Open Balkan: Unified labor market of Serbia, North Macedonia and Albania launched on March 1

Open Balkan: Unified labor market of Serbia, North Macedonia and Albania launched on March 1

March 20, 2024

As we wrote in one of our previous texts (available here), at the summit of the Open Balkan initiative held in Tirana on December 21, 2021, a series of agreements were signed between Serbia, North Macedonia and Albania. One of them is the Agreement on Conditions for Free Access to the Labor Market in the Western Balkans, which was subsequently ratified and published in the Official Gazette of the Republic of Serbia – International Treaties no. 27/2021 of December 30, 2021 („the Agreement“).

Citizens of the contracting parties have the right to freely move, reside and work within territories of other parties in accordance with the Agreement, starting from March 1, 2024.

This form of cooperation aims to strengthen regional cooperation and mutual understanding, with the goal of contributing to economic development and increasing economic growth, investment, and employment in the Western Balkans, thereby ensuring progress and economic prosperity.

Procedure for obtaining free access to the unified labor market

This right is exercised through a unified registration platform, through which interested parties can apply for the necessary permit.

Namely, citizens of Serbia, North Macedonia and Albania who want to work in one of the Open Balkan member states register electronically by filling out a form on the abovesaid portal, attaching a valid biometric document. Based on the submitted data, a unique identification number of the Open Balkan (Open Balkan ID number) is generated.

The subject request is filed before entering the territory of the receiving country or thereafter, but no later than 90 days from the date of entry. After obtaining the permit, the interested party can be employed in the receiving country under the same conditions as its citizens, for a period of up to two years, with the possibility of extending the permit (if the prescribed conditions are met).

In case the application, i.e., the request for free access to the labor market is not approved, the domestic legislation of the receiving country will be applied, i.e., rules regarding the movement, residence, and employment of foreigners.

This article is to be considered as exclusively informative, with no intention to provide legal advice. If you should need additional information, please contact us directly.