Serbia relaxes the procedures for employment of foreigners

Modern business transcends national borders and increasing workforce mobility is a natural consequence. While the conditions for working in Serbia remain the same, the recently adopted amendments to two Serbian statutes regulating employment of foreigners make the procedures applicable to obtaining work permits in Serbia easier.

Under the current regime, foreigner must first obtain temporary/permanent residence in Serbia before he/she can apply for a work permit. The new amendments allow foreigners to apply, starting from 1 January 2020, for employment permit, secondment permit, intra-group secondment permit and work permit for self-employed professionals solely on the basis of work visa (“type D” visa), without having to wait for temporary residence permit. These work permits may be issued for the maximum period of 180 days, which corresponds to the period of validity of the D-type visa. If the foreigner intends to extend the relevant permit’s validity beyond the 180-day limit, he/she would have to apply for temporary residence permit first.

Furthermore, it will be possible for Serbian employer to apply for work permit on behalf of the foreign employee while the procedure for obtaining type D visa is pending with the Serbian embassy or consulate in the employee’s country. In this manner, the employers will be able to obtain the requisite work permit on behalf of the foreigner before the employee arrives to Serbia.

It will also be possible for foreigners to apply for a temporary residence electronically, which we enable candidates to apply from abroad.

Starting from 1 December 2020, it will be possible to file an electronic application for both temporary residence permit and work permit at one stop-shop, which is the National Employment Service (NES).

General secondment and intra-group secondment work permits are subject to the opinion and consent of the competent Serbian ministries. This remains so even after the amendments, but the procedure is made simpler in that it will be the responsibility of NES, rather than the employer, to obtain such opinion and consent.

The deadline for the filing of an application for extension of secondment permit will be no later than 60 days prior to the expiration of the relevant work permit. So far, it has been possible to file for extension at any time until the permit has expired.