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The Republic of Serbia is a potential candidate for European Union (EU) membership, and therefore actively participates in the Stabilization and Association Process.* On 29 April 2008, Serbia signed a Stabilization and Association Agreement (SAA) and Interim Agreement on trade-related measures with the EU, which provide a framework of mutual commitments on a wide range of political, trade and economic issues. As of 12 October 2011, the European Commission has forwarded a recommendation to the European Council to give Serbia candidate status. A final decision will be made in December 2011.

Progress has been achieved in the area of border management as reflected by the new Law on State Border Protection which entered into force in November 2008 and a Cooperation Agreement signed between the main ministries involved in border management in February 2009. An Integrated Border Management (IBM) Strategy was adopted but requires updating as per the latest EU Progress report of October 2011.

With the adoption of a national Migration Strategy in July 2009, the Government has taken advanced steps in managing migration. In February and March 2009, two related strategies were adopted, i.e., a National Strategy for the Reintegration of Returnees and a National Strategy to Fight Illegal Migration. The Law on Foreigners entered into force in April 2009 and is largely in compliance with EU standards.

A National Strategy and Action Plan (2009-11) on Combating Human Trafficking has been adopted but requires updating in the coming months.

IOM has been actively contributing to the above efforts, specifically the implementation of the National Migration Strategy, support to the IBM Strategy and operationalizing the National Counter-trafficking Action Plan.

In 2011-2012, IOM will continue to support the strengthening of the Republic of Serbia’s institutional and operational capacities. Such assistance will focus on developing the migration management capacity of government officials at the central, regional and municipal levels, enhancing migration research and analysis capacities, as well as reviewing and recommending improved collection, sharing, and reporting of statistical data on migration. Other IOM efforts will focus on addressing the human trafficking challenge, as well as helping the government to provide durable solutions to refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs) across Serbia. IOM will also continue to build the capacity of Youth Offices (including through leadership, project development, youth activism training, etc.) in order to support them in their community development efforts.  

*The stabilisation and association process is the framework for EU negotiations with the Western Balkan countries, all the way to their eventual accession. It has three aims: (1) stabilising the countries and encouraging their swift transition to a market economy; (2)promoting regional cooperation; and (3) eventual membership of the EU.The process helps the countries concerned build their capacity to adopt and implement EU law, as well as European and international standards. (Source: European Commission website)


Movement, Emergency and Post-crisis Migration Management


  • Government of Austria
  • Government of Bulgaria
  • Government of the Czech Republic
  • Government of Denmark
  • Government of Finland
  • Government of Hungary
  • Government of Iceland
  • Government of Ireland
  • Government of Italy
  • Government of Luxembourg
  • Government of the Netherlands
  • Government of Norway
  • Government of Poland
  • Government of Slovakia
  • Government of Slovenia
  • Government of Spain
  • Government of Switzerland
  • Government of the United Kingdom
  • European Union
  • Millennium Development Goals (MDG) Fund

NATO Trust Fund. IOM is at the final stages of helping the Serbian Ministry of Defense’s Project for Resettlement in Serbian Armed Forces (PRISMA) in its human resources reform efforts. Such support is aimed at facilitating the social and economic re-entry of approximately 5,000 downsized personnel into mainstream society. The lead nation for this initiative is Norway.

Under Movements, travel arrangements are made for the assisted voluntary return, counter-trafficking and other resettlement programmes (funded mainly by the Governments of Germany, the UK, Ireland, France and Switzerland) in cooperation with government counterparts or IOM Missions worldwide. Where necessary, transit assistance is provided through the IOM network.

A Millennium Development Goals (MDG) Conflict Prevention project is being implemented in South Serbia and aims to support peace-building initiatives in the southern parts of the country. In this initiative, IOM is applying its psycho-social expertise.

Migration and Socio-economic Development in the Western Balkans. The overall objective of this regional project is to increase the capacity of the existing network of Migrant Service Centres in the Western Balkans in order to ensure efficient dissemination of information about legal channels for migration among potential labour migrants and to provide opportunities for the return of skills and human capital and their contribution to the development of the Western Balkans for the mutual benefit of migrants and countries of origin.

