Today, on December 18, 2023, on International Migrants Day, we want to emphasize the importance of respecting the rights of all migrants’ rights and recognizing the challenges and risks they face. At the same time, we highlight the significance of taking action to support dignified, regular, and secure migration.
The Republic of Serbia has acknowledged the need and potential of migration to improve the labor market situation by introducing streamlined procedures for the arrival of foreign migrant workers. The number of migrant workers has been increasing each year, and around 80,000 work permits are expected to be issued by the end of 2023. However, fieldwork with this target group and dealing with specific cases of mass or individual labor exploitation of migrant populations in Serbia have convinced us that the number of individuals at risk of various forms of exploitation is much higher.
Simultaneously, Serbia has been dealing with a continuous influx of migrants entering its territory irregularly, often as smuggled migrants through the activities of criminal and organized crime groups. A significant number of migrants reside without a regulated legal status, making them more vulnerable and exposed to various abuses and potential risks of rights violations. Regulating their status will contribute to their safety and the overall safety of society.
Group 484 and ASTRA – Action Against Trafficking in Human Beings believe that it is crucial for all stakeholders, especially relevant state institutions, to recognize the risks and challenges migrants face and to take timely and appropriate measures to address identified challenges adequately. This includes protecting the human rights of migrants and ensuring a safe environment in which they can develop their potential, contributing to the development of the Republic of Serbia, of which they become a part.
* This publication was prepared with the kind support of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. The content of this publication is the sole responsibility of the authors and can in no way be taken to reflect the views of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of the Netherlands.