Decision on Provision of Legal Protection in the Republic of Serbia to Displaced Persons Coming From Ukraine

On March 17, 2022, the Government of the Republic of Serbia for the first time used the legal mechanism for providing temporary protection under Article 74 of the Law on Asylum and Temporary Protection („Official Gazette of RS“, No. 24/2018; hereinafter: the Law) by passing the Decision on providing temporary protection in the Republic of Serbia to displaced persons coming from Ukraine („Official Gazette of the RS“, No. 36/2022; hereinafter: the Decision). The Decision was published on March 18, 2022 in Official Gazette of the RS“, No. 36/2022, and entered into force the following day, March 19, 2022.

Temporary protection is a legal mechanism provided by Law and granting protection in case of mass influx of displaced persons who cannot return to their country of origin or habitual residence if there is a risk that due to this mass influx it is not possible to effectively conduct each individual asylum procedure in order to protect the interests of displaced persons and other persons seeking protection.

In particular, the Decision applies to citizens of Ukraine and members of their families residing in Ukraine, asylum seekers, stateless persons and foreign nationals granted asylum or equivalent national protection in Ukraine and members of their families who have been granted residence in Ukraine, as and to foreign nationals who have been granted valid permanent residence or temporary residence in Ukraine and who are unable to return to their country of origin, under permanent and long-term circumstances. Temporary protection will also apply to citizens of Ukraine and members of their families who legally resided in Serbia at the time of the adoption of this Decision, and whose right to residence expired before the repeal of the Decision on Temporary Protection.

According to Article 2, paragraph 1, item 12) of the Law, a family member is a spouse with whom a marriage was concluded before coming to the Republic of Serbia, an extramarital partner in accordance with the regulations of the Republic of Serbia, their minor children born in or out of wedlock, minor adopted children or minors stepchildren, provided that the status of a family member can be exceptionally recognized to other persons, taking into account in particular the fact that they were supported by a person who was granted the right to asylum or temporary protection, their age and psychological dependence, including health, social , cultural or other similar occasions.

According to Article 4 of the Decision, a person who was granted temporary protection has access to all rights under Article 76 of the Law, namely: residence during the period of temporary protection, a document confirming their status and right to residence, health care, access to the labor market for the period of temporary protection, free primary and secondary education in public schools in accordance with special regulations, legal aid, freedom of religion, collective and appropriate accommodation.

The Ministry of Internal Affairs of Serbia is responsible for the registration of persons who have been granted temporary protection and makes an individual decision on the approval of temporary protection for each person.

All of the above means that after the above-mentioned persons arrive in Serbia, they receive a Certificate of Necessary Temporary Protection from the Administration for Foreigners, and the entire procedure of passing the Decision on granting temporary protection continues before the Asylum Office, which makes the Decision. After the Decision is made, these persons do not have to apply for a residence and work permit, but can immediately establish an employment relationship.

Temporary protection lasts for one year from the day this Decision enters into force, i.e. from March 19, 2022 to March 19, 2023. According to Article 75 of the Law, if the reasons for temporary protection still exist, the duration of this protection may be extended for an additional 6 months, up to a maximum of one year. If the reasons for its adoption cease to exist, temporary protection will cease on the basis of a decision of the Government.

Note: The information contained in this document does not constitute legal advice on any legal issue, but are provided only for the purpose of general information on legal changes.

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