The Employment of Foreign citizens in the Republic of Serbia is regulated by the Law on Employment of Foreign Citizens (“Off. Gazette of RS” No. 128/14), (hereinafter referred to as the “Law“) and the Rulebook on work permits for employment (“Off. Gazette of RS” No. 94 / 15).

A foreign citizen who is employed in the Republic of Serbia in accordance with the Law has the same rights and obligations in the terms of work, employment and self-employment as the citizens of the Republic of Serbia. Accordingly, the foreign citizen is considered to be unemployed in accordance with the regulations on employment and unemployment insurance and has the same rights as citizens of the Republic of Serbia if the conditions are met in accordance with Law.

Employment of foreign citizens is granted under the condition that they possess a temporary residence permit or permanent residence permit and a work permit, unless otherwise specified by the Law.

Work permit may be issued as: (i) personal work permit and (ii) work permit.

Only one of these two types of permits may be issued for the same period of time.

  • A Personal Work permit shall be issued to: (i) foreign citizen who has acquired a residence permit, (ii) person who has the refugee status, (iii) person belonging to a special category (seeking asylum, etc.), (iv) immediate family member of persons covered in points (i) and (ii), (v) immediate family member of a Serbian citizen, and (vi) foreigner with Serbian origin up to the third degree of consanguinity in the direct line.
  • Work permit shall be issued for (i) employment, (ii) special cases of employment, and for (iii) self-employment. Based on a Work permit, a foreign employee can be employed only for the particular job for which the permit was issued for.

– Work Permit for Employment shall be issued in the accordance with the conditions on labor market and at the employer’s request if: (i) the employer did not, before filing the request for permit, terminated the employment due to redundancy at the position for which the permit is being requested, (ii) one month before submitting the request for work permit the employer could not find Serbian citizens, persons who have free access to the country’s labor market or foreign citizens with a personal work permits with the requested qualifications in the records of the National Employment Service, (iii) the employer files the draft of the employment agreement or other agreement providing rights stemming from employment, in accordance with the Law.

A Work Permit is issued for the duration of the planned employment but not longer than period of temporary residence.

– Work Permit for Special Cases of Employment is issued for (i) assigned personnel, (ii) independent professionals, and for (iii) transfers within a company. A Work Permit for assigned personnel can be issued if a foreign citizen has a residence permit, an agreement concluded between two employers (a foreign employer and a Serbian employer) containing the place and term for providing services, evidence that the particular employee has been employed with a foreign employer for at least a year and a letter of assignment or similar document. Work permit for a transfer within the company registered in a foreign country shall be issued at the request of a branch or affiliated company which is registered in the Republic, with the purpose of temporary assignment, i.e. relocation of the employee in the branch or affiliated company which is registered in the Republic, provided that the employee has been employed by a foreign employer for at least a year in the position of director, manager and specialist (i.e. key staff) and is to perform the same type of work in Serbia. A Work Permit for an Independent Professional shall be issued if such person has a temporary residence permit, concluded agreement with an employer/service user that must include time limit for job, relevant higher education and/or technical qualifications and has acquired relevant specific professional experience. The Work permit for special cases shall be issued for the period required for the job, but not longer than one year.

Work Permit for self-employment shall be issued at the request of a foreign citizen who has a temporary residence permit in the Republic of Serbia and who submits certain evidences determined by the Law. This permit shall be issued for a period of duration of a temporary residence permit, a maximum of one year with possibility of extension in a case that foreign citizen provides the evidence that he/she continues the same work under the same conditions under which the permit was granted. A foreign citizen who receives such permit is obliged to start to perform activities for which a work permit is issued within 90 days of receiving the permit.

The Law regulates certain cases when foreign citizens can work in Serbia without work permit.
For instance, a foreign citizen can work in Serbia without a work permit if he/she has residence in Serbia for less than 90 days within a period of six months as of the day of their first entry into the country and if such person (i) is a shareholder, founder, legal representative or a member of a corporate body of a Serbian legal entity and if he/she is not employed in that legal entity, (ii) is assigned to perform work in Serbia based on agreement on purchasing goods, purchasing or leasing of equipment, delivery, installment, repair or training for work on those machines or equipment and in other cases determined by the Law.

In terms of the procedure for issuance and extension of the Permit for employment, as well as the procedure for its cancellation, i.e. cessation of its validity, the first instance decision-making is entrusted to the National Employment Service. The request for issuing or extension of the license shall be submitted according to the place of temporary residence or permanent residence of the foreigner citizen, or the headquarters of the employer or the place where the work is performed, depending on the type of license. The request for extension shall be filed not earlier than 30 days and no later than 15 days before the expiry of the previous permit.

For the aforementioned types of work permits it is necessary to submit a request and particular documents, which varies depending on the type of license.

The manner of issuance, i.e. extension of the Permit for employment, the manner of proving the fulfillment of conditions and necessary proof for the issuance or extension of these permits, as well as their form and content are more closely regulated by the Rulebook on permits for employment.

Our Law Firm is at your disposal for any further questions and consultation related to the necessary documentation and applications for the Work Permits.

Attorney at law Damir Petrović

The information contained herein has been provided only for the purpose of general information and cannot be considered as a legal opinion or legal advice. Accordingly, the Law Firm Petrović & Partners disclaims all responsibility and accept no liability in respect to actions taken or not taken based on any or all the contents contained herein.