Requirements for residence and work of foreigners in Bosnia and Herzegovina
The Law on Movement and Residence of Foreigners and Asylum of Bosnia and Herzegovina specifies temporary and permanent residence of foreigners.
In accordance with the Law, temporary residence is the right of a foreigner in BiH, lasting up to one year, while permanent residence is a right of the foreigner in BiH lasting for the indefinite timeframe.
The above mentioned law, specifies possibility of issuing of permission for temporary residence to foreigners in BiH, only for the purposes justified by the reasons such as: marriage, extramarital relation with the citizen of BiH, merging of families, education, scientific-research, art or sports work or the work of consultant; work of key personnel within physical or legal entity or work on the bases of issued work permit; with the purpose of private business, volunteer work or for the reasons of implementation of the project from the importance for the BiH; for the purpose of religious activities, medical treatment, or humanitarian reasons; or for the reasons of other justified purposes or purposes based on international agreement, where Bah is a contractual party.
To foreigner that entered to BiH, based on visa which is not a long stay visa (Visa D) or based on no visa regime on the entering, and without previously acquired work permit, temporary residence can not be authorized in relation to work with the work permit, while this foreigner resides in the country.
The Law specifies general conditions that need to be fulfilled by the foreigner with the purpose of acquiring of permission for temporary residence in the country, and those are:
- Deposal of prove based on which the existence of bases for the issuing of temporary residence permit is justified (extract from the registry book of married or born, work permit in BiH, registration with the competent fund of the pension-disabled persons insurance, decision on registration of legal entity into court’s register, and other,
- Available funds for the living expenses,
- Holding of medical certificate proving that the person does not suffer from illness presenting threat to public health care system in BiH, issued at least three months prior to submittal of request,
- Provided proper accommodation in BiH,
- Insured health insurance in BiH,
- Possession of passport valid at least three months longer than the period for which the permission of the temporary residence is required for,
- No criminal proceedings lead against the person, no punishments in regards to criminal acts committed, made against the person.
In accordance with Article 59. of the Law on Movement and Residence of Foreigners and Asylum, permanent residence can be authorised for the foreigner under following conditions:
- On the bases of authorization of temporary residence, continuous stay on the territory of BiH at least five years prior to submitting of request for the authorization of permanent residence,
- Available sufficient and regular funds for living,
- Provided proper accommodation in BiH,
- Insured health insurance in BiH,
Procedure of authorization of residence to foreigners in BiH
Request for the first temporary residence and request for the extension of residence is to be submitted to Service for the foreigners affairs (Service).
Request for the authorization of first temporary residence, must be submitted by the foreigner outside of the BiH through Diplomatic-Consular Representation of BiH (DKPBiH), personally. In case that the foreigner already entered into country exclusively with the long stay visa, request for the authorization of first temporary residence will have to be submitted to competent Service for the foreigners affairs, at least 15 days prior to expiration of the visa.
Service for the foreigners affairs decides by the decision, on request for the authorization of first temporary residence as well as on extension of the stay, in terms of 60 days from the day of submittal of accurate request, the latest, in case that the request was submitted through DKP BiH, and in terms of 30 days in case that the request was submitted directly to competent Service.
The Decision on authorization of residence is executed by placing of the sticker of the authorization of residence into valid passport of the foreigner.
Foreigner to whom temporary residence has been authorized, is obliged to report and sign off his place of residence as well as report change of his place of residence address with the competent Service or police in terms of 48 hours from the day of receipt of the decision on authorization of temporary residence, while in terms of 8 days from the day of receipt of the decision on authorization of permanent residence.
The Law on Employment of Foreigners of Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina specifies that work permit can be issued to foreigner on request of legal or physical entity that intends to employ itself, or on request of the future Employer.
None of the employers from BiH can conclude Employment Contract on conduct of temporary or permanent activities with the foreigner, prior to foreigner’s acquiring of work permit.
Depending from the headquarters of the employer, work permit is issued by the body competent for the employment of foreigners in Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina or Republika Srpska, these being Employment Institute of Federation BiH and Republika Srpska.
Work permit is issued for specific work post and/or for specific type of activities.
Above mentioned Employment Institutes, issue fix term work permit for foreigners, longest on period of one year, but for foreigners that have authorized permanent residence in BiH, work permits can be issued on indefinite period of time.
The Law on Employment of Foreigners of FBIH and the Law on Employment of Foreign Citizens and Persons without Citizenship specifies following conditions for the issuing of work permit for the foreigners in BiH:
- to have authorization for permanent residence in FBIH and
- that in the register of the Employment Service, there are no other persons fulfilling the conditions required by the Employer for the conclusion of the Employment Contract or Contract for the execution of temporary or occasional activities.
