Law on Employment of Foreign Citizens and Rulebook on work permits for employment

Types of work permits and conditions for issuing them in the Republic of Serbia

The Employment of Foreign citizens in the Republic of Serbia is regulated by the Foreign Nationals Employment Act (“Off. Gazette of RS”, No. 128/2014, 113/2017, 50/2018 and 31/2019) and the Rulebook on work permits for employment (“Off. Gazette of RS”, No. 63/2018, 56/2019 and 84/2022).

The Rulebook on Work Permits (“Official Gazette of the RS”, no. 63/2018, 56/2019 and 84/2022) prescribes in more detail the method of issuing or extending a work permit, the process of proving the fulfilment of the conditions and the required evidence for issuing, i.e. extension of the work permit and the form and content of the work permit.

A foreigner who shall be employed in the Republic of Serbia in accordance with the Law on Employment of Foreign Citizens have the same rights and obligations in terms of work, employment and self-employment as the citizens of the Republic of Serbia.

Employment of a foreign national is carried out under the condition that he possesses a visa for a longer stay based on employment, temporary residence approval, or permanent residence and work permit unless otherwise provided by the Foreign Nationals Employment Act (“Off. Gazette of RS”, No. 128/2014, 113/2017, 50/2018 and 31/2019).

In a decision, the Government of the Republic of Serbia may limit the number of foreign nationals issued with work permits (from now on: quota) in the event of disturbances in the labour market, following migration policy and the state and trends in the labour market.

The quota is determined upon the proposal of the ministry competent for employment affairs, having priority obtained the opinion of the social and economic council established for the territory of the Republic of Serbia and of the organization competent for employment affairs.

The quota does not apply to a foreign national, i.e. employer employing a foreign national, applying for:

  1. Personal work permit, excluding personal work permit issued at the request of a particular category of a foreign national
  2. Work permit for relocation within a company.

Types of Work permits

A work permit may be issued as:

  • personal work permit and
  • work permit, whereby only one of these two types of permits may be issued for the same period.

A foreigner with a work permit can only perform work for which he received a permit in the Republic of Serbia.

A personal work permit allows a foreign national residing in the Republic of Serbia unrestricted employment, self-employment and the exercise of rights in the event of unemployment, in accordance with the law.

A personal work permit is issued at the request of a foreign national if:

  • He possesses a permanent residence approval
  • He has a status of a refugee
  • He belongs to a particular category of a foreign national.

A personal work permit is issued for family reunification and at the request of a member of the immediate family of the foreign national who possesses a permanent residence approval and has a status of a refugee, who has been issued with a permit for permanent residence or temporary residence, as well as of a foreign national who is an immediate family member of a citizen of the Republic of Serbia and a foreign national of Serbian descent up to the third degree of consanguinity in the direct line if the person meets the requirement regarding the minimum age for employment following the employment regulations.

Spouses, in or out of wedlock, of a foreign national who possesses a personal work permit, minor children born in or out of wedlock, minor adopted children or minor stepchildren, as well as other family members, are considered to be immediate family members, in accordance with the law governing the residence of foreign nationals.

A personal work permit is issued in cases established by an international agreement which binds the Republic of Serbia in accordance with such agreement.

The work permit shall be issued as:

  • work permit for employment
  • work permit for special cases of employment, and
  • work permit for self-employment.

A work permit for employment is issued at the request of an employer, following the state of the labour market, provided that such employer:

  • Had not, before submitting an application for a work permit for employment, fired employees due to technological, economic or organizational changes in work positions for which the work permit for employment is being requested, in accordance with employment regulations
  • Did not, within ten days before applying for a work permit for employment, find the citizens of the Republic of Serbia, persons that have free access to the labour market, or a foreign national with a personal work permit, of appropriate qualifications registered with the organization in charge of employment; Notwithstanding, when this is in the interest of the Republic of Serbia or imposed by internationally accepted obligations, the Minister in charge of employment may also determine a time limit shorter than ten days
  • Encloses a proposal of the employment contract or other contract whereby work-related rights are exercised following the law.

Exceptionally, when this is in the interest of the Republic of Serbia or imposed by internationally accepted obligations, a temporary work permit for employment may be issued to a foreigner who fulfills all the requirements of the employer’s request relating to the appropriate knowledge and skills, qualifications, previous experience, and so on, with the acquired prior consent of the minister in charge of internal affairs, provided that the foreigner has applied for temporary residence.

A work permit for employment is issued for a period which may not exceed 45 days.

