Laws regulating the procedure for issuing a work permit (or work visa) and obtaining approval for temporary residence of foreigners on the territory of the Republic of Serbia are the Law on Foreign nationals and the Law on Employment of Foreign nationals. The procedure for issuing a work permit and temporary residence permit is conducted according to the place of Employer’s seat, that is, the future head office of business registered by a foreign citizen. The authority conducting the procedure for issuing a temporary residence permit is the Police Administration, while the National Employment Service (hereinafter: the NES) is the authority for issuing Work Permits.
What do you need to get work permits?
Approval for temporary residence on the territory of the Republic of Serbia is necessary in order for a Work Permit to be issued to a foreigner. The work permit is issued for a certain period of time, and cannot be valid for a longer period of time than the temporary residence permit.
Immediately after entering the Republic of Serbia, a foreigner is obliged to register a place of residence, and at the latest – within 24 hours from the time of arrival. Registering a place of residence can also be done without the personal presence of the foreign citizen (e.g. by the owner of the private accommodation, a hotelier, a proxy) with the local police station administration.
For cases of employment in Serbia, for posted workers, or in the case of self-employment (for foreigners registering a business in Serbia), it is necessary, at first, to register a temporary residence. A temporary residence is a basis for the further procedure in order to obtain a work permit. In the case of employment with a domestic Employer – a company applies for the issuance of a work permit on behalf of the future employee, at the NES, while the foreign national independently submit a request for a temporary residence permit to the local police administration.
At this point, it is necessary that we point out that an Employer who wants to hire a foreign citizen is obliged to conduct the so-called “labor market examination” at the National Employment Service. Examining the labor market shows if there are domestic citizens with appropriate education, experience and professional knowledge necessary for the workplace in question. This is a mandatory procedure made in order to protect domestic workers. This, however, is not an obstacle for employing a foreign citizen. In the case in which there are local domestic workers with the same qualifications, it will be necessary to justify the necessity to employ a foreign worker. Our law firm advises conducting the labor market examination at the NES immediately after the decision to employ foreign workers since it is carried out independently from the arrival and engagement of foreigners in the Republic of Serbia.
On the other hand, sending (posting) foreign nationals to work in Serbia is also a basis for obtaining a work permit for workers already employed by the Employer abroad (this may even be the structural body of the same Employer who will hire them in Serbia). In this case, a foreign citizen is formally still employed by a foreign employer, while he is only conducting work tasks with the host-employer in the Republic of Serbia.
The procedures for obtaining the work permits
The procedures for obtaining the work permits in all of these cases differentiate in details. For instance, in the case of posted workers from abroad is not necessary to conduct the labor market examination at the NES. On the other hand, it is necessary to submit a Contract on business and technical cooperation between the Employer who posts foreign workers and the Employer to whom these workers are posted to, which contract defines the type of work and duration of the posting period.
At last, one of the frequent grounds for applying for a temporary residence permit and applying for a work permit is for the purpose of self-employment or starting a business in Serbia. In this case, the procedure is essentially the same, although it is necessary to register your own business first. More on this subject in our next Article: Start Your Business in Serbia, which is to be published soon.
At last, it should be pointed out that there are exceptions in which cases the procedure for obtaining work permits deviates significantly from the one described above, and that in those cases it is best to hire an attorney with experience in the field of labor law.
Our legal team provides professional and efficient representing in procedures of registering a temporary residence of foreigners in front of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, conducting procedures for issuing work permits before the National Employment Service, establishment of companies and registration of entrepreneurs in front of the Business Registers Agency, as well as consulting on all issues with other state bodies, and business banks.
Author: Nemanja Anđelković, attorney.
contact: +381 65 891 38 38