There have been a number of important recent changes to employment laws in Serbia. The most notable relate to immigration and the employment of foreigners, the Law on Secondment of Employees Abroad, and the Law on Financial Support to Families with Children.

Law on Foreigners

The new law on the employment of foreigners will take effect in October 2018. While retaining the general concept of the previous law, the new legislation introduces certain changes in relation to the residence permit process. Most significantly, the law establishes certain new grounds for the approval of temporary residence permits, as well as grounds that were applicable in practice but not formally recognized by the law. The new grounds include performing a religious service, obtaining medical treatment and care, owning real estate in Serbia, and learning the Serbian language.

The law on the employment of foreigners shortens to 10 days (from one month) the duration of the labor market test within the work permit acquisition process (through which the National Employment Service examines whether there are any Serbian citizens suitable for a vacant position). The law also introduces a new type of work permit: the temporary work permit. This permit may be issued in cases of national interest or for the purpose of fulfilling Serbia’s international obligations. The Minister of Interior may consent to the issuance of a temporary work permit, which is valid for up to 45 days, to a foreigner who applied for a temporary residence permit.

Law on Secondment of Employees Abroad

In a measure designed to prevent employers from engaging employees with the intention of immediately sending them abroad—which the authorities view as unregulated cross-border staff leasing—employees are required to work for an employer for three months in Serbia before they may be sent abroad, except (i) if the secondment relates to excepted activities as registered at the Business Registers Agency, and (ii) the number of seconded employees does not exceed 20 percent of the total number of employees in the organization in question.

This law will not apply to secondments between Serbia and Germany, which are governed by a different treaty. Additionally, employers are no longer obligated to inform the Ministry of Labor in cases of secondment abroad.

Law on Financial Support to Families with Children

The new law regulating the financial support to families with children became effective in July 2018. The most significant change introduced by this law is a change in the manner of payment. Before the law took effect, employers were required to pay salaries to their employees on maternity leave and childcare leave, and, afterwards to claim a refund from the state. The ministry in charge of social affairs now directly pays employees their salaries.


While the effects of these amendments remain to be seen in practice, it seems that most of the amendments are intended to reduce the administrative burden on employers and expedite the procedures before state authorities.

Written by Milena Jakšić Papac and Srđan Šijakinjić in cooperation with Karanović & Nikolić and Roger James of Ogletree Deakins