The Republic of Serbia adopted significant amendments to the Law on Foreigners and the Law on Employment of Foreigners on July 27, 2023. These changes are a crucial step towards aligning national legislation with the directives of the European Union. These amendments provide foreign nationals with a new, more efficient, and digitalized approach to obtaining residence and work permits, while also improving administrative efficiency and legal certainty.
Unified Procedure for Issuing Permits
The new laws introduce the concept of a unified procedure for issuing residence and work permits to foreign nationals. This means that foreigners no longer have to go through different procedures and visit various state bodies to obtain residence and work permits. Practically, this change not only simplifies the process for foreigners but also significantly reduces administrative costs and waiting time.
Digitalization of the Process
In line with the goals of digitalization, the Serbian Government has enabled all applications to be submitted electronically. This move simplifies the application process, making it accessible 24/7, without the need for physical presence in state institutions. This will especially benefit foreigners who are already in the country, as well as those planning to come to Serbia.
Horizontal Integration of Laws
The amendments to both laws allow for better coordination between the foreign employment system and the residence approval system. This means that the rules and procedures are aligned, making it easier for foreigners to understand and comply with the laws. It also helps employers to more easily hire foreign workers.
Approval of Temporary Residence up to Three Years
Previously, the maximum period for temporary residence approval was one year. With the new amendments, this period is extended to up to three years, providing greater flexibility and security for foreign nationals, especially those in Serbia for business or educational reasons.
With the introduction of biometric documents, Serbia aligns its standards with European security norms. Biometric documents reduce the risk of misuse and falsification of documents, increasing security for both foreigners and domestic citizens.
The amendments to the Law on Foreigners and the Law on Employment of Foreigners symbolize Serbia’s progress towards creating a more open, competitive labor market and compliance with European standards. These changes not only stimulate economic growth and development but also demonstrate Serbia’s commitment to strengthening legal certainty and administrative efficiency.