Over 50,000 work permits were issued to foreign workers in Serbia last year, and the majority of them were Russians, the Confederation of Autonomous Trade Unions of Serbia said on its website, quoting figures released by the Ministry of Labour, Employment, Veteran and Social Affairs.
Russians top the list with 19,645 issued work permits, followed by Chinese (10,198), Turkish (4,946), Indian (4,914) and Nepalese (1,074) workers, the organisation said.
There are no official records of the occupations of foreign workers in the country, but the majority is believed to be working at construction sites and fruit and vegetable plantations, as vendors in food kiosks and bus drivers.
Following this significant increase in the number of foreign workers in Serbia, the government passed an urgent amendment to the Law on the Employment of Foreigners in order to expedite and improve the process of issuing work permits, ensuring more efficient access to the labour market.
Amendments to the law introduce the concept of a single work/residence permit. This means that foreigners who want to work and stay in Serbia will in the future have to submit only one request for both purposes – for work and residence.
The key change is the complete digitization of the procedure. Now, requests for a single work-residence permit will be submitted on a website, which means that the entire application, including the required documents, will be sent electronically. After the request is approved, the new work-residence permit will be issued as a biometric document.
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