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The Amended Law on Foreigners and Their Employment Enters Into Force

Jelena Plamenac • feb 6, 2024

The Amended Law on Foreigners and Their Employment Enters Into Force

Secondary regulations required for the full implementation of amendments to the Law on Foreign Nationals and Law on Employment of Foreign Nationals were published on 1 February after a protracted adoption procedure. This article outlines the changes introduced by the byelaws.

  1. According to the Regulation on the issuance of the single residence and work permit for foreign nationals, these permits can be issued only online via the new Foreign Nationals Portal, which also became operational on 1 February.

This online procedure applies to all work permits for both employees and self-employed persons, including in cases of secondment, assignment within the same company, independent professionals, and trainees and interns.

Previously, prospective foreign hires could only receive permits if they passed the ‘labour market test’ (meaning the employer had to prove it had unsuccessfully searched for national workers prior to looking for staff abroad). The new rules no longer require this test to be passed before a permit is issued; a filing number for an application for the test is now sufficient (with the application having to be lodged previously by the employer or an authorised person). In addition, persons applying for temporary residency on grounds of employment will no longer be required to provide proof of health insurance or assets sufficient to meet their needs during their stay in Serbia.

A fee of 22,790 dinars is payable for the single residence and work permit.

Each permit will remain valid for three years. For the duration of this period, the foreign national or their employer, or an authorised person of the employer, may apply for a change of grounds for the work permit, change of employer, or employment with two or more employers. Any of these applications must be made online using the Foreign Nationals Portal.

  1. The Regulation on online application for permanent residency now introduces the option of using the Foreign Nationals Portal to lodge permanent residency applications.
  2. The Regulation on the approval of permanent residency stipulates that permanent residency may be granted to persons who have legally lived in Serbia for more than three years. Significantly, this is the first time that persons who have been granted asylum in Serbia will be able to receive permanent residency.

The most liberal change is the removal of mandatory work permits for persons who have temporary residency in Serbia by virtue of property ownership or those granted family reunion visas to join persons who already hold single permits in Serbia. These individuals will be able to work in Serbia as temporary residents, without themselves having to obtain single residence and work permits or undergo the labour market test.