Serbia: The Law on Employment of Foreigners


Publisher: Bojović & Partners

The Law on Employment of Foreigners has entered into force on 4 December 2014, except for certain provisions regulating the employment of EU citizens which will be applicable from the date of accession of Serbia to the EU. 

Contrary to the provisions applicable so far, the foreigners are now entitled to enter into employment agreement or even to be selfemployed in Serbia. The Law envisages two types of work permits for foreigners (i) personal work permit and (ii) work permit. 

Personal work permit is issued on a personal request of a foreigner and allows the foreigner to enter into employment agreement, to be selfemployed and to exercise rights in case of unemployment. This permit is issued to the foreigners with the permanent residence permit, refugees and special categories of foreigners. Additionally, under certain conditions personal work permit may be issued for reunification of the family. 

Work permit is granted upon the request of the employer (except work permit for selfemployment) and there are three different types of such work permit (i) work permit for employment, (ii) work permit for selfemployment and (iii) work permit for special cases. The foreigner is entitled to perform only those works for which he/she has obtained the work permit. All abovementioned work permits have specific requirements regarding the required documentation and conditions that have to be fulfilled. 

The common characteristic for all types of work permits is reflected in the need for a foreigner to have obtained temporary residential permit in Serbia and that work permit is issued for the period of validity of temporary residence but not longer than one year. 

The law stipulates certain limitations regarding the issuance of the work permit, providing that the work permit for the employment will be issued to the employer only under certain conditions, such as that prior to filing the request for the work permit the employer has not dismissed any employee working on the work place for which the work permit is requested due to redundancy, that the employer was not able to find suitable qualified employee among Serbian citizens, persons with personal work permit or the persons who have free access to the Serbian labor market in the one month period prior to filing the request for work permit, etc. 

Work permit for special cases of employment would be issued to: (i) assigned persons (based on the agreement concluded between foreign employer and Serbian company), (ii) independent professionals (holding university education and/or technical qualification and relevant work experience) and (iii) in the event of assignment within the same company (secondment of the managers, and, exceptionally, a trainee from a foreign company to the branch office or subsidiary of that foreign company in Serbia). 

The limitations in establishing an employment relationship with foreigners are prescribed in accordance with the EU legislation, by the way of introducing the so-called quota system, i.e. by limiting the number of the work permits that can be issued to foreigners. Such limitations are not applicable to all foreigners (e.g. those working on the basis of work permit for assignment within the same company).