In a groundbreaking session held on March 30, 2023, the Government of the Republic of Serbia approved the Draft Law on Amendments to the Law on Foreigners (“New Law on Foreigners“) and the Draft Law on Amendments to the Law on Employment of Residents (“New Law on Employment of Foreigners“). These new regulations are set to bring a host of privileges and streamlined procedures for foreign nationals planning to work and reside in Serbia, commencing in 2024.
The overarching goals of these new regulations include:
- Shortening of administrative procedures: With a commitment to efficiency, administrative processes will be simplified, making it easier for foreigners to navigate the system.
- Greater responsibility of the caller: The new laws will enforce more accountability on the inviting party, ensuring foreign citizens receive proper support and guidance during their stay in Serbia.
- Liberalization of foreign citizens’ arrival: The regulations aim to facilitate the entry of foreign citizens into Serbia, promoting cultural exchange and economic growth.
- Stricter control of entry from high-risk countries: To ensure national security, the regulations will implement stringent measures for citizens entering Serbia from countries with increased risk factors.
- Permits in the form of a biometric document: Introducing modern biometric documents will enhance security and ease the process of obtaining permits.
- Single Permit: The innovative “Single Permit” will combine a work permit and a temporary residence permit within the territory of the Republic of Serbia. This unified permit can be electronically requested from the Ministry of Internal Affairs, with a prompt response time of 15 days. Notably, employers can also apply for this permit on behalf of their foreign workers. The Single Permit will be valid for up to 3 years and is extendable for the same period. It encompasses employment, self-employment, and special employment cases, as per the regulations governing foreign employment.
- Biometric Document: Replacing the traditional “sticker” of temporary residence, the new law introduces a special biometric document that consolidates the work permit and the temporary residence permit. This secure document streamlines the immigration process and provides convenience to foreign nationals.
- Extended Temporary Residence: The amendments allow for temporary residence to be granted for a duration of up to 3 years, making it easier for foreign nationals to establish their life in Serbia without constant renewals.
- Accelerated Permanent Residence: Foreigners can now obtain permanent residence after just 3 years of continuous residency in Serbia, compared to the previous requirement of 5 years.
- Visa D Benefits: For foreign citizens needing a visa D to work and reside in Serbia, the visa will now serve as the basis for a period of 180 days, eliminating the need for additional procedures. Additionally, those not requiring a visa can apply for temporary residence from abroad.
- Obligations of the Carrier/Caller: The amended laws introduce a significant change in the responsibilities of organizers and callers. If a foreigner illegally resides in Serbia due to the negligence of the organizer or caller, they will share the costs of their stay and eventual removal.
- Tougher Fines: To maintain strict compliance with the regulations, the New Law on Foreigners imposes more severe fines for illegal stays.
The introduction of the New Law on Foreigners and the New Law on Employment of Foreigners marks a significant milestone in the immigration landscape of Serbia. These regulations are expected to eliminate ambiguities, streamline procedures, ease the entry of foreign nationals, and impose stronger penalties for non-compliance.
PS. The implementation of these laws is anticipated to begin in March 2024, revolutionizing the experience of working and residing in Serbia for foreign citizens. Stay informed and prepared to benefit from the privileges and advancements brought about by these groundbreaking regulations.
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