What is the change? A new law has created new work permit categories and broadened the list of foreign nationals who must obtain authorization to work in Serbia.

What does the change mean? Foreign nationals working in Serbia are required to obtain work permits after arriving in the country unless they qualify for an exemption. Previously, only foreign nationals working under a Serbian contract were required to obtain work permits.

  • Implementation timeframe: The law took effect Dec. 4, 2014.
  • Visas/permits affected: Work permits.
  • Who is affected:Foreign nationals living or working in Serbia.
  • Impact on processing times:Employers should allow time for processing of work permits for employees who previously were not required to obtain work authorization.
  • Business impact: Employers will need to obtain work permits for their workers, including seconded employees and intracompany transferees who were previously excluded from work permit requirements.
  • Next steps: Employers should contact their BAL attorney to meet the new work permit requirement for their employees and assignees, including foreign nationals who legally worked in Serbia without a work permit before the new law was enacted.

Background: The Law on Employment of Foreigners, which went into effect Dec. 4, created new categories of work permits. Categories include: seconded employees and intracompany transferees; a general category for foreign employees; self-employed foreign nationals; and personal work permits for permanent residents and others. In some categories, foreign nationals are responsible for submitting their own applications; in others, their employers are. In some categories, quotas on how many workers can be hired may eventually apply.

Permit Type Category Applicant Permit Quotas
Work Permit: Special Cases Seconded employees, intracompany transferees. Employer Quotas don’t apply.
Work Permit: Employment Foreign nationals who are not covered by another category; labor market testing required. Employer Quotas may be implemented.
Work Permit: Self-Employment Foreign nationals who own or control a Serbian company. Foreign national No quotas yet, but may be introduced.
Personal Work Permit Permanent residents, refugees, asylees, persons of Serbian origin, immediate family members of Serbian nationals or permanent residents. Foreign national Quotas don’t apply.

The law is significant because now all foreign nationals working in Serbia must apply for work permits unless legally exempt. Exemptions exist for foreign nationals who live in Serbia for less than 90 days in a six-month period and are the owner, board member or legal representative of a business registered in Serbia; are in Serbia to attend business meetings, make business contacts or establish a branch or subsidiary office; are in Serbia for the purposes of procuring goods or to assemble or repair equipment; or are in Serbia for a trade fair or similar exhibition.

BAL Analysis: Serbia’s new law broadens the scope of work permit regulations. Employers should make sure they are in compliance with the new law even for foreign nationals who were legally working in Serbia without a work permit before the new law took effect.

This alert has been provided by the BAL Global Practice group and our network provider located in Serbia. For additional information, please contact your BAL attorney.

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