The long-awaited provision of the Law on Foreigners (hereinafter: the Law), which prescribes a joint submitting of requests for temporary residence and work permit began being implemented from December 1, 2020.
Up till May 2019, the Law stated that a foreigner must obtain a temporary residence permit first, and only then submit their request for the issuance of a work permit. This Law, although much more progressive at certain points from the last one, has prescribed separate procedures for obtaining these permits. However, although separate, these steps were interdependent, which had confused many of our clients who couldn’t figure out which action should be taken at what time.
Since particular shortcomings were recognized in the previous Law, changes were made to this Law in 2019, when the provision was introduced by which submitting a joint request for temporary residence and work permit were enabled. Still, the start of the implementation of this provision was delayed until December 1, 2020.
Now, after the competent Ministry has passed the adequate bylaw, all the conditions for the implementation of this provision are fulfilled, so starting from December 1, the procedure of submitting a joint request for temporary residence and work permit is regulated.
Having in mind that earlier, there were two procedures, and the authorities sometimes took two months before making a decision, this change will make the procedure significantly more efficient, and will allow employers to hire foreigners much faster than before. This is a truly huge advantage, having in mind that there are foreigners who are skilled and knowledgeable in the fields necessary not only for employers but also for the Republic of Serbia. Also, this makes the procedure of coming to the Republic of Serbia and forming a company with foreign capital, and the business of companies who have foreign managing directors much easier.
In this way, the intended cooperation and information exchange between state authorities is achieved, as well as the goal for foreigners to easily exercise their rights, and to simplify these procedures. So, the Police Department, and the Department for Foreigners are still authorized to approve residence on the territory of the Republic of Serbia, and the National Employment Service is still authorized for the work permits. However, by this regulation, the cooperation of these authorities in the process of immigration is regulated.
This great news will surely be delightful for numerous foreigners who are coming to Serbia for employment purposes. What is left to be seen is what results will this new procedure yield in practice, i.e. whether their implementation will truly be simple and efficient as it seems at first glance.