“Currently, between 2,000 and 3,000 foreign workers from Turkey, North Macedonia, Pakistan, Ukraine and Romania are working on construction projects in Serbia,” said Goran Rodic, vice president of the Construction Chamber.
“Among them, there are those working illegally, and now there will be increasing pressure from foreign workers because many countries are closing their borders due of the pandemic,” Rodic said.
He added that there wasn’t enough skilled and unskilled local labour in Serbia and that most foreign companies hire foreign workers.
“Although the law on the work engagement of foreigners is clear and simple and states that the employer must report that the foreigners are working for them to the police, provide a work permit, as well as pay taxes and contributions on wages, this obligation is often shunned,” Rodic adds.
According to him, workers arrive by bus as tourists and the employer usually confiscates their passports so that they cannot leave their work in Serbia. Before the pandemic, there were a total of 10,000, 12,000 such workers, according to one estimate.
Rodic said that construction companies in Serbia also hire migrants from Pakistan, who pass through the country to get to the European Union. He added that foreign workers can be found on all construction sites, from motorways to the construction of residential buildings, from Subotica, Novi Sad, Belgrade, Kopaonik, Kraljevo to the south of the country.
According to him, quite of them are engaged in building the Belgrade Waterfront due to the size of this real estate development.
Rodic went on to say that when the initiated projects are completed and the construction of the water and sewage grid begins, there will be even more illegal workers because these systems are built outside urban areas and it is difficult to control the employers.
According to him, foreign workers are mostly hired by foreign companies and less by local employers.
This post is also available in: Italiano