Serbia activates temporary protection for displaced persons fleeing Ukraine

On 17 March 2022, the Government of Serbia adopted the Decision on the Temporary Protection in the Republic of Serbia of Displaced Persons from Ukraine (available in Serbian here). The decision was published on 18 March 2022, and it entered into force on 19 March 2022.

According to the Asylum and Temporary Protection Act (Official Gazzete No. 24/2018), the Government can activate the temporary protection regime in the event of mass influx of displaced persons who are unable to return to the country of origin or usual residence, if there is a risk of impediment to the processing of individual asylum claims. The regime is similar to the one existing in the EU, which has also been activated due to the Ukrainian crisis.

The Serbian decision extends temporary protection to:

  • citizens of Ukraine and their family members who have stayed there;
  • asylum seekers, stateless persons and foreigners who had their protection granted in Ukraine and their family members who had their stay in Ukraine approved;
  • foreigners who had lawfully resided or stayed in Ukraine and who cannot return to the country of origin due to lasting and long-term circumstances;
  • citizens of Ukraine and their family members who had lawfully stayed in Serbia at the time of the decision’s adoption, but whose right of stay lapses before the decision’s repeal.

Each person falling within these categories will be registered and should obtain an individual decision on the approval of temporary protection.

The Asylum and Temporary Protection Act grants the persons enjoying the temporary protection status, among others, the right of residence for the duration of temporary protection, the access to healthcare, employment, education, and accommodation.

The decision specifies that temporary protection is activated for the period of one year, which is the maximum allowed by the Act.