New rules for temporary residence and work permit

One stop shop for temporary residence and work permit

The Serbian Law on Foreigners prescribes the possibility of submitting a joint request by which a foreigner in the Republic of Serbia can obtain a temporary residence and work permit.

As of November 28, 2020, the Rulebook on the Joint Request for Approval, i.e. Extension of Temporary Residence and Issuance of a Work Permit to a Foreigner (“Official Gazette of the RS”, No. 144/2020 of November 27, 2020, hereinafter the “Rulebook“) entered into force, which specifies the conditions for the application of the said legal rule.

The Rulebook introduces a unique administrative place for submitting a joint request, a form and evidence required for a residence permit or issuance of a work permit which creates the conditions for speeding up and simplifying the administrative procedure.

All the grounds and reasons for temporary residence and the types of work permits for which it is possible to submit a joint application following the said regulation are given in the attachments to the integrated application form. In addition to the grounds for residence and the type of work permit, the attachments also list the documentation submitted for a certain type of work permit.

Each attachment contains:

  1. The list of evidence required for the temporary residence permit submitted by the foreigner when applying for a residence permit, which is unchanged in relation to the current regulations and practice. Evidence required only for temporary residence is marked with one asterisk (*). The prescribed evidence is submitted by the foreigner when submitting a joint request to the regional police administration, the Foreigners Directorate / Department / Foreigners Department and the suppression of irregular migration;
  2. List of evidence required to issue a work permit submitted by the employer or a foreigner (in the case of an application for a personal work permit, work permit for self-employment, work permits for training and specialization – in which case the application is submitted by a foreigner, which is explicitly stated). This evidence, marked with two asterisks (**) is attached to the National Employment Service electronically;
  3. Evidence marked with three asterisks (***) shall be submitted by the foreigner in the procedure for granting temporary residence and by the foreigner/employer in the procedure for issuing a work permit.

Having in mind the provisions of the valid Law on Foreigners and the Law on Employment of Foreigners, the procedures for granting temporary residence and issuing a work permit are still formally legally separated and each body resolves the request within its competencies prescribed by substantive law.

The competent authority defined as a unique administrative place or the body receiving the joint request is the Regional Police Administration, the Directorate for Foreigners / Sector / Department for Foreigners and the Suppression of Irregular Migration, which is stated in the upper right corner of the application form.

When the National Employment Service receives a joint request from the Ministry of the Interior, the employer/foreigner is obliged to submit the necessary documentation for the issuance of a work permit to the e-mail address of the branch to which the request was forwarded. Documentation can also be submitted by mail or handed in at the office.

We emphasize once again that following the valid Law on Foreigners and the Law on Employment of Foreigners, after submitting a joint request, a joint residence and work permit will not be issued, but as before, each body will make a decision within its competencies.

Regarding administrative fees, the amount and method of payment remain unchanged, so that the applicant pays separate fees and attaches proof of payment to the said bodies – the Ministry of the Interior with a joint request, and the National Employment Service electronically.

We will take as an example the submission of a joint request in the case where a foreigner is the founder of a company in the Republic of Serbia:

When applying for a temporary residence permit on the grounds of “registration in the decision on the establishment” and “work permit for self-employment”, the following is obtained, i.e. the foreigner and the employer attach:

  • a valid foreigner’s travel document *;
  • proof of means of subsistence during the planned stay *;
  • registration of residence or residential address in the Republic of Serbia *;
  • proof of health insurance during the planned stay *;
  • proof of paid administrative fee for temporary residence *;
  • excerpt on registration of a legal entity, entrepreneur, branch, or foreign representative office in RS ***;
  • a statement on the type, duration, and scope of the activities he/she plans to engage in and which contains data on the number and structure of the persons he/she plans to employ; **;
  • a document, i.e. a certificate by which the foreigner proves that he has the appropriate qualifications for performing a specific activity and a certified translation of the same; **;
  • contract or pre-contract proving the right of ownership or lease over the business premises in which they will perform the activity **;
  • proof of paid administrative fee for work permit **.

The Rulebook states: “Evidence marked with” *** “is submitted by the foreigner when submitting the request and the employer electronically to the competent organization for employment, except for the evidence referred to in item 6) which is obtained by the body from official records.”, which is a novelty in relation to the previous procedure in the Ministry of the Interior, where the applicant was obliged to obtain an excerpt on the registration of a legal entity, entrepreneur, branch or foreign representative office in RS at his own expense.

Bearing in mind that there have been two separate procedures so far and that the total period for decision-making by the two bodies used to be 2 months, this significantly contributes to the economy of the procedure and enables employers to hire foreigners twice the time. This is a great advantage, considering the fact that there are foreigners who have the skills and knowledge needed for the RS labour market. Also, this facilitates the arrival and establishment of foreign capital companies and the operations of companies whose directors are foreign nationals

We especially note that a working foreigner is not obliged to submit a joint application, and if he wants he can still, following the Law on Foreigners, submit only a request for temporary residence permit based on of employment, which is resolved as before, in the regular procedure, and to later apply for a work permit with the National Employment Service.