20
Mon, May
56 New Articles

Amendments to the Law on Foreigners and the Law on Employment of Foreigners

Amendments to the Law on Foreigners and the Law on Employment of Foreigners

Serbia
Tools
Typography
  • Smaller Small Medium Big Bigger
  • Default Helvetica Segoe Georgia Times

To facilitate easier obtaining of residence and work permits, due to the increasing influx of foreigners coming to live and work in the Republic of Serbia, new amendments were made to the Law on Foreigners and the Law on Employment of Foreigners in 2023. As a result of these legal amendments, there was a need to adopt new bylaws that would comply with the latest changes.

Accordingly, at the beginning of this year, the Government of the Republic of Serbia adopted 4 new rulebooks for this purpose, namely: The Rulebook on Granting Permanent Residence (which entered into force on 05.02.2024), as well as the Rulebook on Granting Temporary Residence, the Rulebook on Issuing a Single Permit for Temporary Residence and Work of Foreigners, and the Rulebook on Submitting Applications for Permanent Residence Electronically, which entered into force on 01.02.2024.

Rulebook on Granting Permanent Residence

Key contributions of this rulebook are regulating the new categories of foreigners who can be granted permanent residence, namely:

Foreigner on the basis of long-term stay in the Republic of Serbia

Unlike previous provisions of the Law on Foreigners where a foreigner had to reside for 5 years on the basis of temporary residence to apply for permanent residence approval, now a foreigner only needs to reside continuously for 3 years on the basis of temporary residence or a single permit to be able to submit such a request. The foreigner must submit the request for permanent residence approval at the earliest 60 days before the expiry of the 3-year period and at the latest by the expiry of their temporary residence. In addition to meeting the residence duration in Serbia, the foreigner must submit evidence based on which their previous temporary residence or single permit was issued.

Special categories of foreigners who can be granted residence regardless of meeting the duration of stay requirement:

  1. Minor foreigner if one of the parents is a citizen of the Republic of Serbia or a foreigner granted permanent residence.

With the latest amendment to the Law on Foreigners and the new rulebook, a minor foreigner whose one parent is a citizen of the Republic of Serbia or a foreigner granted permanent residence can now be granted permanent residence. 

For minors, it is required to obtain a birth certificate proving kinship with the person who is a citizen of the Republic of Serbia or a foreigner granted permanent residence. When submitting the request, the presence of both parents or certified consent of the other parent is needed if they cannot be present, except in exceptionally justified situations stipulated by the rulebook (e.g. by a final court decision, the child is entrusted to the care of the parent submitting the request for permanent residence approval for the minor, or the other parent is deprived of legal capacity). In such cases, the consent of the other parent is not required.

  1. Foreigner originating from the Republic of Serbia and a foreigner of Serbian origin.

A foreigner of Serbian origin, when submitting the request, provides a domestic or foreign public document having the force of a domestic public document, or a baptismal certificate from the Serbian Orthodox Church, proving their Serbian origin. A foreigner originating from the Republic of Serbia proves the justification of their request with their own birth certificate or the birth certificate of one of their parents.

Foreigner continuously residing in the territory of Serbia for more than 3 years on the basis of granted asylum

The rulebook also provides facilitations for foreigners granted asylum rights regarding the submission of requests for permanent residence approval. Specifically, in order to facilitate their path to obtaining permits given their life situations, the rulebook stipulates that a foreigner granted asylum rights does not need to submit a copy of their ID card and passport, in case they were unable to obtain them for justified reasons (e.g. war in the foreigner's country of origin). Thus, a foreigner granted asylum rights only needs to submit the decision granting them asylum and a copy of their ID card when applying for permanent residence approval.

Rulebook on Approving Temporary Residence

Introduction

The new Rulebook on Approving Temporary Residence further regulates the latest amendments to the Law on Foreigners, primarily regarding the submission of requests for issuing temporary residence permits and obtaining these permits electronically. Namely, from 01.02.2024, all requests for temporary residence, as well as requests for obtaining a single permit for temporary residence and work by a foreigner, will now be submitted exclusively through the internet platform - Portal for Foreigners (portal link: livinginserbia.gov.rs ). If all necessary conditions are met, the temporary residence permit is issued for a period of up to 3 years, with the possibility of extension for another 3 years.

Additionally, it is noteworthy that foreigners are now allowed to submit when applying from abroad, either a real estate lease agreement or a statement of intended residence address as proof of having a residence address.

Grounds for Submitting the Request

The mentioned rulebook stipulates that a foreigner submits a request for temporary residence approval in accordance with the provisions of the Law on Foreigners, on the following grounds:

  • Special forms of employment;
  • Education or learning the Serbian language;
  • Studying;
  • Participating in international student exchange programs;
  • Scientific research or other scientific educational activities;
  • Family reunification;
  • Performing religious service;
  • Medical treatment or care;
  • Real estate ownership;
  • Humanitarian residence.

With the adoption of the new Rulebook on Issuing a Single Permit for Temporary Residence and Work of Foreigners, in case employment is the basis for issuing a temporary residence permit, a single permit for both temporary residence and work of the foreigner is now issued.

Furthermore, the rulebook stipulates the conditions, or evidence, that must be obtained for a foreigner to be issued a temporary residence permit on the mentioned grounds envisaged by this rulebook.

Novelties Regarding Special Forms of Employment

The mentioned rulebook also importantly regulates in more detail which forms of employment are considered special forms of employment. The rulebook stipulates that special forms of employment are:

  • Performing duties of an accredited foreign journalist;
  • Volunteering;
  • Expert on a project in cooperation with state authorities of the Republic of Serbia;
  • Realization of an audiovisual work, i.e. a foreigner engaged in the realization of an audiovisual work;
  • Performing seasonal jobs.

