Country Report: Housing Last updated: 15/05/23


Nikola Kovačević

The Commissariat for Refugees and Migration is responsible for ensuring temporary accommodation for persons who have been granted international protection.[1] The right to temporary accommodation of persons who have been granted asylum is governed by the Decree on Criteria for Temporary Accommodation of Persons Granted Asylum or Subsidiary Protection and Conditions for Use of Temporary Housing.[2] The Decree defines the manner of granting accommodation to beneficiaries of asylum, including the conditions that need to be met in order to receive accommodation, the priorities to be respected when doing so, as well as the conditions of housing.

Accommodation is granted to individual beneficiaries together with their families if they have a final decision granting asylum which is not older that one year at the time of the request and if they do not possess sufficient financial resources to find accommodation on their own. The CRM may provide them with housing for temporary use or financial assistance which is used to cover the costs of temporary accommodation.[3] If there is sufficient accommodation available, it may also be provided to persons who do possess the means to find their own lodgings, taking into consideration their particular circumstances. In practice, due to a lack of adequate housing capacities, the Commissariat usually resorts to financial assistance[4] which is around 34,000 dinars (around 285 EUR).

Also, it is possible that persons granted asylum could be allowed to stay in Asylum Centres for longer than 1 year, but this is more an issue of tolerated stay then the legal possibility. However, all persons granted asylum prior to 2021 have moved to private accommodation. According to the survey conducted by A11, out of 185 persons granted asylum, 44 left Serbia, 1 passed away and 1 changed his legal residency on the basis of the marriage.[5] The total number of persons granted asylum until the end of 2022 is 226, but according to the records of the UNHCR in terms of the people being provided with the integration support, this number is around 100 persons. This basically means that around half of persons granted asylum have left Serbia. Additionally, a significant number of them already have enough resources for accommodation and a very high level of integration since they are sur place refugees who have lived on different grounds in Serbia for years.[6] Thus, it is reasonable to assume that only a handful of persons granted asylum are eligible for the State funded accommodation.

In order to apply for the financial assistance, refugees are obliged to attend Serbian language classes. The Asylum Act outlines that if a refugee fails to report to the Commissariat to attend Serbian language classes within 15 days from the final decision granting asylum or if they stop attending Serbian classes without a justified reason, they would lose the right to temporary accommodation assistance.[7]

As for the practical obstacles in obtaining and enjoying state funded support, there are several issues detected in practice. The first one refers to the method of determining the amount of financial assistance. If an individual has no income or if their income does not exceed 20% of the minimum Republic of Serbia wage for the previous month, the value of the financial assistance is equal to the established Serbian minimum wage per employee for the previous month. The Accommodation Decree does not provide for progressive assistance levels which would take in consideration the number of family members.[8] Another challenge identified in practice concerns the necessity of paying a fee to receive a certificate that the person in question does not receive any income or only receives occasional income from working, a private enterprise, movable property or real estate or from other sources[9] and that they are registered as unemployed with the National Employment Service (NES).

There is no data on how many persons granted asylum were provided with financial assistance from the State in 2021, while in 2022, only 4 persons granted asylum were granted monthly support. The reason for this lies in the fact that the 14 people granted asylum were either employed or they enjoyed financial assistance from CSOs or UNHCR.

What represents an additional problem is the fact that more than 200,000 Russian citizens arrived to Serbia after the conflict in Ukraine started, which created a turbulence in the real estate marker and sharp increase in rents. In Belgrade, it is basically impossible to rent an apartment for less than 500 EU (around 57,000 dinars), which basically means that financial support of CRM is insufficient to cover the costs of rent.




[1] Article 23 Asylum Act.

[2] Official Gazette no. 63/15 and 56/18, hereinafter: Accommodation Decree.

[3] Article 2 (1) Integration Decree.

[4] Article 9 (1) Integration Decree.

[5] A11, Precondition for Integration, February 2021, available at: https://bit.ly/2ZYXZcS, 31-32.

[6] Mostly Libyans and several Syrians and Iraqis.

[7] Article 59 (4) Asylum Act.

[8] Article 10 Integration Decree.

[9] Ibid.

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