Main Projects

  • NATO Trust Fund Project for Assistance to Redundant Defense Personnel within the Scope of Defense Reform
  • ZIRF Counseling
  • Aide au Retour et à la Reinsertion (ARER)
  • Assisted Voluntary Return for Vulnerable Cases to Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro and Serbia including UNSC Resolution 1244-Administered Kosovo
  • Regional Migration and Socio-economic Development in the Western Balkans (MIDWEB)
  • MDG Conflict Prevention project

Migration Health


  • Self-Payers
  • Government of Norway

Since 1993, IOM Belgrade Migration Health Physicians certified by the US, Canadian and Australian governments have carried out medical assessments for refugees and migrants bound for these countries. Since 2001, most of the activities have been related to self-paying programmes and some 7,000 migrants were assessed for the same countries. Since 2006, IOM migration health physicians have been assisting the Belgian government by providing medical assessments for their immigration purposes.

Since 2000, the IOM Belgrade physician has been the designated United Nations (UN) examining physician for UN staff, providing assistance with regard to medical evacuations and other medically related instructions. Since 2006, the UN physician has been a member of the UN Avian Influenza and H1N1 Fly Preparedness Coordination Team and designer of the Medical Treatment Plan for the UN staff.

The IOM medical team also provides assistance to the Counter Trafficking and Assisted Voluntary Return (AVR) programmes and pre-departure and post-arrival medical assistance for returnees from the Netherlands and Switzerland. In addition, it provides medical escorts for IOM missions worldwide and medical assessments of potential migrants upon the request of different embassies.

Sustainable Waste Management Initiative for a Healthier Tomorrow (SWIFT). This IOM, WHO (lead agency), UNOPS joint programme funded by Norway aims to establish a waste management cooperative in Zvezdara, Belgrade run by Roma and for Roma. Cooperative activities will be organized with due consideration to personal health and safety, good business practices and with a view to enabling sustainable cross-community integration.

Main Projects

  • Medical Screening of Self-payers ex-Belgrade
  • SWIFT – Sustainable Waste Management Initiative for a Healthier Tomorrow

Migration and Development


  • European Union
  • Government of Italy
  • Millennium Development Goals (MDG) Fund

Capacity Building of Institutions Involved in Migration Management and Reintegration of Returnees in the Republic of Serbia. This two-year initiative funded by the European Union and IOM’s 1035 Facility aims to contribute to the establishment of a Migration Management Framework in the Republic of Serbia in line with the EU acquis and to strengthen the capacity of central and local institutions to achieve EU standards in Migration Management, Readmission and the Reintegration of Returnees.

Strengthening Serbia’s Human Capital through the Active Involvement of Young Persons (SHAPE). This three-year initiative funded by the Italian Government seeks to develop and implement effective measures that promote psychosocial wellbeing, socio-cultural integration and community activism amongst youth. The project targets regional and local Youth Offices in 10 municipalities and supports the implementation of the National Youth Strategy. A second phase of this initiative is expected to be funded as of the beginning of 2012.

MDG Youth, Employment and Migration (YEM) project. This 30-month Joint Programme implemented by IOM (lead agency), ILO, UNDP and UNICEF supports national and local institutions to implement policy and operational measures that increase youth employment in Serbia while concurrently reducing the negative impact of return and brain drain. Key partner institutions include the Ministry for Economy and Regional Development, Ministry for Youth, National Employment Services. A no-cost extension will be implemented until 31 May 2012.

Main Projects

  • Capacity Building of Institutions Involved in Migration Management and Reintegration of Returnees in the Republic of Serbia
  • Strengthening Serbia’s Human Capital through the Active Involvement of Young Persons
  • MDG Youth, Employment and Migration Joint Programme


Regulating Migration


  • Government of Belgium
  • Government of Switzerland

Joint Programme to Combat Human Trafficking in Serbia. IOM (lead agency) with UNHCR and UNODC are carrying out a two-year joint programme aimed at strengthening national capacities to implement the 2009-11 National Action Plan for counter-trafficking and to improve coordination within the National Referral Mechanism. Key partner ministries include the Ministries of Interior and of Justice. Funding is provided by the Belgian Government, the Swiss Government and UN GIFT.

Main Project

  • Joint Programme to Combat Human Trafficking in Serbia

Last updated:
Main text: October 2011
Facts and figures: September 2014

Population (2015):8.9 million
Area:88,361 km sq
Languages :Serbian
Currency:Serbian Dinar (RSD)
GDP per Capita PPP (2014):USD 12,660
HDI Rank (2014):66 of 188
Remittances (2014 estimate):USD 3,656 million
Net Migration Rate (2015-2020):1.1 migrants/1,000 population
Immigrants (2015):9.1%
Women as a Percentage of Immigrants (2015):56%
Population under 15 (2015):16.3%
Adult HIV Prevalence (2014):not available

International Organization for Migration (IOM)
Skenderbegova 3
11000 Belgrade

Tel: + 381 11 3282 075
Fax: + 381 11 3281 425
Email: [email protected]