At a Glance
The following changes apply in Serbia, effective December 25, 2017:
- Work permit renewals for assignees and intracompany transfers require an additional approval, with certain exceptions.
- Intracompany transfers can renew their work permits up to a cumulative total of two years only, with certain exceptions (previously not restricted).
- Renewal applications can now be filed up to the last day of validity rather than 15 days before expiry.
- A new work permit type was introduced for training and development.
Effective December 25, 2017, the law on employing foreign workers changed in Serbia, especially as it relates to work permit renewal rules.
Amended work permit renewal rules
- Additional approval. Employers of assigned workers and intracompany transfers seeking to renew a foreign worker’s work permit now must now seek preapproval from the Ministry with jurisdiction over the employer’s industry. The Ministry of Labor will not grant a work permit renewal without such a preapproval.
- Exception. Foreign nationals whose home country employer is registered in a country that is a signatory to a bilateral agreement that regulates the duration of foreign workers’ assignments are exempt from this rule, and instead can apply for a work permit from the Ministry of Labor without preapproval.
- Impact. This new administrative step is expected to increase processing times, and may increase the percentage of refusals.
- Shorter stays. Intracompany transfers can now renew their work permit up to a total cumulative stay of two years only. Prior to the change, their maximum stay was not restricted.
- Exception. Foreign nationals whose home country employer is registered in a country that is a signatory to a bilateral agreement that regulates the duration of foreign workers’ assignments are exempt from this restriction, and can instead obtain an initial work permit valid for one year with the possibility of renewal for up to another year, subject to the new preapproval rule described above, if applicable.
- Impact. Intracompany transfers may need to explore alternative permit options for longer durations of stay.
- Broader filing window. Renewal applications can now be filed up to the last day of permit validity. Prior to the change, renewal applications had to be filed 15 days before expiry at the latest. As before, renewal applications can be filed as of 30 days before expiry.
- Impact. Employers and foreign nationals will have more time to gather supporting documents and prepare their renewal applications.
New training work permit
A new work permit type was introduced for training, apprenticeship, professional practice or vocational training.
- The application must be sponsored by a Serbian entity.
- A local training contract is required.
- The permit can be obtained for one year, with the possibility to extend for one more year.
- Impact. This permit type allows training in Serbia, which previously would not qualify for work and residence authorization.