Differential treatment of specific nationalities in the procedure


Country Report: Differential treatment of specific nationalities in the procedure Last updated: 15/05/23


Nikola Kovačević

Until 2022, there had been no a priori difference in the treatment of asylum seekers based on their nationality in terms of the asylum procedure. However, in 2022, and for the first time in the history of the Serbian asylum procedure, temporary protection has been introduced as a form of international protection, and for refugees fleeing Ukraine.

Since the entry into force of the Asylum Act in 2008, the asylum authorities in Serbia have rendered 158 decisions granting asylum (refugee status of subsidiary protection) to 226 persons from 26 different countries[1]  including from Libya (47), Syria (37), Afghanistan (33), Iran (22), Iraq (16), Ukraine (15), Burundi (9), Cuba (8), Sudan (5), Somalia (5), Pakistan (4), Ethiopia (3), Russia (3), Cameroon (3), Nigeria (2) Türkiye (2), Stateless (2) Lebanon (1), Egypt (1), South Sudan (1), Bangladesh (1), Tunisia (1), Kazakhstan (1), Mali (1), Niger (1) and China (1). It cannot be claimed with certainty that specific nationalities are differently treated than others. However, it can be safely stated that there is a contradicting practice when it comes to Ukrainian asylum applicants who had priority in asylum procedure. It is also important to note that Turkish political activists, mainly of Kurdish origin, stand no chance to receive international protection and that political, but also influence of BIA implies that refugees from this country should avoid Serbia at any cost.

For detailed information on the practice regarding each nationality, please see Regular Procedure.




[1] The author of this Report has collected 135 out of 158 decisions. The number of decisions and applicants was counted by the author of this Report and on the basis of a unique database which is established in IDEAS. Namely, official number of persons who received international protection in Serbia is 208. However, this number includes the cases which were not final in the given year. For instance, there is at least 7 asylum procedures in which legal representatives appealed the decision on subsidiary protection claiming that their clients deserve refugee status. Asylum Commission or Administrative Court upheld appeals and onward appeals respectively and sent the case back to the Asylum Office. However, Asylum Office rendered the same decision (subsidiary protection) with regards to the same person. The lawyers were then complaining again. There were instances in which 1 person received 3 decisions on subsidiary protection in the period of 7 years and was granted refugee status in the end. However, it is possible to that the statistics provided by the author of this Report are not 100% accurate. Still, the author believes that this is the most accurate statistics which can be provided for now and potential variations cannot be higher than maximum 5 decisions regarding 5 applicants. 

Table of contents

  • Statistics
  • Overview of the legal framework
  • Overview of the main changes since the previous report update
  • Asylum Procedure
  • Reception Conditions
  • Detention of Asylum Seekers
  • Content of International Protection