Caution! If You Are Hiring a Foreigner, You Must Know These Two Things

It is a well-known fact that hiring foreign workers is not a simple process, unlike hiring workers who come from our country. Nevertheless, this procedure is worth the effort, considering the significant advantages that bringing in people with diverse experiences and knowledge, which are not available in the labor market in our country, can have for your team. Therefore, in the following text, we will draw your attention to the things you must know before you decide to take this step.

In order for you to be able to employ a foreign worker, it is necessary that that person obtains a temporary residence permit in the Republic of Serbia and a work permit to work for a specific employer.


As a prerequisite for obtaining a work permit, it is necessary for the foreign worker to be granted a temporary stay on the basis of employment or at least a visa for a longer stay on the same basis (visa D). Temporary residence is a residence permit for a foreigner in the Republic of Serbia and can be granted to a foreigner who intends to stay in the Republic of Serbia for longer than 90 days on one of the prescribed grounds – in this case, on the basis of employment.

The request for approval of temporary residence, together with accompanying documentation, is submitted to the competent police department, or electronically, through the eUprava portal. Temporary residence based on employment is approved for up to one year and can be extended for the same period of validity if there is still a reason or basis for granting temporary residence.

The duration of the temporary stay is important because it determines the duration of the work permit.

A foreigner who needs a visa to enter the Republic of Serbia, and who plans to apply for a temporary residence permit based on employment, must first obtain a D visa on the same basis (not any other visa). Visas are issued by our diplomatic and consular missions in foreign countries, with the fact that the request for issuance can also be submitted through the eUprava portal.

Besides obtaining a D visa for these persons is a prerequisite for submitting a request for temporary residence, it also gives them the right to employment. This means that a foreigner can obtain a work permit only on the basis of holding a D visa, without holding a temporary residence permit. Although at first glance this seems like a simpler way of obtaining a work permit, keep in mind that a work permit issued in this way can last as long as the D visa itself, i.e. a maximum of 180 days, and if a foreigner needs to stay and work in the Republic of Serbia for a longer period, he must obtain a temporary residence permit after the expiration of the D visa.


In order to employ a foreign worker, it is necessary for that person to obtain a work permit. A work permit is a type of permit for work and is issued as a work permit for:

  • Employment – when you conclude an employment contract with a foreign worker or another contract by which that person exercises rights based on work without establishing an employment relationship;
  • Special cases of employment – for referred persons, movement within the company, independent professionals, training and improvement;
  • Self-employment – ​​for a foreign worker who is employed in a business entity, or another form of activity, in which he is the sole or controlling member.

The type of work permit also determines the procedure for its issuance. In the case of a work permit for employment and special cases of employment, you, as the employer, and not a foreigner, submit the request for issuance, along with accompanying documentation. Therefore, you also bear the costs of issuing this permit.

The National Employment Service (“NES”) decides on the application for the issuance of a work permit. As a rule, this request is submitted together with the request for approval of temporary residence to the competent police department, which makes this procedure much easier. However, after the initial submission of the unified request, the procedures will be conducted separately, and it will be necessary to communicate with both authorities.

Also, no later than 10 days before submitting a request for a work permit for employment. you will have to go through the so-called “labor market test” conducted by the NES. Market testing is looking for a suitable candidate for employment among the persons who are on the unemployment register maintained by this service. If such a person exists, they are given priority over a foreigner who wants to be employed, and you will be obliged to take them into consideration (e.g. interview them). However, if during the hiring process you find that a foreign worker is more suitable to your needs, you are free to decide to hire them – provided that in that case you are obliged to explain such a decision in your response to the report. After receiving a response to the report, the NES issues a certificate by which it approves or disapproves the employment of a foreign worker.

P.S. Considering the complexity and variability of this procedure, consider hiring professional help if you plan to hire a foreigner. This is the only way you can safely prevent possible mistakes on the way to the work permit.

For more information on this or any other legal, tax, or business topic, feel free to write to us at [email protected] at any time or call us at phone number +381113281914 every working day from 08:30 to 16:30

Information contained in this alert is for the general education and knowledge of our readers. It is not designed to be, and should not be used as, the sole source of information when analysing and resolving a legal problem, and it should not be substituted for legal advice, which relies on a specific factual analysis. Moreover, the laws of each jurisdiction are different and are constantly changing. This information is not intended to create, and receipt of it does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship. If you have specific questions regarding a particular fact situation, we urge you to consult the authors of this publication, your AK STATT representative or other competent legal counsel.

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