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Open Balkans Unified Labor Market and Some Insights in Foreigners’ Procedures

Open Balkans Unified Labor Market and Some Insights in Foreigners’ Procedures

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The Single Open Balkans Labor Market, comprised of Serbia, Albania, and North Macedonia, has commenced on Friday, March 1. This means that all citizens of the mentioned countries will be able to obtain employment in any of the countries within this initiative through the simplest procedure possible.

Citizens of Serbia, Albania, and North Macedonia who wish to work in any of the member states of the Open Balkans or have already found an employer need to obtain an ID number by registering electronically in a few simple steps.

  • This entails completing a form on the platform (eGovernment) and attaching a valid biometric document. Based on the provided data, the competent authorities in the country of residence generate a unique Open Balkans Identification Number, through the eGovernment platform. Subsequently, the interested individual can access the eGovernment portal of the destination country and submit a request for free access to the labour market. The destination country then makes the final decision after verification.
  • Upon receiving approval, the interested individual can be employed under the same conditions as a local citizen of the country for up to two years.

Electronic services for registering workers on this market will become available to citizens during the next week, and the eGovernment portals of the three countries will be interconnected.

Continuing with the theme of digitalization of foreigner’s procedures and laws, we would like to stress out the following innovations regarding the new portal “Welcome to Serbia”.

NEW LAWS REGARDING FOREIGNERS - APPLICATION IN PRACTISE 

As widely recognized, effective February 1 of the present year, the new legislation comprising the Law on Foreigners and the Law on Employment of Foreigners has been fully enacted. Consequently, the eagerly anticipated portal "Welcome to Serbia" has commenced its operational activities.

Having in mind that the process of submitting requests for various permits and visa types has become compulsory in electronic format on the aforementioned portal, the initial encounters with the portal's functionality as the exclusive channel for request submissions are outlined as follows.

1. Portal is overbooked during the day

Considering the number of requests for permits and visas, submission is restricted during the day. As the government improves the portal and the request number decreases, submissions should start working normally. As of right now the portal most commonly is working in the latter hours of the day.

2. Account creation can be with problems

After a foreigner or an employer finished the registration of account, a message appears stating that “to complete the registration you need to confirm your email address within 24 hours by clicking the confirm button in the email. After confirming your email address, you will receive another email as confirmation that your account is active, latest within 48 hours”, but in some cases the confirmation email does not appear in the stated hours, in which case you should try making more accounts until its fully registered.

3. Certain options mandatory for submission are not fully operational

For example, when applying for unified permit, it is mandatory to “chose” from the falling – down menu in which position the foreigner will work in RS. But when inspecting the list, it is not uncommon that you cannot find your work position. In this situation the Office for IT and e-Government suggest that a foreigner should mark the most similar work position offered in the list.

As the time progresses, we are positive all of the simple problems and bugs will be fully operational. We hope that this text can help you with improving your experience with future submissions.

By Nenad Cvjeticanin, Partner, Cvjeticanin & Partners

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