On Jun 27th 2023. in the Ofcl. gazette RS no. 62/2023, the Law on Amendments to the Law on Foreigners and the Law on Amendments to the Law on Employment of Foreigners were published.
The application of most of the newly adopted provisions of the aforementioned laws began on August 4th 2023 after a period of 8 days from the date of publication in the Ofcl. gazette RS, while the start of the implementation of a certain number of provisions has been postponed until February 1st 2024.
The most important legal changes are the changes regarding the duration of the time period for which a foreigner can be granted temporary residence in the Republic of Serbia. Namely, the new legal solution enables the approval of temporary residence for a foreigner for a duration of 3 years, unlike the previous legal solution, which limited this time period to 1 year.
Following the legislator’s intention to shorten the deadlines, the legal changes also shorten the necessary period of previous residence on the territory of the Republic of Serbia, as a necessary prerequisite in the procedure for approving permanent residence. The new legal solution foresees a period of 3 years of previous residence on the territory of the Republic of Serbia, as opposed to the previous legal solution of the necessary 5 years of residence.
Then, from February 1st 2024, a new biometric document “unique permit”, is being introduced into the legal order of the Republic of Serbia, which will serve to determine the identity of foreigners in the Republic of Serbia. At the same time, this document will combine the work and residence permit, given that the mentioned legal changes will enable the electronic submission of a single request for a temporary residence and work permit. The request for a single permit will be decided by the Ministry of Internal Affairs within a shortened period of 15 days.
The amendments to the aforementioned laws resolved certain dilemmas that existed in practice until now, specifically the question of whether a foreigner who has been granted temporary residence in the Republic of Serbia can work without a single permit. This dilemma is resolved in the provisions of Art. 3 of the Law on the Employment of Foreigners, which expressly stipulates the right of a foreigner to work without a single permit, but on the condition that he is granted temporary residence on one of the stipulated grounds (family reunification, ownership of real estate, humanitarian reasons, etc.). Regarding the exercise of the aforementioned right of a foreigner to work, and in the case when they do not have a single permit issued, special attention should be paid to the fact that the implementation of this provision has been postponed until February 1st 2024.
Based on all of the above, it can be concluded that the mentioned legal changes are aimed at facilitating and simplifying the residence and employment of foreigners on the territory of the Republic of Serbia, while filling certain legal gaps that created problems and uncertainties in practice.