At Open Balkan Summit held in Tirana on December 21, 2021, several agreements were signed by Serbia, North Macedonia and Albania, including the Agreement on conditions for free access to the labour market in the Western Balkans, which was subsequently ratified by the National Assembly of the Republic of Serbia on December 29, 2021, and published in the Official Gazette of the Republic of Serbia – International Agreements no. 27/2021 from December 30, 2021 (“the Agreement”).
According to the information available on the website of the Serbian Chamber of Commerce, it is expected for provisions of the Agreement to be exercised in practice as of the end of May 2022.
Content of the Agreement
According to the Agreement, citizens of the parties to the agreement are entitled to the right to move, stay and work freely within the territories of other parties.
By the Agreement, the parties undertake to simplify the administrative procedures for entry, movement, stay and work of the citizens of other parties, and guarantee such citizens equal access to the labour market, in accordance with the Agreement and domestic legislation.
For exercising their right to free access to the labour market, citizens of the respective parties shall register their personal and other necessary data as required by the appropriate electronic service developed by each party, in accordance with domestic legislation and the Agreement on interconnection of schemes for electronic identification of the citizens of the Western Balkans, even before entry into the territory of the recipient state or after that, but no later than 90 days from the aforesaid date.
The registration referred to above shall be performed electronically, on the basis of previously determined unique ID number that the party issued to its citizens (in accordance with the above-mentioned Agreement on interconnection of schemes for electronic identification of the citizens of the Western Balkans), whereby the issued permit for free access to the labour market enables citizens of a party to stay in the territory of the recipient party up to two years (with possibility for re-registration after the expiry of this term, if the prescribed requirements have been met), as well as to exercise the right to employment without need to obtain the work permit in the recipient country (including the right to exemption from taxes prescribed by domestic legislation).
Implementation of the Agreement
Precondition for the establishment of single labour market, i.e., exercising the rights stipulated by the Agreement, is the establishment of single registration platform for all three signatory countries, where interested individuals would apply for the required permit.
Implementation of this platform in Serbia is currently conducted by the Office for Information Technologies and eGovernment, in cooperation with the Ministry of Interior and the Ministry of Labour, Employment, Veteran and Social Affairs.
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By Lara Maksimovic, Senior Associate, PR Legal