A work permit for employment is issued for the planned term of employment, which shall not exceed the duration of the temporary residence.

Work Permit for Special Cases of Employment is issued at the employer’s request for

  • seconded persons
  • independent professionals
  • relocation within a company and
  • training and improvement.

Conditions for issuing the work permit for seconded persons comprise that the foreign national possesses: Visa for a longer stay based on employment or approval for the temporary residence of a foreign national; Proof that the foreign employer has employed the seconded person for at least one year; Decision on secondment for temporary work in the Republic of Serbia, determining the manner of exercising the rights and obligations arising from employment, as well as the manner of accommodation and board for the duration of residence and work in the Republic of Serbia.

A work permit for seconded persons employed by a foreign employer is issued at the employer’s request to perform activities or provide services in the territory of the Republic of Serbia, based on the concluded contract on business and technical cooperation with a foreign employer, in accordance with the Foreign Nationals Employment Act (“Off. Gazette of RS”, No. 128/2014, 113/2017, 50/2018 i 31/2019).

The work permit for seconded persons is issued for the period for which the contract has been concluded between the employer for whom the services are provided and the foreign employer, but not exceeding one year.

A work permit for seconded persons – to perform activities or provide services under a contract for the purchase of goods, purchase or lease of machinery or equipment and its delivery, installation, assembly, repair or training for operation of such machines or equipment, is issued under the conditions set out for issuing work permit for seconded persons for a period longer than 90 days, i.e. for the period required to complete the such activity.

A work permit for relocation within a company registered abroad is issued at the request of a branch office, i.e. a subsidiary company registered in the Republic of Serbia, for temporary secondment, i.e. relocation of an employee for work in that branch office, i.e. subsidiary, provided that the foreign employer has employed the person for at least one year at the position of executive, manager or specialist for a specific field (key personnel), as well as that such person shall continue to perform the same activities in the Republic of Serbia.

Notwithstanding, a work permit for relocation within a company registered abroad is also issued at the request of the branch office, i.e. subsidiary company registered in the Republic of Serbia, for temporary secondment, i.e. relocation of an employed intern for work in that organizational unit, i.e. subsidiary company.

The work permit for relocation within a company is issued for the period of duration of the visa for a longer stay based on employment or temporary residence, but not exceeding one year.

The work permit for an independent professional is issued if an independent professional possesses the following: Visa for a longer stay based on employment or approval for temporary residence; Contract concluded with the employer or the end-user of services, which shall contain the time frame for completing the work; Appropriate higher education degree and/or technical qualifications and the prescribed work experience in the profession. The work permit for an independent professional is issued for the term necessary to complete the work but not exceeding one year.

Work permit for training and improvement is issued at the request of the employer, i.e. the foreign national, for training, internships, professional practice, vocational training, i.e. improvement and if the foreign citizen has: Temporary residence approval; Contract concluded with the employer on conducting training, internship, professional practice, vocational training, i.e. improvement, which contains the venue and expiration date.

The work permit for training and improvement is issued for the duration of the training, internship, professional practice, or vocational training, i.e. improvement, but not longer than one year, with the possibility of extension for another year.

A work permit for self-employment is issued at the request of a foreign national who has a visa for a longer stay based on employment or an approval for temporary residence in the Republic of Serbia and who, in the procedure for the issuance of a work permit for self-employment, together with the request the foreign national submits the following: Statement regarding the nature, duration and scope of activities he plans to engage in; Proof that he possesses matching qualifications to perform a specific activity; Pre-contract or a contract constituting proof of the right of ownership or lease of office space in which the activity is to be performed; Statement regarding the number and structure of persons that he plans to employ, especially citizens of the Republic of Serbia, persons with free access to the labour market and foreign nationals with a personal work permit.

A work permit for self-employment is issued for the period of duration of the temporary residence approval, but not exceeding one year with the possibility of extension, provided that the foreign national proves that he continues the performance of the same activity under the conditions under which he received the permit.

A foreign national issued with a work permit for self-employment shall commence the performance of activities for which the work permit was issued within a term of 90 days from the day of receipt of such permit.

Last update 26. 09. 2022.

Read more about:
Labour rule book »
The employment contract »
Contract for the supply of services »

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

2 - “Types of work permits and conditions for issuing them in the Republic of Serbia”

    1. I ask you to contact me through my mail address draganadjordjevic@ymail.com and explain me your plan realting to your business in Serbia. After your information I’ll be able to offer you my services and suggest you appropriate type of work permit.