This is the first time Serbian Government has activated the legal mechanism of ensuring temporary protection under Article 74 of the Law on Asylum and Temporary Protection (“Official Gazette of the RS”, No. 24/2018) (“Law”), which grants such protection in Serbia in the event of mass influx of displaced persons who cannot be returned to the country of origin or habitual residence, for reasons including armed conflict or localised violence. This mechanism was activated under Decision on the Temporary Protection in the Republic of Serbia of Displaced Persons from Ukraine (“Official Gazette of the RS”, No. 36/22) (“Decision”), enforced on 18 March 2022.
The Decision applies to Ukrainian nationals and their family members residing in Ukraine, asylum seekers and stateless persons who were granted asylum or benefited from equivalent national protection in Ukraine and their family members legally residing in Ukraine, as well as nationals of other countries residing in Ukraine under a valid permanent or temporary residence permit, who are unable to return in safe and durable conditions to their country of origin.
Temporary protection will also apply to the Ukrainian nationals and their family members legally residing in Serbia at the time of adopting the Decision, whose residence permit expires prior to revocation of the Decision.
The following persons are considered as family members under the Law: the spouse, provided that the marriage was contracted before the arrival to the Republic of Serbia, unmarried partner under the regulations of the Republic of Serbia, their minor children whether born in or out wedlock or adopted, or minor stepchildren, and exceptionally other persons may be considered as family members, taking into account in particular that such persons are dependent on the person who has been granted asylum or temporary protection, their age or psychological dependence, including health, social, cultural or other similar circumstances.
Persons enjoying temporary protection are entitled to residence, personal ID, free primary and secondary education, access to labour market and healthcare in accordance with the regulations governing rights of foreigners. Serbian Interior Ministry is in charge of registering persons enjoying the temporary protection status and issuing individual decisions to that effect.
Temporary protection will extend for a period of one year from the day of entry into force of the Decision, specifically from 18 March 2022.