Housing

Serbia

Country Report: Housing Last updated: 30/11/20

Author

Belgrade Centre for Human Rights Visit Website

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 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] Also, it is possible that persons granted asylum could be allowed to stay in Asylum Centres for longer than year. Today, that is the case for only 2 refugees who have been living in Asylum Centre in Banja Koviljača for more than a decade. Also, it is important to highlight that only 156 persons were granted asylum in Serbia between 2008 and 2019. At least 40% to 50% of them have left. Additionally, a significant number of them have already had enough resources for accommodation and very high level of integration since they are sur place refugees who have lived on different grounds in Serbia for years.[5] Thus, it is reasonable to assume that only handful persons granted asylum are eligible for the State funded accommodation.

In order to apply for the financial assistance, refugees are obliged to attend the 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 he/she stops attending Serbian classes without a justified reason, he/she would lose the right to temporary accommodation assistance[6]

As for the practical obstacles in obtaining and enjoining 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 his/her income does not exceed 20% of the minimum Republic of Serbia wage for the previous month, the value of financial assistance is equal to the established RS 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.[7] Another challenge identified in practice concerns the necessity of paying the fee for receiving 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[8] and that he or she is registered as unemployed with the National Employment Service (NES).

In the first ten months of 2019, the Commissariat granted financial assistance for accommodation in 19 cases, which is higher than 2018 when financial assistance was granted 8 times.[9]

 


[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]  Mostly Libyans and several Syrians and Iraqis.

[6] Article 59 (4) Asylum Act.

[7] Article 10 Integration Decree.

[8] Ibid.

[9]  BCHR, The Right to Asylum in the Republic of Serbia 2019, 162.

 

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