Serbia's immigration reforms. A leap towards efficiency
In the realm of global mobility, immigration and relocation of working professionals, Serbia is setting a new benchmark with its transformative immigration reforms. The key point of these changes, which comes into full effect on February 1st, 2024, lies in the introduction of the so called Single Permit. This approach is poised to streamline the process of obtaining residence and work permits, marking a substantial leap in administrative efficiency and reducing the need for physical presence in certain procedural steps.
Single Permit: a game-changer in 2024
The Single Permit is supposed to simplify the application process, allowing for online submissions even from outside Serbia. The Ministry of Interior Affairs, in collaboration with the National Employment Agency, will ensure a swift processing time of just 15 days. This permit not only eases the bureaucratic burden but also offers flexibility for foreigners to change employers or work types without altering their permit status.
The maximum duration of this permit is three years, with the option for renewal, embodying a significant shift towards a more inclusive and adaptable immigration system.
Enhanced work permit regulations
Addressing Assignment and Intra-company transfer work permits, the reforms extend their validity up to three years, with the possibility of a similar period extension. This change, effective from February 1st, 2024, aligns the rights and conditions of foreign assignees with those of Serbian nationals. It ensures that everyone gets fair pay, good working conditions, and other employment benefits.
The detailed requirements for an Assignment letter, effective from August 4th, 2023, standardize and clarify the expectations for these employment categories.
Assignment letter should be more comprehensive and include mandatory details, such as:• Period of the assignment• Place of work• Position • Work condition• Working hours • Annual leaves and other absences• Remuneration and the way how it is paid• Other compensations• Accommodation and meals allowances• Transportation allowances• Safety and health conditions
Broader implications for temporary residence and permanent residency
The reforms extend the validity of Temporary Residence Permits to a maximum of three years. This change aligns with the possibility to sign employment contracts that are either for an unlimited period or for several years.
Moreover, the path to Permanent Residency now requires only three years of continuous temporary residence (compared to the previous five-year requirement). This process, coupled with the right to work without a separate permit for permanent residents, significantly enhances Serbia's appeal as a destination for foreign professionals.
Inclusion of diverse foreign worker categories
The amendments also facilitate easier access to the labor market for foreigners holding Residence permits for various reasons, for example, property ownership, studying, and family reunion. It broadens the scope of eligible workers, addressing the country's skilled and semi-skilled workforce shortage.
Serbia's immigration reforms, particularly the introduction of the Single Permit, represent a forward-thinking approach to global mobility and labor market accessibility. These changes, based on an understanding of the complexities of international employment and the need for administrative efficiency, position Serbia as an increasingly attractive destination for foreign workers and investment.
To sum up, the anticipated improvements from February 1st, 2024, will not only reduce processing times and administrative workload but also enhance the overall experience for foreigners seeking to work and reside in Serbia.