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Temporary Residence and Work Permit – All at One Place

01/04/2024

The long-awaited provision of the Law on Foreigners (hereinafter: the Law), which prescribes a submission of requests for the issuance of the unified permit for residing and working in Serbia, began being implemented from February 1, 2024.

Up until 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 than the last one, has prescribed separate procedures for obtaining these permits. However, although separate, these steps were interdependent, which confused many of our clients who could not figure out which action should be taken at what time. Even if they would undertake the right one, the deciding period, from the moment of submitting the request, till the issuance of the permit, would last for months.

Since particular shortcomings were recognized in the previous Law, first 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 was enabled.

Now, new amendments have been introduced, which have been in effect since February 2024. The old-fashioned existence of two separate permit, and two separate procedures has been replaced by the application for the issuance of the unified permit. The only way to submit the request for the issuance of the unified permit is electronically.

The unified permit encompasses both the temporary residence permit and the work permit for foreigners. This unified procedure significantly simplifies the process of obtaining permits necessary for any foreigner intending to reside and work in Serbia.

Following the adoption of the appropriate sublegal act by the relevant ministry, all conditions for the implementation of this provision have been met. Therefore, starting from February 1, the procedure for submitting the unified application for issuing the unified Permit has been 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 that 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 Ministry of Interior, the competent Department for Foreigners is still authorized to check whether all conditions related to legal stay on the territory of the Republic of Serbia are met. On the other hand the National Bureau of Employment is in charge of the issuance of its consent for the issuance of the unified permit, in case the applicant fulfills all conditions from the employment law side . However, by this regulation, the cooperation of these authorities in the process of immigration is regulated, and it should be at the highest level, to ensure the efficient work.

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 this new procedure will yield in practice, i.e., whether their implementation will truly be simple and efficient as it seems at first glance.

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