National assembly of Republic of Serbia adopted Law on engagement of foreigners (”Official gazette of Republic of Serbia”, no. 128/14; hereinafter referred to as: Law) on 25th of November, 2014, which enters into force on 4th of December, 2014. The goal of this Law is creation of better business ambient for foreign investments, general and unified regulation in field of work relations with foreigners, as well as in terms of conclusion of other contracts which deal with labor rights of foreign citizens, then, harmonization of national law with European Union law, clearer process of obtaining approvals for work and establishment of respective registers.
By entering into force, this Law cancels Law on conditions for setting of employment relation with foreigners. Nevertheless, foreigners who work on the basis of approval for conceiving employment relation which were issued according to provisions in force before this Law entered into force, will continue to work until the end of term of granted approval. In the other hand, minister responsible for employment will adopt bylaws set by Law, within three months from this Law’s entering into force.
As until now, in order for foreigner to enter into employment relation in Serbia, he needs to acquire approval for work. However, now there are two categories of approvals for work: personal work permit and work permit. Only one of those two can be issued for the same period of time. Law prescribes certain conditions for grant of approval for work, and common thing is that foreigner must have either temporary stay approved or permit for permanent stay in Serbia. Big novelty is that approval for work is also required for foreigners who do not enter into employment relation but conclude some other contract out of employment relation, and who stay in Serbia longer than 90 days within 6 months time.
Personal work permit, which is a new category, enables foreigner free employment, self-employment and to exercise rights as unemployed person at National employment agency. Thus, it belongs to him personally.
Work permit is issued on behalf of employer and it can be for employment, for special cases of employment and for self-employment. Employer has an obligation to keep the evidences of foreigner’s fulfilled conditions for employment, in premises where foreigner works.
In order for employer to acquire work permit for employment, among others the following conditions determined by Law must be met: that employer did not find professionally qualified person on labor market in Serbia one month prior to filing of request for work permit, and that he did not make redundant employees on work place for which he asks for work permit, before filing request for work permit; employer as well must hand in the proposal of employment contract, which is also novelty.
Work permit for special cases of employment is issued on behalf of employer, for assigned persons, moving through company in terms of labor, and for independent professionals.
Request for extension of approval for work must be submitted from 30 days earliest, and 15 days at the latest, before the date of expiry of the previous one. Under certain conditions, approval for work can be repealed. It is important to stress that approval for work also cease to exist if foreigner, who has it approved, stays out of Serbia 6 months continuously.
Articles 5 – 8 of Law refer especially to employment of citizens of countries which are members of European Union, European economic space and Swiss Confederation. Law allows those persons and persons connected, in terms of this Law, to have free access to labor market without approval for work, although not unconditionally. However, those provisions of Law will be applied only when Republic of Serbia becomes member of European Union.
Law allows Serbian Government to introduce decision on limiting the number of foreigners for which approval for work can be issued, in case of disturbances on the labor market.
National employment agency will have respective registers from this Law, while ministry responsible for employment and Labor inspectorate take care of application of the Law. It is important to stress that quite harsh penalties are determined by this Law for misdemeanor, and that for employer, but for foreigner as well.
It is left for future to be seen how will this Law be applied in practice and will it achieve all set social and economic goals for which it had been adopted. Having in mind that Law prescribes also some other rights and obligations which we did not separately elaborate, as well as some cases of freeing from approval for work, please be free to contact us for all the necessary help.
In Belgrade, on 3rd of December, 2014