Labour market test in employment of foreigners

Law on Employment of Foreigners (“Official Gazette RS“ no. 128/2014; “Law”) that entered into force on 04 December 2014 prescribes the conditions and procedure for employment of the foreigners in Republic of Serbia (“Serbia”).

As a necessary condition for work of foreigners in Serbia the Law prescribes mandatory possession of (1) personal work permit or (2) one of the three types of work permits (employment permit, work permit for special cases of employment or work permit for self-employment). Employment permit (“Employment Permit”) is issued by the National Employment Service (“NES”) upon the request of the employer in case when the foreigner has a temporary residence permit in the territory of Serbia.

For the purpose of further implementation of the Law the Ministry responsible for labour matters adopted on 17 November 2015 new Rulebook on Work Permits (“Official Gazette of RS” no. 94/2015; “Rulebook”) that abolished respective rulebook from 2014.

In addition to the list of necessary documents for issuance of all work permits, the Rulebook prescribes one specific condition for issuance of the Employment Permit. Namely, an employer is obliged, prior to submitting of the request for issuance of the Employment Permit, to initiate the procedure of “labor market test, i.e. employment intermediation” (“Labor Market Test”) for particular work place. Employer initiates this procedure before the NES at the earliest 60 days, but no later than 30 days before the issuance of the Employment Permit.

Following the submission of the request to the NES for employment intermediation, the NES conducts Labor Market Test by determining whether there are unemployed persons who are registered in unemployment register, who correspond to the employer’s request for the specific work place and then refers such employees to the employer. NES drafts a report on implementation of employment needs (“Report”) about the undertaken actions and that Report delivers to the employer who is obliged to notify NES on undertaken actions within 15 days after receiving of such Report.

Thereby, if NES finds that there are unemployed persons in unemployment register who correspond to the employer’s request for specific work place, employer is obliged to take into consideration these persons (for example, to interview them). However, if employer during employment process finds that foreigner is more suitable to its needs, employer is free to decide to engage foreigner. In that case employer is obliged to explain this decision in answer to the Report. After receiving the response to the Report by the employer the NES issues a certificate by which it approves or rejects the employment of foreigner for specific work place.

The Rulebook does not prescribe any exception when the Labor Market Test is not mandatory, even in situations where employer wants to engage a foreigner who has certain specific knowledge or skills (i.e. company management). However, engagement of the company’s management is possible without conducting the Labor Market Test in case where foreigner applies for a work permit for assigned persons (i.e. employees employed by a foreign employer who are assigned to Serbia to perform jobs or render services in the territory of Serbia) or work permit for moving within a company – in case of assignment or relocation of persons in a branch of the company or in an affiliated company in Serbia.

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