While the first three grounds were envisaged by the previous rulebook, now foreigners participating in the realization of audiovisual work in the territory of the Republic of Serbia, i.e. members of acting and creative teams, as well as persons performing seasonal jobs, must obtain temporary residence approval on this basis.

  • Foreigner participating in the realization of an audiovisual work

In order for a foreigner to obtain a temporary residence permit on this basis, in addition to the general conditions for obtaining a residence permit, they need to provide additional evidence in the form of:

  1. A business cooperation agreement concluded between a domestic and a foreign business entity;
  2. A confirmation issued by a business entity from the Republic of Serbia;
  3. A confirmation of engagement of the foreigner, issued by the foreign business entity, stating the period of engagement.
  4. Foreigner performing seasonal jobs

For a foreigner to be able to perform seasonal jobs, they need to submit an offer that must contain information about the employer, information about the type of work the foreigner will perform, and information about the working conditions (this includes: wage amount, duration of daily and weekly rest, accommodation and food conditions). If all necessary conditions are met, the temporary residence is issued for a period that cannot exceed 120 days in one calendar year.

Rulebook on Issuing a Single Permit for Temporary Residence and Work of Foreigners

Introduction

The essence of the new Rulebook on Issuing a Single Permit for Temporary Residence and Work of Foreigners is to facilitate an easier and faster procedure for obtaining a single permit. Namely, the provisions of this rulebook further regulate the conditions that a foreigner must meet, as well as the stages of the procedure for the person to obtain a single permit. If all necessary conditions are met, the single permit is issued for a period of up to 3 years, with the possibility of extension for another 3 years.

Novelties Regarding the Method of Collecting Required Documentation, as well as Submitting the Request for Conducting the Labor Market Test and the Decision Deadline

The mentioned rulebook introduces novelties regarding the conducting of the labor market test, as well as the method of submitting evidence for issuing a single permit. Specifically, now the employer or a legal or natural person authorized by them submits the request to the National Employment Service for conducting the labor market test in electronic form either within the Portal for Foreigners or within the E-Government portal. Unlike before, when the request was submitted to the National Employment Service, now the request, with all necessary documents, is submitted electronically, which greatly facilitates the process.

The request for conducting the labor market test can be submitted no earlier than 60 days before submitting the request, and no later than the day of submitting the request for issuing a single permit. Unlike before, when the National Employment Service had a deadline of 10 days from the initiation of the procedure for conducting the labor market test to prepare a report on the realization of the employment need, this deadline has now been reduced to 4 days for preparing the said report. After deciding on the request, the National Employment Service provides an ID number that is later entered in the corresponding field on the request for issuing a single permit.

Method of Submitting the Request for Obtaining a Single Permit and Deadline for Decision on the Request

The novelty of this rulebook is that the request for obtaining and extending the single permit will be submitted exclusively electronically through the internet platform Portal for Foreigners (portal link: livinginserbia.gov.rs). The request for issuing or extending the single permit can be submitted by the foreigner, the employer on behalf of the foreigner, or a person authorized by them. It should be emphasized that if the foreigner independently submits the request for issuing a single permit, they would have to obtain the ID number from their employer, which the employer obtained based on the conducted labor market test procedure since the foreigner cannot independently conduct this procedure.

Upon submitting the request, the Foreigners Administration decides on it within 15 days from the date of submission.

One of the key advantages of this method of submitting the request is that the foreigner can now submit the request for issuing a single permit from abroad.

Grounds for Submitting the Request

The Law on Employment of Foreigners and this rulebook stipulate the grounds for employment of a foreigner. While employment based on an employment contract or another contract realizing labor rights is the primary ground for employment, the special grounds for employment in accordance with the Law on Employment of Foreigners and this rulebook are:

  • Posted worker;
  • Intra-corporate transfer;
  • Independent professional;
  • Training and professional development;
  • Self-employment.

It should be noted that regarding most of these grounds, there has been no change in terms of the evidence to be submitted, except for the intra-corporate transfer ground, where it is stipulated what else needs to be submitted in addition.

The rulebook for this ground provides a novelty regarding the evidence that must be submitted. In addition to the previously required conditions:

  • An act of the employer and the foreign employer on assigning the foreigner to the Republic of Serbia;
  • An act of the foreign employer or a certificate of employment, i.e. work engagement of the foreigner in positions of manager, specialist or trainee;
  • A statement from the employer and the foreign employer that the foreigner will return to work for the foreign employer after the assignment period;

It is now also required to provide proof that the employer is registered in the Republic of Serbia as a dependent company of a business entity registered abroad, i.e. evidence of the connection between the employer and the foreign employer from which the foreigner is being assigned.

By Marko Mrdja, Senior Associate, and Dimitrije Stepanovic, Associate, JPM & Partners

Serbia Knowledge Partner

SOG in cooperation with Kinstellar is a full-service business law firm in Serbia that provides foreign and domestic clients with premium-quality legal advice and assistance across a wide range of key areas of corporate law. The firm was founded in 2015 by a group of seasoned, internationally-trained lawyers. SOG has developed a distinctively dynamic culture, bringing together top talent, fostering entrepreneurship, and maintaining exceptional relationships with its clients.

SOG has achieved consistent growth in the volume of its business, accompanied by an exponential increase in the number of hired associate lawyers and the firm’s network of business contacts. SOG has a robust client base of multinationals, investment and private equity firms, and financial institutions. Clients praise SOG for being commercially minded, very responsive and knowledgeable.

Establishing permanent cooperation with Kinstellar is part of realising SOG's long-term development strategy to be the leading provider of legal services in the Western Balkans market.

Firm's website: https://www.kinstellar.com/

 

Our Latest Issue