The Republic of Serbia in the past two decades faced a stormy and turbulent migration flows. Arrival of refugees from the former Yugoslavia and internally displaced persons from AP Kosovo and Metohija and the departure of a large number of citizens who emigrated to the countries of Western Europe and North America are the trends of the nineties. In past few years, Serbia has also faced asylum seekers from countries in Asia and Africa, illegal migrants and returnees under the Readmission Agreement. All these years continues the trend of depopulation of rural areas. As a result of these migration flows, a variety of ministries are in charge of the different categories of migrants which is defined by numerous of sector strategies. Sector strategies, directly related to the groups of migrants and migration management system, are: The Strategy for Combating Illegal Migration in the Republic of Serbia for the period 2009-2014
. ("Official Gazette of RS", No. 25/2009); The Strategy of Reintegration of the Returnees Based on the Readmission Agreement
("RS Official Gazette", No. 15/2009); Strategy for Integrated Border Management in the Republic of Serbia ("RS Official Gazette", No. 11/2006); Strategy for Combating Human Trafficking in the Republic of Serbia
("RS Official Gazette", No. 111/2006); Sustainable return and subsidence Strategy
("RS Official Gazette", No. 32/2010).
A lack of coordination among institutions has been noticed in migration management system, and since it was necessary to intensify the harmonization of national migration policies with EU regulations and policies, it was decided to develop an umbrella strategy to integrate policies and improve existing framework for migration management. Migration Management Strategy
("RS Official Gazette", No. 59/09), adopted on 23rd of July 2009., foresees establishment and implementation of mechanisms for comprehensive and continuous monitoring of migration flows in the Republic of Serbia, the completion of the strategic, legal and institutional framework for joint migration management and creation of conditions for integration and social inclusion of migrants. Migration management must be in accordance with the European Union association policy, as well as with specific demographic trends and long-term development needs of the Republic of Serbia.
The adoption of the Law on migration management
("Official Gazette of RS", No. 107/12) at the end of 2012 established a coordinated system for migration management and defined the basic concepts of migration.
The concept of migration management is defined to include the processes of:
- Gathering and analysis of data relevant to the migration management;
- Establishing a uniform system for collecting, organizing and sharing information;
- Identifying and proposing objectives and priorities of migration policy;
- Proposing and taking measures for the implementation of migration policy and
- Coordination of state bodies, which perform tasks related to the migration management.
The Law established new responsibilities of the Commissariat for Refugees in the field of migration management. Commissariat for Refugees, which was established by the Law on Refugees continued to work as the Commissariat for Refugees and Migration in accordance with the scope determined by this Law and other laws.
In addition to his previous responsibilities, the Commissariat shall perform tasks related to:
- Gathering, compilation and analysis of data and indicators for migration management;
- Proposing objectives and priorities of migration policy as well as measures necessary to achieve the positive effects of legal migration and combating illegal migration to the Government of the Republic of Serbia;
- Monitoring the implementation of migration policy and proposing projects in the field of migration management;
- Providing information relevant to the development of strategic documents in the field of migration to the state authorities, autonomous province and local self-government;
- Drafting annual report to the Government on the situation in the field of migration;
- Reporting on immigration and emigration; development and regular updating of the Migration Profile of Serbia;
- Establishment of a unified system for collecting, organizing and sharing information;
- Cooperation with members of the European Migration Network;
- Education and training of persons engaged in activities relevant to the migration management, ensuring the availability of information relevant to migration issues;
- Defining, proposing and taking measures for the integration of persons to whom, in accordance with the Law on Asylum, is granted right to shelter and reintegration of returnees under the Readmission Agreements;
- Provision of temporary accommodation to the returnees under the Readmission Agreements, who are not able to secure housing immediately upon return and providing living space for temporary accommodation to persons to whom, in accordance with the Law on Asylum, is granted right to asylum or subsidiary protection;
- Improving living conditions of internally displaced persons while they are in displacement;
- Proposing programs for developing a measurement system for families of foreigners who are staying illegally in the territory of the Republic of Serbia;
- Proposing programs to support the voluntary return of foreigners residing illegally in the territory of the Republic of Serbia in their country of origin.
The Law on Migration Management obliges local authorities to create local council for migration as a body which will locally conduct migration policies. A total number of 128 local governments have established local councils for migration composed of representatives of various institutions on the local level relevant for the realization of the rights of migrants, with the goal to coordinate activities of: local administration, police administration, employment service, school administration, local trustee, a health center, a center for social work, Red Cross and civil society organizations.