AMENDMENTS TO THE LAW ON EMPLOYMENT OF FOREIGNERS
The Law on Employment of Foreigners was adopted at the end of 2014, but the most recent amendments of the said act has been issued in ,,Official Gazette RS’’ no. 62/23, which will start to apply on February 1st, 2024. Said amendments created a more efficient legislative framework for the implementation of the procedure of employment of foreigners in the Republic of Serbia.
With the Amendments to the Law on Employment of Foreigners, above all else, certain issues that we consider particularly important and to which we will pay special attention in the rest of this text have also been edited.
In the new system of employment of foreigners, the most important change is the introduction of a single procedure that replaces obtaining a temporary residence permit and a work permit in separate procedures, with the issuance of a single permit for foreigners, which is issued by the competent authority in accordance with the regulations.
The changes that will be introduced by the new Law refer to the fact that during the validity of the unique permit, a foreigner, i.e. an employer on behalf of a foreigner or a legal or individual authorized by a foreigner or an employer, can submit a request for a change in the basis of work, a change of employer or for employment with two or more employers, electronically, through the Unique web portal.
The previous practice opened certain issues and indicated the need to improve the Law from 2014, i.e. to specify certain provisions of the Law on the Employment of Foreigners, with the aim of simplifying the procedures for issuing work permits and simpler and easier application of regulations in practice.
The proposed legal solutions further simplify the procedure that enables a foreigner to be employed in the Republic of Serbia, i.e. the efficiency of this procedure is increased, so that the necessary permit will be obtained in a faster and simpler way, and the foreigner will be able to be employed in a very short period of time.
A significant novelty that will be introduced is a single procedure that results in the issuance of a unique permit (for temporary residence and work in the Republic of Serbia), which replaces obtaining a permit for temporary residence in the Republic of Serbia and a work permit, in separate procedures, since the authority for proceedings in this area are divided, and the Ministry of Internal Affairs – Directorate for Foreigners is responsible for regulating the stay of foreigners, while the National Employment Service is responsible for issuing work permits.
According to the latest amendments to the Law, the application for the issuance or extension of a unique permit is submitted by a foreigner, an employer on behalf of a foreigner, or a person authorized by them, electronically, through a unique web portal. In the process of issuing a single permit, the National Employment Service assesses the fulfillment of the conditions, which performs these tasks as entrusted. Evidence necessary to assess the fulfillment of the conditions for issuing a single permit, the applicant for the issuance of a single permit submits electronically, also through the mentioned single web portal, within the service intended for issuing a unique permit to a foreigner, in the manner and in accordance with the instructions for using the service intended for issuing a unique permit to a foreigner.
A temporary residence permit, i.e. a unique permit, will be issued in the form of a card, on a form with personalized data on the type of permit (Biometric Personalized Document) with all the necessary data (photo, fingerprint, signature).
Amendments to already issued Unique Permits
The latest amendments to the Law on the Employment of Foreigners eased the process of changing the employer or basis of work from the already issued unique permit, and during the same period.
The new legal solution foresees an easier way to change the above-mentioned data, so that from February 1st, 2024, the applicant has the possibility, to change the employer or to establish an employment relationship with two or more employers or to change the basis of work, through the unique web portal by submiting a request to change the mentioned data directly to the National Employment Service, which must decide on the request within 10 days from the day of receipt of the proper request and deliver the consent to the applicant through the Unique Portal. A foreigner can change the basis of work, employer, or can be employed by two or more employers, upon obtaining the aforementioned consent.
Right to work without issued unique permit
The amendments to the law clearly established that certain categories of foreigners can work in Serbia without a unique work permit.
This includes categories of foreigners who already have an approved temporary residence, on one of the legally prescribed grounds, without a work permit.
Right to work in Republic of Serbia, without issued unique permit also has a foreigner:
1) who has been granted permanent residence;
2) who has been granted asylum, or temporary protection;
3) who is an asylum seeker, and who, within a period of six months after submitting an asylum application, a decision on that application was not made through without his fault;
4) who is entitled to privileges and immunities in accordance with ratified international treaties;
5) who is a member of the family of a member of a diplomatic consular representation with which the Republic has concluded a bilateral agreement enabling the person to perform paid activities in the Republic;
6) who is a crew member of a foreign ship, i.e. aircraft, or performs work in road or rail transport and is employed by a foreign employer;
7) who is a member of the rescue unit that provides assistance in eliminating the consequences of accidents and natural disasters, as well as humanitarian aid cases;
8) who, on the basis of contracts concluded between authorities responsible for defense or internal affairs, performs tasks of interest to the Republic of Serbia or for the needs of the country’s defense or security, or improves in these areas.
Also, a foreigner whose stay in the Republic of Serbia does not last longer than 90 days in a period of 180 days counting from the day of first entry, i.e. longer than the prescribed period of stay in accordance with the international agreement, exercises the right to work in the Republic of Serbia during the specified period without a unique permit being issued and a foreigner who:
1) is the owner, founder, representative or member of a legal entity registered in the Republic, who is not employed in that legal entity;
2) resides for the purpose of establishing business contacts or attending meetings and who, without generating income in the Republic, performs other business activities related to the preparation of a foreign employer to establish a presence and start working in the Republic of Serbia;
3) is a lecturer or researcher who participates in organized professional gatherings or research projects or performs work aimed at presenting or implementing various scientific and technical achievements, as well as his supporting staff;
4) performs temporary educational, sports, artistic, cultural and other similar activities or attends a scientific, artistic, cultural or sporting event in the Republic of Serbia organized by authorized organizations, state bodies or bodies of autonomous provinces and local self-government units, as well as accompanying organizational and technical staff;
5) is a designated person who performs work in the Republic of Serbia on the basis of a contract for the purchase of goods, the purchase or rental of machines or equipment, their delivery, installation, assembly, repair or training for working on these machines or equipment;
6) resides independently or for the needs of a foreign employer in the Republic for the purpose of equipping and exhibiting equipment and exhibits at trade and other fairs and exhibitions.
Unique permit for self-employment
The assessment for self-employment is carried out based on the assessment of the fulfillment of the conditions regarding the appropriate qualifications of the foreigner for the performance of a specific activity, i.e. regarding the structure of the person who plans to employ, i.e. hire.
Also, a foreigner who receives a single permit for self-employment is obliged to start performing the activity within 90 days from the day of obtaining it.