It is important to emphasize that the second above mentioned condition that the law specifies, is set up to in such way that it enables the employment of the foreigners in BiH , only in case that there are no registered unemployed persons among citizens of BiH, who fulfill the same conditions for the employment that were required by the Employer, which is very often an obstacle for the employment of foreigners in BiH, because in the register of the Employment Institute, there is a number of registered unemployed persons of almost all vocations and professions.
The new Law on Movement and Residence of Foreigners and Asylum, apart from the above mentioned, specifies a novelty in relation to issuing of work permits for the foreigners, in terms of quota of work permits. Namely, in accordance with the Law, since 1. November 2008., Council of Ministers, will be determining the quota of work permits, which means the number of work permits in BiH that can be issued in one year, for the foreigners of certain professions, or foreigners that conduct certain activities, and to whom work permit in BiH is necessary and is a part of a quota.
The above mentioned means that from November of his year, control over the employment of foreigners in BiH is going to be more strict, and it would depend from the migration policy of the country, as well as conditions on the work market of BiH.
With the request for the issuing of work permit for the foreigner, the employer is obliged to attach:
- information on foreigner with whom he intends to conclude Employment Contract or some other relevant contract, specifically: name and surname, names and surnames of parents, date of birth, sex, place of residence, address of residence in the country of origin, number, date and place of issuing of valid travel documents.
- information on work post or the type of activity as well as employment conditions,
- extract from the relevant registry of the competent court on registration of the employer in BiH,
- bank prove that employer has the account on solvency of the employer,
- prove on settled tax obligations and paid contributions for all of the existing employees, including the foreigner in aces of extension of work permit, and
- explanation on justification on employment of foreigner.
Considering all of the above mentioned information, it is important to emphasize that the employer in his explanation under point f) needs to specify enough justified reasons why he wants only foreigner to conduct the activities of the certain working post, especially if there are registered unemployed citizens of BiH, who fulfill conditions required for that working post.
Employment Contact or some other corresponding contact with the foreigner, cannot be concluded from a side of Employer prior to issuing of temporary residence authorization, and the Employer is obliged to provide the Service for the employment of foreigners, a sample of concluded Employment Contact or other relevant corresponding contract immediately, or three days from the conclusion of the contact, the latest.
The above mentioned Law specifies that the foreigner can work in BiH only on the bases of one work permit, based on which his temporary residence has been authorized, and then on the bases of that work permit foreigner can only work on that work post, or on that type of activities for the work permit that has been issued and on the bases of which the foreigner was authorized a temporary residence in BiH.
The above mentioned means that in case that foreigner does not have a BiH work permit acquired earlier, it is necessary for him/her to register himself/herself with the competent Ministry of Foreign Affairs , 24 hours after entering to BiH and to receive white card, after which his/her future employer needs to submit request for the acquiring of work permit, to Employment Service. Upon receipt of work permit, foreigner can enter to BiH again, submit a request for the issuing of authorization for temporary residence in BiH.
The law specifies the exceptions from the responsibility of possession of work permit, and those are:
- key personnel appointed on positions of members of steering board of the legal entity with the headquarters in BiH, established as joint stock company, in case that the appointment does not have a character of employment relation or in case that the work on this positions does not last more than three months per year;
- founders of the business company with the headquarters in BiH, who conduct certain activities in that company, but in case that the appointment does not have a character of employment relation or in case that the work on this positions does not last more than three months per year;
- university professors invited by the universities from BiH as lecturers, scientists on scientific or expert training;
- experts, teachers, lecturers of foreign cultural and educational institutions;
- civil and military officials of governments of other
- foreigners sent by the foreign employer, and who enable expert training of the persons employed with the physical and legal entities with the headquarters in BiH, with the duration of total of 3 months per year;
- foreigners to whom a temporary residence with the purpose of expert training has been authorized, in case that their expert training does not last more than total of three months per year;
- foreigners who conduct activities in relation to delivery, installation, and service of machines or the equipment, in case that their work does not last more than 30 days continuously, or longer than three months per year with the interruptions.
- foreigners participating at organized expert meetings and seminars;
- foreigners participating at fairs or exhibition receptions where their employers are presenting the work.
Work in BiH by concluding piece work agreements
Apart from the above mentioned, there is an option of concluding of piece work agreement between the company from BiH and foreigner working on certain projects, when the obligation of acquiring of work permit is not specified, but only authorization to stay in BiH.
The above mentioned piece work agreement , does not fall under contract from the area of employment relations, but is regulated by the provisions of obligation law, and therefore it represents engagement of the foreigners for the work on certain project, without conclusion of the Employment Contract.
However it is usually related to certain projects from the importance for BiH, or certain aspects of the economy of BiH, as well as projects with the large investments into BiH, therefore in those cases the authorizations of competent ministries for the residence of foreigners in BiH, who would be working on those projects, are being acquired.
Work on the bases of piece work agreement, can last until the finalization of the project for whose implementation, of piece work agreement has been concluded with the foreigner.