getting an appropriate visa or permit from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, i.e. Diplomatic-consular offices abroad.

Nationals of EU member-states, as well as nationals of the state-parties to the Schengen agreement may enter the Republic of Macedonia presenting a valid identity card issued by the competent authorities of the EU member-states or the state-parties to the Schengen agreement.

Types of Visas:

  • Entry visa
  • Business visa
  • Employment visa

Visa Requirements and Procedure:

Visas shall be issued only at the embassies or consulates of the Republic of Macedonia abroad.

The validity of the passport or other travel document of the applicant has to be minimum 3 (three) months.

The applicant is to contact an embassy or the consulate of the Republic of Macedonia for additional information about the conditions and procedure for visa issuance.

The application may be submitted to the embassy/consulate of the Republic of Macedonia by mail or fax, in which case the applicant must collect the visa in person.

Using the list of diplomatic and consular missions of the Republic of Macedonia abroad (which can be found at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs website) visa applicants can choose the most convenient embassy/consulate location to submit the application.

Types of Permits:

  • Work permit
  • Residence permit

Licences and Permits

In addition to the registration of all business activities as stipulated by the Company Law, certain business activities must obtain additional working licenses or permits before starting their operations. For companies operating in these specific fields, the registration process is followed by a licensing process with the relevant authorities covering the matter of licenses and/or permits in their respective business area.

Employees in the Central Register are trained to direct newly registered companies to the appropriate licensing authorities.

Free Trade Agreements

Macedonia is a signatory of three multilateral Free Trade Agreements:

– SAA (Stabilization and Association Agreement) with the EU member-states
– EFTA (Switzerland, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein)
– CEFTA (Macedonia, Albania, Moldova, Serbia, Montenegro, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Kosovo)

Bilateral Free Trade Agreements are signed with Turkey and Ukraine.

Investment Protection Treaties

The Republic of Macedonia has signed investment protection treaties with the following countries: Albania, Serbia, Bulgaria, Turkey, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Slovenia, Romania, Austria, Germany, Switzerland, Netherlands, Belgium, France, Italy, Spain, Hungary, Czech Republic, Poland, Ukraine, Sweden, Finland, Russian Federation, People’s Republic of China, Malaysia, Republic of Korea, and India.

In the process of ratification are Agreements with: Arab Republic of Egypt, Iran, and Belarus. Negotiations with the following countries are complete, and the Agreements are to be signed as soon as possible: Greece, Great Britain, Uzbekistan, Denmark, Oman, Slovak Republic, and Kuwait.

Avoidance of Double Taxation

The Republic of Macedonia has signed agreements for avoidance of double taxation with the following countries: Albania, Austria, Belarus, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Denmark, Egypt, Estonia, Great Britain, Hungary, Iran, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Germany, Finland, France, Hungary, Morocco, Moldova, Netherlands, People’s Republic of China, Poland, Romania, Russian Federation, Slovakia, Slovenia, Ukraine, Taiwan-Republic of China, Turkey, and Qatar.